A former city fire station is to house Britain’s first free school specialising in maths and science.

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The Sir Isaac Newton Maths and Science Sixth Form Free School last night revealed it will be using the Bethel Street fire station, as it bids to send more Norfolk students to the best universities.

It is hoped students at the sixth form will move on to Russell Group universities, which include Oxford, Cambridge, York and Cardiff.

At least 100 pupils aged between 16 and 19 are expected to study at the school, which will offer other subjects as well as maths and science, when it opens next September.

Parents and prospective students gathered at Open, in Bank Plain, last night for an open evening, where they heard that a module on leadership will be offered at the school.

Rachel de Souza, executive principal, told the Evening News: “For most children from under-privileged backgrounds, going to the top universities has got more and more difficult over the years and we are geared towards getting people into the top universities.

“We are uncompromising about excellence. There’s no question you will have to be the best to be in. But what we think is social background is no barrier to that.

“We are really committed to finding the talent young, putting on Saturday schools, evening schools and summer schools so children are inspired to do maths and science and don’t lose that love of it.”

The fire station was built in 1934 and is owned by the Lind Trust, a youth-focused charity established by Christian entrepreneur Graham Dacre.

David Prior, chairman-designate of the new free school, said it was an “iconic building”.

Mr Prior, who is also Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital chairman, said: “It’s a fantastic site – the best location in Norwich, very central, good connections and close to The Forum.

“We are open to everybody in Norfolk and the building breeds excellence.

David Taitt, chairman of Hethel Engineering Centre, said it was important to help children realise what they needed to do to pursue a career in engineering.

He said: “For me, the success of the British economy is inextricably linked to the success of technology in industrialised companies and particularly the people who come up through schools and universities into the companies. We are an industrialised nation and if we let that go, we let it go at our peril. To keep it going is absolutely essential.”

He added: “There’s a skills gap. A lot of new technology companies do struggle to find the skills they need but this school is part of the process that will fill the gap.”

Guests also included Russian maths professor Alexandre Borovik, of the University of Manchester, who welcomed the new school.

He said it is important to have people that not just use mathematics but also create things by using it.

Professor Borovik said: “I feel there’s a good chance of the school being successful. Moreover, I believe every regional centre in England should have such a school.”

21 comments

  • A module on leadership...dear Lord, help us!

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    debsyn

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • Shame they can't keep the fireman's pole - kids would rush to school just to try it out!

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    julygirl

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Perhaps the school should be renamed the Norwich University Free School, because the level they will be working at will be equivalent to the first and second years of typical university courses. What is so wrong with getting your degree by age 18 anyway, they could go straight on to a top job without the need of expensive universities.

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    Rhombus

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • It would have made a great Church and Community Centre !

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • I think free schools are all about choice. There are alot of different educational theories on the right way to educate and the state system is based on Piaget's. We already tolerate religious schools and the Steiner Waldorf is more Continental with reading and writing left to a later age. If you like a state-run monoculture that turns out kids like machines then you can choose that. Anyway, industry is always asking for applicants with more of a maths and science background. The touchy-feely liberal elite, who have promoted a culture where spelling doesn't matter and everyone is valued as equal, have made our education system a laughing stock around the world. Immigrants from the Caribbean and Indian Subcontinent are often better educated because they still believe there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things.

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    oldowl

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • ....A module on leadership...dear Lord, help us! .....I think that they are trialing it as an alternative to 'circle time', widely promoted in Norfolk schools to make all kids feel equal. NCC Children's services is joining circle time after unfairly being labeled as failing after the recent ofsted report.

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    Rhombus

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • At what cost, both financially and to good scientists and mathematicians from other schools. What will be the knock on effect in those schools to those subjects

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    pablo

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • Piaget died before Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and School Phobia was invented by the psychologists, so he must be out of date. His belief that "naughty" behavior must always be punished and that the punishment will be proportional. So that is Piaget out of the window because educational psychologists don't believe in "naughty", only behaviour syndromes (see above). Keeps them in work I suppose.

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    Rhombus

    Monday, December 3, 2012

  • These free schools are proper schools Watch the waiting list NUT's

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    PaulH

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • The privatisation of public services at full speed, a place were Christians can learn about the wonders of Arabic mathematics.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Another nail in the coffin of local democracy and accountability

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    robotsthatcare

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Owned and operated bythe most anti public sector individuals in Norfolk It will all end in tears Iwould bet

    Report this comment

    No to tory boy

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Pupils from Eaton and Cringleford will outnumber those from Mile Cross by what percentage ? Be a good problem for the kids to try and solve . Full of middle class children , as usual .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • What an old fashioned proposal. It is now the 21st century and the Further Maths Network has been offering a very good service to sixth formers in Norfolk for the last five years. Not as many schools have taken up the offer as should but if Mr Dacre wants to do something for maths in Norfolk don't waste your money on this project but get involved with the Further Maths Network. I am not surprised Sasha Borovik is involved, his ideas are somewhat old-fashioned as is this scheme.

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    Alan Camina

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • ....The privatisation of public services at full speed.....lets give it a go....we need new ideas like this to boost our tired Norfolk Education System which is in decline.

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    Rhombus

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Where does the Pigeon & Pussycat rescue squad keep its trucks now?

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Careful when walking past the doors, you might get knocked over by a scientific calculator.

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    chebram71

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Makes me think of something I heard on the radio about a little boy who went home from school crying. When pushed by his mother he eventually revealed his story. In his class there was a 'sharing bench'. The kids used it as a place to go when feeling 'needy', the idea being that others in the class would sit with the 'needy one' and lend emotional support. The little boy said to his mum "I sat on the bench for ages and nobody came and sat with me". So in actual fact the 'needy bench' had acted to make the boy feel even more needy. I say re-name the bench 'losers bench, get a backbone'. Anyone agree?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • I was thinking of sending my son there, then I realised it was a free school - not maths and science free!!

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    biglingers

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Back to leadership. Imagine the same school, different scenario. The Schools educational psychologist visits the school and asks the teacher if there is any pupils causing her concern. Well there is one...Jimmy. Jimmy has never sat on the needy bench, is very popular, completes all his tasks with ease and appears to be a natural leader. He never even sits on the 'I'm being bullied bench'...he bribes the bully with sweets, can you believe it? He even seems to have more authority than me.....Yes it does sound serious...sounds like Pathological Leadership Syndrome....what is he doing in a state school?

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    Rhombus

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • Great re-use of an iconic building in the city centre. Could the Norwich University College of Arts, now a full University, take over and transform Anglia Square?

    Report this comment

    Rich Hartt

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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