Innovative new college in Feltham backed by top private schools

Top-performing Hampton private schools have announced they are partnering with state and other institutions to establish a new academic and vocational college in Feltham.

Hampton and Lady Eleanor Holles (LEH) schools have partnered with The Reach Foundation, who already run an academy in the town, to set up a new sixth form college in September 2022.

Hampton and LEH will offer support in subjects such as Physics, Psychology, Chemistry and will help students hoping to go onto university.

Ed Vainker, the CEO of Reach Foundation, said “Bringing together leading state and independent schools, a local university, and employers to support young people in our community will make a real difference.”

Amanda Poyner, Deputy Head of LEH School, said that the initiative is about giving back to the community, but is also a mutual partnership which will benefit all parties.

The representatives for each school said that they anticipated that the partnership would allow teaching staff to work across different educational settings in order to enrich their careers.

Mark Nicholson, Deputy Head of Hampton School, said that the partnership had no commercial benefits for the school and that the key reason behind the initiative was the three schools’ shared vision of what sixth form education in Feltham should look like.

According to the college’s press release, nearly 80% of young people in Feltham are unable to move on to university, a statistic Vainker says is extremely high compared to nearby communities such as Osterley.

They also said 34% of 16–24-year-olds in Feltham have no qualifications, four times higher than the average for London.

Vainker said that consulting with the community convinced them that of the importance of offering vocational options, which are also being heavily endorsed by the Government.

The schools are also partnering with Jacob Kenedy, chef-patron of Bocca di Lupo to offer catering courses, and Ashton and St Peter’s Hospital to offer a social care diploma.

The admission process will focus on catchment areas rather than GCSE results, and hopes to offer Feltham’s children and teenagers the opportunity to start and end their education at the same school.

Vainker said: “The idea is to have a really seamless journey that young people can take. For example we’ve got 180 mothers and babies in the community who are accessing support from us from conception to age three.”

Vainker described one initiative, the Reach Children’s Hub, which offers children and parents from the community a place to meet and aims to understand the problems facing them and their hopes for academic and career progression.

Professor Lee Elliot Major, a lecturer in Social Mobility at the University of Exeter, is originally from Feltham and was the first person in his family to go to university, but not after dropping out of his A-Levels and having a tough time.

He said: “Too often in education all the best provision and all the best colleges end up being in the poshest areas, and what we want in education is to give everyone the best chance wherever they are.

“We know that a lot of children’s outcomes are shaped by things that happen outside of schools.

“We know there are already big gaps before age five when children come from more disadvantaged backgrounds, they could be a year or more behind some of their more privileged counterparts, and schools are basic playing catch up from day one.”

“The biggest solution to this is targeted community support.

“We use this term community school a lot but actually, many don’t know much about their communities and I think what’s really impressive about Reach Foundation, they seem to have really gone out into the community.

“I hope this will inspire young people to consider higher education, and I hope that some of them will come back as well.”

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