A SCHEME to encourage youngsters to take up further education has been launched.

The Central Gateshead Sixth Form scheme aims to bring together 500 Year 11 pupils from three of the borough's schools, Joseph Swan, Kingsmeadow and Thomas Hepburn, in partnership with Gateshead College.

Hundreds of youngsters attended a launch party at Gateshead International Stadium, hosted by Metro FM presenter Wayne Tunnicliffe, with performances by college DJs and music students.

Under the scheme, students can access facilities such as the Tyne and Wear sports and music academies.

It offers a choice of courses in more than 20 subjects, GCSE re-sits, as well as a wide range of vocational courses and Modern Apprenticeships.

Students will be based at one of the schools or the college, with free transport between them.