The £22 million JCB Academy is to be officially opened by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, it was announced today.
The Prince and The Duchess will visit The JCB Academy in Mill Street, Rocester on Friday, February 18th. During the official visit they will tour the impressive building, meet staff and students and unveil a plaque to mark the official opening of the facility.
JCB Academy Principal Jim Wade said: "We are delighted that The Prince of Wales
and The Duchess of Cornwall have chosen to visit The JCB Academy. It will be a wonderful occasion which staff and pupils are already eagerly awaiting."
JCB Chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: "The JCB Academy is the first of its kind in the UK and it is already enjoying great success. The commemorative visit by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall is a wonderful opportunity to share the story of the success so far and the ethos behind The Academy’s creation."
The JCB Academy is the first school of its kind in the UK for the education of 14 to 19-year-olds with a core focus on engineering and is designed to produce the engineers and business leaders of the future. The first 170 students began their studies in September last year and eventually it will house 540 students from Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Already the intake for September this year is oversubscribed.
Like other state schools, the £22 million JCB Academy is funded by the Department for Education, but as main sponsor JCB contributed 10 per cent of the capital and donated the mill in which it is based.
While the idea for The JCB Academy began life in the summer 2006 with a Government feasibility study, it has been created in a Grade II listed Arkwright Mill dating from 1781 and has been equipped with in excess of £1 million worth of modern engineering equipment which will help pupils turn their design ideas into reality. The equipment includes the only plasma cutter – a machine tool commonly used in industry – to be based in a UK school.
The engineering tasks completed by pupils have been set by The JCB Academy’s partners who include JCB, Rolls-Royce, Toyota, Network Rail, Bentley, Bombardier, Rexroth Bosch Group, National Grid, Zytek Automotive, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, IET, Harper Adams University College, The Royal Academy of Engineering and Parker Vansco. They will complete their engineering tasks alongside Maths, English, Science and German GCSEs.