The source said: “It feels like ideology at work rather than common sense. It could destabilise schools in the area. No-one can compete with a university so the impact it could have on local schools will be interesting.
"If you look at government policy, it is all about bringing competition into the education sector – in HE, FE and secondary school level. I’m not against competition per se, but competition can be wasteful.
“This is something which will take a lot of money, and all at a time when the sector is being told about utilising our resources and getting more for less.”
But Prof Peck insisted the new school would not have an adverse effect on other secondary schools.
He said: “We are sensitive to other schools, and it would never be our intention to destabilise any schools.
“But we have to put it into context we are talking about 150 pupils drawn from across all of Birmingham.”
The university is seeking any expressions of interest from parents of children who are currently in Years 3 or 4 or Years 8 or 9 who would be starting secondary school or sixth form in 2014/15.
The proposals, submitted to the Department of Education on February 24 pending approval by the university’s Council, follows another city university’s moves into secondary education.
Aston University is sponsoring a £15 million academy to train Birmingham’s next generation of engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
Aston University Engineering Academy, which will open its doors in September, will be one of the first university technical colleges (UTCs), giving 14 to 19-year-olds the chance to gain qualifications and skills for careers in science and engineering.
The academy, which is being built at Birmingham Science Park Aston, will have strong links with local and national firms, including E.on, the National Grid and the Royal Air Force, which will help shape the curriculum.
Students will be drawn from across the city and longer school hours from 8.30am to 5.30pm will equate to an extra year of teaching per student by the time they leave at 19.
The academy will boast 13 specialist engineering and science workshops and laboratories, as well as ICT suites for research and development.
Aston University also announced last week it had submitted a £10 million bid to the Department for Education to open a second UTC in Dudley.
The university teamed up with Dudley College and West Midland firms the Hadley Group and the Thomas Dudley Group for the bid, which if successful, could see the Aston University Technical College Dudley open as early as 2014.
Professor Julia King, vice chancellor of Aston University, said: “The development of UTCs are a key aspect of the university’s widening participation strategy.
“I believe both will have a significant impact on raising the aspirations of young people in the region to study science and engineering.”
*For more information go to: www.birmingham.ac.uk/university-school