SECONDARY school heads from across York have backed The Press’s campaign to bring Britain’s proposed new High Speed Rail College to the city.

They say the college for the HS2 project would provide a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for school-leavers.

The On Track for York campaign by The Press backs an official bid by city leaders for the proposed college to be at York Central,bringing up to 2,000 apprenticeships to the city.

Trevor Burton, head of Millthorpe School, said HS2 was an exciting development that would showcase Britain’s engineering excellence. “It will mean many opportunities for the young people of York to join the nation’s push for future prosperity and bring jobs and wealth to our city,” he said.

Manor CE School principal Brian Crosby said: “This would appear to be a once in a generation opportunity that should not be missed.”

He said York’s history meant itsuch an excellent development.”

Chrissy Holbrey, headteacher of Canon Lee school, said the part York had played in the evolution of rail travel would define it as a perfect location for the college.

York High School head David Ellis said such a college would play a huge role in helping to raise the aspirations of young people.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to bring the whole city together in making a difference to the life chances of our young people.”

Fulford head Lorna Savage said York had great strengths in education and training through its schools, colleges, universities and employment in areas linked to research and development, such as science and technology.

“This facility would be a great opportunity to develop skills within the city and to create a range of employment opportunities in different economic sectors,” she said.

Bill Scriven, head of All Saints School, said that as a city steeped in railway history and with great strengths as a centre of learning, York would be an ideal location. “It would also offer tremendous opportunities for young students leaving All Saints and all the other secondary schools,” he said.

Richard Crane, head of Joseph Rowntree School, said it was a really exciting opportunity. adding: “I wholeheartedly support such a venture.” Huntington School head John Tomsett is also supporting the campaign.

Coun Janet Looker, city council cabinet member for education, said: “Its great to see that our schools are actively getting behind this campaign.

The strength of York’s educational offer is well known and we already boast a rail academy in the city.”

The heads’ comments came after the boss of HS2 challenged politicians to pave the way for a faster building of the high-speed line to reduce the £50 billion cost of the project.

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins proposed an accelerated timetable for the northern, phase two, section of the project and called for a new look at ways of improving connections between phase 2 and the existing railway.

York-born business secretary, Vince Cable has also claimed there is now a “compelling case” to speed up links to northern cities through HS2 to help rebalance the British economy