UK's first private dental school 'a coup' for Leicester
Britain's first private dental school is to open in Leicester.
The pioneering school, which will take 100 students a year, is due to open next year.
The five-year degree course will cost £176,000.
The first batch of students, who will start next September, will have lectures and seminars at Phoenix Square, Curve and the LCB Depot, in Rutland Street.
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The central teaching hub and administrative offices will be in existing offices in the three buildings.
A dental clinical centre is to be built on land adjacent to Phoenix Square, in Leicester's Cultural Quarter.
The centre, which will include specialist suites and extra teaching and administrative space, is to due to be up and running in late 2015.
The school, a joint venture between the University of Buckingham and Leicester Dental Teaching Academy, is aimed primarily at international students.
Jeremy Goodman, commercial director of Leicester Dental Teaching Academy, said that when the school was fully operational, the 500 students would be treating up to 400 patients a day between them.
He said the venture would create up to 100 jobs, as dental technicians. lecturers, administrative staff, receptionists and cleaners.
He said: "This is very exciting and a massive coup for the city of Leicester.
"This is the first of its kind in the country and it is being sited right here in our Cultural Quarter."
He said Leicester had been chosen because it had good transport links nationally and internationally and a potential patient population of 3.4 million people within a 45-minute travel time.
He said: "Leicester is also known as a city with excellent facilities and a harmonious relationship among a diverse population.
"This is being aimed at international students, so Leicester seems almost the perfect place to site such a school."
Professor Terence Kealey, Buckingham University vice-chancellor, said the bachelor degree in dental surgery would be awarded by the university.
He said students would be introduced to patient care early on in their training and be given a thorough grounding in business development, management and enterprise.
They would gain an appreciation of the international business environment and cultures in parts of the world such as India, Nigeria and China – and the impact of oral disease on societies around the world.
Once the school is running, the intention is to establish a charitable trust and to carry out research, as well as to award bursaries to promising students with limited means of support, he said.
Minister of universities and science David Willetts welcomed the development.
He said: "The venture is an opportunity to foster Britain's reputation in the world for skills and knowledge.
"It will boost the nation's export market and it will have spin-off economic benefits to suppliers, contractors and the local economy."