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Wendy hoping to find talent in spades; College caters for engineers and technicians of future.


A REVOLUTIONARY new kind of school to train the North East's engineers and technicians of the future is now looking to recruit its first students.

The Newcastle Discovery School, the first of its kind in the region and one of just a handful of university technical colleges in the country, will open in September. Work has now begun on transforming the derelict site behind the Discovery Museum into a multi-million-pound building that promises to look more like a hi-tech engineering facility in the Silicon Valley than a secondary school.

The curriculum, geared at equipping young people to fill the growing skills gap in many specialised engineering sectors, will see traditional lessons taught alongside real industrial projects such as building and racing a model Formula 1 car.

And now Dr Wendy Allen has been appointed as principal to lead the drive to get the school and running.

Dr Allen, the former deputy head at the Ofsted outstanding Ulverston Victoria High School, Cumbria, said: "It may seem rather cliched, but it is my dream job.

"The challenge I have set for myself and my colleagues is to take Discovery School on a journey to become outstanding in the shortest possible time and then to maintain that accolade."

The school is the brainchild of NCG, a non-profit organisation with headquarters in Newcastle.

It will focus on engineering underpinned by science, technology and mathematics (STEM) and bosses say Newcastle offers a natural location for the Discovery School with its heritage of complex industrial engineering, from shipbuilding and railways to defence industries, and a present-day position in scientific developments. The school will be open to pupils from Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham. The target is to open with 180 young people in both years 10 and 12, growing to 720 on roll in 2014.

Chief executive of NCG Dame Jackie Fisher added: "Discovery School gives young people a chance to excel in a school that encourages learning through real world industrial projects and team assignments as well as traditional classroom teaching." Ted Salmon, North East Regional chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, added: "This will be critical to ensure that the North East economy can take advantage of the key growth sectors including the renewables and healthcare."

A series of evening information sessions will be held for potential students and their parents next month. For further details on the sessions and how to apply for a place, visit www.discoveryschool. ? To take a virtual tour of the site visit


DIG IT Principal Wendy Allen from Cumbria has been appointed to lead the new Discovery School in Newcastle which aims to train the North East's engineers and technicians of the future
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2013
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