Longer days, no uniform and no bells will be some of the innovations planned for a new Watford secondary school designed to give pupils a taste of working life.
The Watford University Technical College (UTC) will be offering students vocational as well as academic subjects when it opens in Sanyo House, in Colonial Way, in September.
Emma Loveland, principal of the UTC, said the school will help tackle the "desperate" need for students to have practical, as well as education skills upon leaving academia.
She said: "I’m so excited to be here from the outset and from the very beginning. It is the ultimate opportunity to make a real difference, not just to the children but to our staff and the whole community.
"We hope that every county will have its own UTC because we are in desperate need of young people who are technically ready for life after school and this is a chance for them to develop their employability skills.
"Essentially, this is what we are going to be doing but we’re not in any way going to be playing down the academic side. Some people might think we are dumbing down the academic side and that is just not the case at all."
Ms Loveland, who was associate head teacher at St James’ Catholic High School, in Barnet, said that the school will teach pupils from 9am to 5pm and that there will be no school uniform and no bells in order to make it "much more of a university-style campus".
This week, Watford’s MP, Richard Harrington, met with the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, and David Meller of the Meller Educational Trust, who already sponsors The Bushey Academy and The Harefield Academy, to secure the site for the new school, which will teach pupils between the ages of 13 and 18.
Mr Harrington said: "I’m very excited about this because it’s a new secondary school for Watford.
"Apart from doing conventional GCSEs and everything, it’s a specialist training for what I hope will be apprenticeships with the companies sponsoring it.
"To me, it’s exactly the kind of secondary education that we are looking for because we are giving people the opportunity in technical and professional subjects to lead to a career path. It’s giving parents and students a choice."
The courses to be taught at the school will be provided in conjunction with local employers who will offer work experience placements and help give pupils up-to-date skills in a number of different industries, such as travel and tourism.
The University of Hertfordshire will be sponsoring the UTC and offering its facilities to students.
The UTC will also be working alongside companies such as The Grove, Hilton Hotels, Toshiba and Twin Technology.
Applications are now open for students who will be in Year 10 or Year 12 from this September.
An information event about the Watford UTC will be held at The Grove, in Hempstead Road, at 6pm on April, 24.