Devon County Council is pioneering the first sponsored academy chain in the country for its personalised learning centres.
The personalised learning service operates three centres, in Exeter, Barnstaple and Totnes.
They cater for students with specific medical or health problems and those who have been excluded from school.
The new £3.5 million centre in Exeter will be officially opened today (13 March) by the Chairman of Devon County Council, Jerry Brook.
The new Stansfield Centre on the Sowton Industrial Estate replaces the old, outdated facilities at Ringswell Avenue and the Fountain Centre.
And from September, Devon will be linking up with the national company TBG Learning as the sponsor for its three centres, which currently cater for almost 150 students.
TBG Learning has links with over 800 employers across the country who help to provide training and employment opportunities. It works with 2,500 young people every year through the delivery of its Foundation Learning programme. This provides maths and English, vocational qualifications and work and life skills. TGB Learning also develops placement and work experience opportunities.
Education Minister Lord Nash approved the creation of the innovative sponsored academy and the partnership between Devon County Council and TGB Learning earlier this year.
Devon’s Head of Education, Sue Clarke, said the county council had worked closely with the personalised learning service, staff, the Department for Education and TGB to bring the partnership to fruition.
The new, state of the art Stansfield Centre caters for up to 50 young people and includes a dual use sports hall, motor vehicle workshop, science lab, design technology and ICT suites and facilities which support small group and one to one working.
Devon’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Andrea Davis, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree such an innovative approach.
“We see this as a real partnership between the local authority and TBG with them offering the sort of skills and training for our youngsters that we could not match.
“We already have a purpose-built, personalised learning service centre in Barnstaple as part of our facilities on the Roundswell Industrial Estate.
“The new Stansfield Centre in Exeter is based on the Sowton Industrial Estate and will give our youngsters greater opportunities for work experience and placements with the many companies which are based there.”