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Nick Clegg backs specialist free school for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 10:33 16 March 2012

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg addresses the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference, at Methodist Central Hall, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 15, 2012. See PA story INDUSTRY Chambers. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg addresses the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference, at Methodist Central Hall, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 15, 2012. See PA story INDUSTRY Chambers. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has backed proposals for a Norfolk ‘free school’ that will focus on science and maths.

His comments came during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons yesterday, a session he was taking while David Cameron visited the United States.

The issue was raised by South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss who highlighted the issue that not enough youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds were taking science and maths.

She asked: “What is the government going to do about the social mobility issue that we have in the sciences, and does [Mr Clegg] support the proposed Sir Isaac Newton maths school in Norfolk to help address this issue?”

Plans for the school, a Norwich-based sixth form specialising in maths and science, have been set out as joint project by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Ormiston Victory Academy.

Responding to Ms Truss, Mr Clegg said: “I think she highlights an incredibly important point. It’s one of the reasons why the new English Baccalaureate places a great deal of emphasis on those scientific disciplines. It’s why we protected the science budget in order to send out a clear signal that we value sciences.

He added: “We need more youngsters particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds taking up maths and science courses.”

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