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'Eton of the north' sixth form to prioritise children from disadvantaged backgrounds

Children living in ‘postcodes of deprivation’ and who would be the first in their families to go to university will be among those prioritised to learn at Oldham’s new Eton-backed sixth form.

In August the government gave approval for the expansion of the elite boarding school to open a co-educational sixth form college for 480 students in the centre of Oldham, in conjunction with state school trust Star Academies.

It will be one of three Eton sponsored sixth forms opening in the north of the country, along with Dudley and Middlesbrough, after the areas were all listed in the government’s 55 education ‘cold spots’ in England – those identified as having the weakest education outcomes – as part of its levelling up agenda.

The existing all-boys Eton boarding school in Berkshire has produced 19 prime ministers, and is the alma mater of Boris Johnson and Prince William.

The elite private school has pledged to invest £1 million extra at each new sixth form per year on top of the government’s own funding through the free school programme.

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Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Eton head Simon Henderson said they were aiming to open the new sixth form in Oldham in the ‘next two to three years’ following the DfE announcement, meaning pupils currently in in years eight and nine could attend when they graduate high school.

Council leader Arooj Shah said: “From our perspective we’re looking at sites because we just want to get shovels in the ground and start and we’re really excited about it.”

She said they had already identified a potential site in the