Google backs academy’s plan to train technology whizz-kids

STEM Academy open day at the Google campus in St Giles High Street

STEM Academy open day at the Google campus in St Giles High Street - Credit: Archant

Google is backing a new school which will train a new generation of technology hot-shots.

The technology giant hosted an open day for a sixth-form academy which will specialise in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and is due to open in City Road, Old Street, in September.

Shuvo Saha, industry director of Google UK, welcomed prospective students to the company’s headquarters in the West End and said that the company was backing STEM Sixth Form Academy (STEM6).

“Google has always been a big supporter of STEM”, he said. “Our chairman, Eric Schmidt, always reminds us of the importance of STEM education.

“Google was a product of the education system of Silicon Valley. We would like to see the next big thing happen in the UK.”

The academy, which is due to open in City Road in September, aims to address a grave shortage of STEM skills in London and will equip pupils to work in Tech City, the name given to technology companies that have sprung up around the Old Street area.

Pupils will be able to study for A-levels, the AQA baccalaureate and BTEC qualifications at the academy.

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For those who have not achieved the necessary grades to do a BTEC or A-levels, there will also be an opportunity to study a one-year foundation course that will equip pupils for further study or work.

Principal John O’Shea, who will take up his post in April after he wraps up as director of Islington Sixth Form consortium, was enthusiastic about his new role. He said: “It’s exciting to start up a new academy from scratch.

“I’m a scientist myself. What fills me with excitement is there’s a massive demand for STEM and the opportunities are endless. We are right in the middle of it.”

Dr Tony Sewell, founder and director of Generating Genius – one of STEM6’s partners – also gave a speech about the project which takes high-achieving pupils from challenging backgrounds and through a tailored support programme helps them win places at university.