North Liverpool Academy Trust is delighted to announce that they have been given approval to set up a University Technical College specialising in Life Sciences in the heart of the Liverpool City Region.

For the past three years, the Baker Dearing Educational Trust (BDT) have been working with the Department for Education, local employers, universities and further education colleges to develop a national network of UTCs. North Liverpool Academy is one of thirteen projects approved as the next wave of UTCs. The Government have pledged to increase the number to 24.

Kay Askew, Principal of North Liverpool Academy commented;

‘The Life Sciences UTC will transform life opportunities for young people by developing their technical employability skills for the Life Sciences and Health Care Sector enabling them to take advantage of the growing employment opportunities in this sector.’

The UK life science industry is the largest in Europe and in global terms, is second only to the United States. Liverpool possesses a significant cluster of life science research and clinical activity and established and developing businesses. Alongside the commercial sector, Liverpool researchers’ are actively engaged in delivering over £460 million research projects with partners across 57 countries and in this respect Liverpool is a truly global city. In addition to this wealth of research, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital is to undergo the construction of a brand new state-of-the-art hospital with the creation of 100,000 m2 of development space in the heart of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter under a £451million project. This latter project is a catalyst to stimulate even closer engagement between the healthcare system, research and business, and it is in this context we wish to establish a Life Sciences University Technical College.

The Life Sciences UTC has the full backing of the commercial, public and education sector with co-sponsors including the University of Liverpool and Royal Liverpool, Broadgreen University Hospital and Mersey Bio. Commercial organisations like Novartis, Unilever and Bristol Myers Squib have offered to back to the Life Sciences UTC.

Geoff Wainwright, Director MerseyBIO, commented:

‘By developing the next generation of employees, the Life Sciences UTC will underpin a key component of Liverpool’s strategy and support the UK’s leadership position as a global biotech nation. This award of the Life Science UTC not only highlights the importance of the this industry sector to the UK, but also recognises the considerable expertise of the staff of North Liverpool Academy and places confidence in them in being able to deliver such a vital project.’

They are different in three crucially important ways:

They are 14-19 not 11-18 schools
Each must be sponsored by a University
Employers will be involved from the start in shaping the curriculum
There are no tests to enter a UTC at 14
Their school day typically runs from 8:30am to 5:30pm
They have a school year of 40 weeks with either four or five terms.
These major changes significantly increase the teaching, adding a whole extra year of instruction for every two years a student is in the UTC

Extra-curricular activities are compulsory
There is a broad general curriculum, and the core subjects of English, maths and science are taught through highly demanding technical projects
Pre 16 students will spend 60& of their time on academic subjects and 40% on technical ones. Post 16 the percentage is reversed with 40% academic teaching, 60% the application of scientific and technical knowledge
The curriculum content is determined and shaped through the partnership of employers and universities
All students study a foreign language related to their technical curriculum
Experience of work is central to the element of the curriculum

Originally published by Liverpool Vision

The UCEA Academy built by Kier and designed by BDP is now open.

A world record attempt was made last week at the opening ceremony for the £25m school building in Ellesmere Port. 2,500 people made the largest human flower –  a giant poppy in recognition of Remembrance Day.

These photos are from Richard Line’s visit last night whilst playing for Tarporley Badminton Club.

To view Virtual Planit’s animation please follow this link:


Virtual Planit have recently completed a series of images for the planning application relating to Chester Student Village.

Chester Student Village

The site for the proposed new Chester Student Village is located on the edge of Blacon, only 15-minute walk or 5-minute cycle ride from Chester University’s main campus via a proposed enhanced pedestrian link along the Shropshire Union Canal and a new cycle path along Parkgate Road.

Chester Student Village

The proposed Student Village can accommodate up to 2500 students in a fully managed environment.

Chester Student Village

The proposed new Sports Centre and playing pitches will be open to the Community and include around the rural edge of the site, an exciting new Trim Trail for local people to use, which may include purpose built fitness zones ideal for a multitude of different excise activities. The plans also include new footpaths to link the proposal to the proposed Countess Country Park which would be ideal for dog walking.

Chester Student Village

Substantial new tree planting, landscaping and ponds will be created for both recreational and ecological use.

The architects are Alan Lamb and Andrew Titterton at AEW Manchester.

Building work on Aston University’s new £215 million student residences project is all but complete and filling up with students. The visuals that we created are still up on site, and provide an interesting context to the finished backdrop.

Here are a few more photos of the complete development. All rights reserved and acknowledged: © Elliot Brown

And here’s a reminder of one of the planning visuals, not shown in the hoardings.

Read the original story here

We have positions for freelance visualisers – immediate start.

There are projects that we want to get you involved in right now, so if you have the ability, please get in touch.

You should be experienced in architectural modelling. You need to be able to hit the ground running. This is not a position for inexperienced or junior artists, you need to be able to match, and ideally exceed the quality of work we show here, and you must have a very sound knowledge of 3D Studio Max with Vray – able to produce well lit stills, and efficiently set-up animations.

We have large spacious offices in South Manchester, a suite of high-end PC’s at your disposal, and a render farm. If you want to work at home that’s fine – we would prefer you to be local(ish) and to work in our offices if at all possible.

EMAIL US HERE with some selected images, links to animations that we can check out, and don’t forget to quote your daily rate.

Virtual Planit are an equal opportunities employer.

The winning bid for University Church of England Academy, Ellesmere.

A £25m boost was confirmed last year to Ellesmere Port Academy by the Government.

The University Church of England Academy in Ellesmere Port was among 123 academy projects across the country cast into doubt early last month when Mr Gove halted Building Schools for the Future schemes where work had not yet begun.

This animation produced by us in an ever shortening timeframe for BSF, supported Kier in their proposal – which was recently declared the preferred bid.

Kier Education has been announced as preferred bidder to build the new 1350 state- of- the- art Academy on Whitby Road in Ellesmere Port. The remaining planning issues are expected to be dealt with during the design development stage and it is anticipated that this will enable a start on site to be made in the autumn of 2011.

Kier are one of 12 contractors selected through a local competition from the National Schools framework. The design and build contract value will be an estimated £20m + subject to final DfE funding approval. Kier will build the Academy on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester; the architects chosen by Kier Education are BDP.

Kier will work closely with the Academy and community to fully develop detailed design proposals. The new build is likely to take 64 weeks and is currently programmed to be completed by Christmas 2012. Further local stakeholder consultation will be undertaken to inform the detailed design stages.

The University of Chester are lead sponsors for the Academy which specialises in Mathematics, Sport and Performing Arts. Co – sponsors are the Diocese of Chester and Cheshire West and Chester Council. Members from all the sponsors scored the two proposed bids and moderated scores, after a rigorous tender process; it was a difficult decision as both plans of the final 2 bids were outstanding but Kier was successful and announced as the preferred builder.

Excited students will transfer from South campus (former Cheshire Oaks High school) and North Campus (formerly EPSSPA).The design will provide the very best in teaching and learning facilities including the latest ICT equipment and learning tools and first class sporting facilities.

Proposed plans reveal a striking modern facility, complete with drama and performance areas, a creative learning centre, faraday science laboratories, media centre and 550 seat theatre, fully integrated special needs provision, multi level reflection space, internal gardens and courtyard. The outside areas will feature further performing arts spaces. Sports facilities are second to none with 2 full size football pitches, 6 multi sports courts and outdoor fitness areas, finished off with open landscaped areas, allotments and pond. The building is carefully designed to maximise learning space integrating social areas such as dining, internet cafe, sixth form and staff meeting areas together. Designed over 3 floors there are terraces for the junior, senior college’s staff and sixth form alike. Cutting edge IT facilities will be the best available which will ensure each students needs regardless of faith, background or ability will flourish within this unique environment academically, physically and spiritually.

Academy principal Kevin McDermott said “We now enter an exciting time for our community, as we will be able to fully engage all stakeholders in the development of the design. The new building will be more than a ‘school’, it will be an icon for our community; it will enable our students to live their dreams and it will ensure our talented staff can best support outstanding teaching and learning. Our students, staff and community deserve this!”

Dr Colin Hankinson Executive director for Academy development at the University of Chester said;
“We are very pleased to be working with Kier and know they will deliver an outstanding Academy building worthy of our staff and students; we chose this contractor due to their response to our vision and needs. This new Academy will transform learning, inspire our students to greater heights and dreams and provide a broad range of new opportunities for the entire Academy and wider community”

Nigel Brook, Managing Director, Kier Northern hearing of their successful bid commented; “‘Kier are delighted to be the preferred contractor for UCE Academy. Along with our designers, BDP architects and engineering consultants WSP, we believe that we have forged a genuinely collaborative partnership with the Academy, Authority and sponsors and look forward to continuing this as we move into the next phase in delivering the new academy. This is an important project for us and we recognise the significance of the project in creating the very best learning environment for the young people of Ellesmere Port. By moving from the two predecessor school sites to the new gateway site the academy will demonstrate the vision and commitment of the sponsors and will provide a catalyst for the regeneration of Ellesmere Port.”

Councillor Arthur Harada, Executive Member for Children’s Services, at Cheshire West and Cheshire Council said: “The announcement for the preferred bidder means that plans for the new Academy building can now be finalised. As the owners of the new school building we will be working closely with Kier and this really is an exciting phase with building work beginning this autumn and completion due by Christmas next year.”

Sutton and Manor Councillor, Paul Donovan, said: “The new building on Sutton Way is extremely important for the town of Ellesmere Port. I am sure that local people will be watching the progress of the scheme with great interest during the planning process.”

Added Sutton and Manor Councillor Bob Crompton: “The announcement of the preferred bidder is wonderful news for Ellesmere Port and is an important step in making the new building a reality.”

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