Express & Star

New Walsall school to get pupils 'Brexit ready'

A multi-million pound new school is to open in Walsall in a bid to drive down unemployment in the Black Country and get young people ‘Brexit ready’.

Kevin Davis, chief executive of Vine Trust charity

Bosses of The Ladder School confirmed the project would welcome its first students from autumn 2018 after being approved by the Government.

It will cater for 114 pupils aged between 14 and 19 years old and provide pre-apprenticeship tuition.

Kevin Davis, chief executive of Vine Trust charity which helped launch the Ladder campaign, said it would be focused on training young people up to face the challenges of Brexit.

It was originally hoped the school could be ready for September this year but identifying an appropriate site has caused the development to be pushed back. A site has now been earmarked in the town centre but its exact location will not be revealed until January 8 when a public consultation is launched.

That will also coincide with the formal launch of The Mercian Trust which will oversee six schools in the borough – Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Queen Mary’s High School, Walsall Studio School, Aldridge School, Shire Oak Academy and now The Ladder School.

The development comes on the back of the hugely successful Ladder for the Black Country launched in the Express & Star, which helped create more than 1,000 apprenticeships across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire. A Ladder for England has now been launched on the back of the apprenticeship drive.

Mr Davis, of the Vine Trust charity which also runs Walsall Studio School – opened by Prince Andrew in 2013 – said: “We need young people for the market place of the future and those skills aren’t been delivered in mainstream education.

“With the Mercian Trust we have an eclectic mix of schools, and it is not a one-size fits all approach. The approach we want to take is to work with employers as much as possible and improve the labour pool of the future.

“When you think about Brexit we need to be training up a lot of our own young people for that challenge. That is what has been approved and what people have agreed to. The Ladder School will have similarities to Walsall Studio but it will also collaborate with other schools.”