Eton College and Star Academies have welcomed the Department for Education’s decision, announced this morning, to approve their plans to open free sixth form colleges in Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham.  

The new colleges will recruit dynamic young people from deprived communities in the Black Country, Teesside and northern Greater Manchester, provide them with a rigorous and rounded education, and support them to achieve places at the very best universities.  

They will be called Eton Star Dudley, Eton Star Oldham and Eton Star Teesside.  

Students who attend will benefit from an education based on the best that is on offer at Eton and the best of Star Academies, which is, by many metrics, the highest-performing state school trust in the country.  

Eton’s Head Master Simon Henderson said: “We are delighted by this decision. We believe these new colleges have the potential to be transformative both for the young people who attend and for the wider communities they will serve. Now the hard work really starts as we turn our vision into reality.  

“Collaborative partnership will be key to this project’s success and we are very grateful for the support we have had already from the respective councils, from the local communities and from our colleagues in other educational settings.”   

Star Academies chief executive Sir Hamid Patel CBE said: “This marks an exciting milestone in our partnership. We are confident that the Eton Star sixth forms will produce extraordinary, transformative outcomes, not only for their students but for the wider communities too.  

“With a growing demand for sixth form places in these areas, we aim to enable more young people to benefit from a high-quality academic education and to broaden the opportunities available to them both during and after their sixth form studies.” 

Eton and Star would like to take this opportunity to thank the local councils in Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham for their ongoing support, without which the approvals may not have been granted.  

Eton and Star would also like to thank the many local schools and colleges who have been so welcoming and for their constructive and helpful feedback as we have developed these plans.  

Councillor Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “For a young person growing up in Oldham, this is really exciting news, as this new sixth form will open up incredible academic opportunities – providing an unrivalled educational experience that will enable every child, wherever they live and whatever their background, to fulfil their potential. 

“This new sixth form will provide a fantastic opportunity for Oldham’s young people to access a truly world class education; with access to some of Eton’s best teachers, its clubs and its speaker events, as well as the chance to take part in a summer residential at Eton itself. 

“Eton and Star both have an outstanding reputation in providing the very best education, which is just what Oldham’s young people deserve. That’s why I’m delighted that today we have taken a huge step forward in making this fantastic idea a reality.” 

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “Eton and Star epitomise the very best standards in learning and they very much share our vision of a nationally renowned education facility in the Dudley borough. We will continue to hold positive discussions with Eton and Star to pave the way for this to happen.” 

Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke said: “Young people around the Middlesbrough area already have a fantastic range of options for further education and the addition of Eton Star Teesside further strengthens our offer. 

“I’m looking forward to working with Eton and Star on how they can form mutually beneficial links with our existing schools and colleges. 

“I know Eton and Star want to make sure this new college is accessible to the most disadvantaged children in our town and I wholeheartedly share that commitment.  

“The new college will also provide a regeneration boost to Middlesbrough. Having more students in our town centre helps protect jobs of all kinds that support families across our town.”