A NEW college that will eventually have 1,200 students will open in Bradford in 2018.

The Department for Education yesterday gave permission for New College Pontefract to open a free school for 16 to 19-year-olds in Bradford.

A location for the college has yet to be announced.

The school, to be called New College Bradford, is part of an expansion of the New Collaborative Learning Trust, that will see New College Doncaster opening next September in a £20 million building.

The DfE announced today that the trust’s bid to open the new school in the city had been successful.

The school will open its doors to 500 students in September 2018 and will grow to its full 1,200 capacity three years after opening.

New College Pontefract has for two years been ranked by the DfE as the third most successful sixth-form college in the country, producing strong A-level results. This year the pass rate was 99 per cent.

In April 2014 it became the first sixth-form college to be graded outstanding in every curriculum area inspected.

Bradford Council recently held a review of post-16 education in the district. It found that the district’s numerous school-based sixth forms were “unviable” due to too few pupils, with 19 having fewer than 250, and suggested that larger sixth-form colleges could lead to better results.

Pauline Hagen, chief executive officer of the Learning Trust, said: “We are delighted to have approval from the DfE for this exciting project.

“Work is already under way with our key partners in Bradford to make sure New College Bradford plays a significant part in ensuring outstanding outcomes for Bradford’s young people.

“We are passionate about improving the life chances of Bradford’s young people, helping more of them progress to competitive universities and professional employment, and look forward immensely to the work ahead.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “It’s good news for the district that the New Collaborative Learning Trust’s bid to open a new 16 to 19 school in Bradford has been approved.

“The trust has an excellent track record of post-16 education. It’s vital for the prosperity of our district that every young person is equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to get a good-quality job.”