Stone Life

China trip up for grabs for Staffordshire students

Beaconwood CollegeYoung people in Staffordshire can win the trip of a lifetime in a cultural exchange competition sponsored by Beaconwood College

The international college – which opens next year at the Beaconside campus in Stafford – will be taking 12 Staffordshire students on a 10-day trip to China this October, where they will visit some of the country’s major cities and experience Chinese schools and culture first-hand.

Young people from China will also be heading to Staffordshire to experience life in the county as part of an exciting cultural exchange programme.

Students currently in Years 10, 11 and 12 at a school in the Staffordshire local education authority area can take part in the competition by presenting their vision of what the school of the future will look like.

The judging panel includes the leaders of Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council; Jeremy Lefroy; the chief executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce; and a host of business and education experts from across the county.

The Beaconwood International Education Programme is sponsored by Beaconwood College, a new international independent college that will open its doors on the Beaconside campus in Stafford in September 2018.

Beaconwood College is one part of the rebirth of the former Staffordshire University site by new owners New Beacon Group, which took over Beaconside last year and is transforming the campus into a global education and innovation hub.

As well as the new international college, the Group has exciting plans for the campus that include a specialist university, pathway programmes for preparing international students for degree-level study, and a brand-new Innovation Hub in the Octagon building and Digital Media Lab in the TV studio opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2006. The Group also recently announced the re-opening of the Beaconside gym and sports facilities for the local community. Beacon Sports & Fitness will open its doors this summer.

To be in with a chance of winning a trip to China, young people need to create their vision of what the school of the future will look like. They need to submit a presentation of between three and five minutes to present their ideas, using PowerPoint, Prezi, PowToon or any other software of their choice. Full details of the competition and online entry will be available at

The competition runs from 18 May until 30 June. Winners will be announced in July and they will travel to China on Friday 20 October, returning to the UK on Sunday 29 October.

Dr Kai Liu, New Beacon Group chief executive, said: “We’re creating a global education hub for local students and international students at Beaconside. Beaconwood College will be a school of the future, with an international and entrepreneurial ethos to equip young people with the skills and experiences to thrive in a global, connected world. We’re very excited to see students’ ideas on what the school of the future should look like.”

Cllr Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: “What a prize this is. It is a trip of a lifetime for 12 young people who will have the opportunity to experience the culture and education of a captivating country. And as part of the scheme we will be welcoming Chinese students to the County Town. The Beaconwood College project is another demonstration of our borough’s increasing reputation on a global scale as a place where investors can do business.”

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins has visited Guangzhou, Tianjin and Beijing in China on behalf of the West Midlands. He added: “Staffordshire is an outward-looking, innovative county with globally-recognised companies exporting around the world. An essential part of our success is a willingness to seize new opportunities wherever they arise and this is a fantastic opportunity for a dozen Staffordshire students to broaden their horizons. It is pleasing to see the group involving Staffordshire students at such an early stage and providing them with a fantastic learning opportunity.”


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