Press release

Big business backs new studio schools

Education Secretary Michael Gove today announced he had approved the opening of 15 new studio schools - backed by big employers including Hilton Hotels, Michelin and Aston Villa Football Club.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The new schools are due to open in 2013 and 2014. By September 2013 we expect 30 studio schools to be open.

Studio schools are set up with the backing of employers, and are a key part of the government’s drive to ensure the education system gives school leavers the skills that business needs to grow and prosper.

They offer academic and vocational qualifications but teach them in a practical way. Study is combined with work placements with local and national employers involved in the school.

Along with university technical colleges, studio schools will increase choice for parents and pupils in communities across the country, help raise standards in vocational education and ensure young people have the skills that employers demand.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

Studio schools benefit both business and young people - they are a brilliant way for employers to become involved in helping give young people what they need to get good jobs. They are aimed at children who learn in more practical ways and offer good qualifications alongside the kind of skills employers want.

Studio schools teach a rigorous academic and vocational curriculum in a practical way. They equip young people with the qualifications and skills to help companies prosper, and offer paid work experience.

It is fantastic that so many successful employers are getting behind the studio school movement.

The projects approved today include:

The Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio in Blackburn, where Darwen will specialise in business administration, retail, ICT and leisure. It is led by the Aldridge Foundation, sponsors of existing academies, who will work with employers including Capita, Crown Paints, Twin Valley Homes and European Electronique to deliver a curriculum focused on entrepreneurship and tailored to local skills needs.

The Southampton Studio School, proposed by Southampton City College, will specialise in marine and cruise industries, a major local employer. The school will offer students the opportunity to follow a range of pathways including apprenticeships and HE targeted at local skills gaps via a project based curriculum and work placements developed with the involvement of employers and other local partners, including Business Solent, Meacher’s Global Logistics, Royal Yachting Association and Southampton University Hospital NHS Trust.

The Kajan Hospitality and Catering Studio, which has been proposed by Kajan Women’s Enterprise, a social enterprise that works with adults, children and young people in the Birmingham area. The school will specialise in cuisine and culinary skills with a focus on Caribbean catering. Partner employers include Aston Villa Football Club, Hilton Hotels and National Express.

David Frost CBE, chair of the Studio Schools trust and former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

I am delighted that the government has approved another 15 studio schools, and that interest is continuing to grow as we expand our network of studio schools across England.

Studio schools are playing a vital role in equipping young people with the skills and experience that they need to succeed in a competitive jobs market, through combining mainstream qualifications with real experience of the world of work.

Employers are keen to help prepare young people for the workplace, and studio schools allow them to get involved in all aspects of school life - from designing the curriculum and delivering masterclasses, to providing paid work placements and mentoring students.

With enterprise and entrepreneurialism at the core, many studio schools will run their own social enterprises, and students will run their own businesses, therefore helping to strengthen the economy and community in their local area.

I look forward to working with the 15 new studio schools as they prepare to open.

The 12 new studio schools yet to open but already approved include:

  • The Fulham Enterprise Studio in Hammersmith and Fulham, west London. This project involves the BBC, Virgin Media, Fulham FC and Age UK.
  • The Stoke Studio College in Stoke-on-Trent, which has links with employers in the construction industry including Kier.
  • The Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, which will offer students the opportunity to access a curriculum based on science, technology, engineering and maths, backed by multi-national employers.

Studio schools offer a varied curriculum for children from age 14, but have a strong academic core:

  • All will offer GCSEs in English, maths and science and other GCSEs and vocational qualifications which are recognised by employers and universities.
  • The majority of the new studio schools will offer students the opportunity to achieve the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).
  • Studio schools also offer other qualifications, such as A levels, Higher Diplomas or BTECs.

They differ from other schools in the way they deliver these qualifications, to ensure that young people are developing the skills that local employers are looking for:

  • All subjects are taught through projects, often designed with employers
  • They typically operate longer days and outside standard school terms - giving pupils a good understanding of a working day, and the importance of good attendance and punctuality in business
  • Along with their studies pupils carry out work placements for four hours a week, with employers who work with the school. After age 16 this increases to two days a week and pupils are paid for this work
  • Each pupil has a ‘personal coach’, which seeks to replicate the role of a supportive line manager in the workplace. Coaches also help students get the most out of the curriculum and their work placements

For many pupils and their parents, the opportunity to combine studying for qualifications with developing skills that will give them the edge in the competitive jobs market will be very attractive. For other students, the opportunity to gain qualifications through this new approach will mean they are more engaged and perform better than in a more conventional school.

Employers report that they are struggling to find the skills they are looking for in school leavers. In the most recent CBI employer survey (May 2010), more than two thirds of employers (70%) wanted to see the new government make the employability skills of young people its top education priority.

Notes to editors

Studio schools are designed to address the concern by employers that some school leavers do not have the skills to join the workforce. They are for 14- to 19-year-olds, and teach an academic and vocational curriculum. Each has input from businesses, who shape what pupils learn and offer work experience. School days run on office hours, and holidays are shorter to reflect the working environment. By studying in this way, and by working with employers from an early age, students learn vital practical skills like punctuality, and good communication and behaviour in the workplace.

The studio schools already approved to open in September 2012 or 2013 are:

  • Bradford International Food and Travel Studio School, Bradford
  • Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering, Hertfordshire
  • Stoke Studio College, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Fulham Enterprise Studio, Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Hull Studio School, Hull
  • Midland Studio College, Leicestershire
  • Hyndburn Studio School, Lancashire
  • The LeAF Studio School, Bournemouth
  • Ockendon Studio School, Thurrock
  • Parkside Studio School, Hillingdon
  • Tendring Studio School, Essex
  • The Studio, Liverpool.

This wave of studio schools has input from hundreds of local and national employers. Some schools will be located alongside existing maintained schools or academies, and others will be separate academies.

The first two studio schools opened in September 2010 in Luton and Huddersfield. By September 2013 we expect 30 studio schools to be open.

Kajan Hospitality and Catering Studio

The Kajan Hospitality and Catering Studio has been proposed by Kajan Women’s Enterprise, a social enterprise that work with adults, children and young people in the Birmingham area. The studio school will specialise in cuisine and culinary skills with a focus on Caribbean catering. Partner employers include Aston Villa Football Club, National Express, and Hilton Hotels.

Waverley Studio College

This studio school will be located in inner-city Birmingham specialising in Health & Social Care, Craft & Enterprise. The proposer is Waverley Foundation, the two key partners being Waverley School and Sport for Life International. The school intends to drive up educational standards in the local community by using sport as a driver of key employability skills such as team work, self discipline, aspiration and health.

Stoke Studio College (Manufacturing and Design Engineering (MaDE)

The Stoke Studio College of Manufacturing and Design Engineering will open in September 2013 for 300 students in Stoke on Trent. It is proposed by Stoke College, an FE provider and existing primary and secondary academy sponsor and sponsor of the Stoke Studio College of Construction which will open this September. The school, located in one of the most deprived wards in the country, will address the local employment needs and skills shortages by delivering a STEM driven curriculum. Employers such as Michelin Tyres, Johnson Tiles, Steelite, Goodwins International and Kier have teamed up with the school to provide practical support in terms of work placements, including in their European factories. An exciting and aspirational curriculum has been set with all students expected to achieve a minimum of 5 GCSEs (A-C) with 65 per cent achieving 5 A*C including English and maths.

The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise

The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise is proposed by North Hertfordshire College, an outstanding college, who also have the Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering in pre-opening for September 2012. The studio school will be based in Letchworth in Hertfordshire and will specialise in Creative Enterprise, building on the links that the proposer group has with over 60,000 small businesses in the sector, and will set young people up for a sustainable career in a range of creative industries. 65 apprenticeships will be offered alongside the 400 places at existing studio school.

New Campus Basildon Studio School

Proposed by SEEVIC FE College, rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, New Campus Basildon Studio School in Basildon will open for 340 students, specialising in health, social care and sport. The college will work with key partners - including The Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital - to develop the curriculum, projects and work placements for the studio school and Anglia Ruskin University to raise aspirations and provide progression to HE.

Goole Create Studio School

The Goole Create Studio School in the East Riding of Yorkshire is a joint proposal from Goole High School Academy and Selby College. The school will offer three ‘international centres of excellence’ in port logistics, green technologies, and enterprise. Each specialism is strongly rooted in the growing, local industries and will be headed up by an industry ‘patron’. The school will work with local employers to create skilled and work-ready young people.

Southampton Studio School

The Southampton Studio School is proposed by Southampton City College an FE college and will specialise in marine and cruise industries, a major local employer. The school will offer students the opportunity to follow pathways including apprenticeships and HE which are targeted at local skills gaps. There is close involvement of employers and other local partners in the application, including Business Solent and Southampton Solent University.

Devon Health Studio

The Devon Health Studio will offer young people from Torbay and beyond, the opportunity to focus on a health and social care specialism, in facilities shared with South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. Students will be able to follow a range of pathways into careers including social care, medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and child care after following an academic curriculum covering GCSEs that will allow students to achieve the EBacc and encompassing science A levels and relevant vocational qualifications. Major local employers offering paid work experience and help in shaping the curriculum are South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay Care Trust.

The Walsall Studio School

The Walsall studio school is proposed by the Vine Trust who also operate an independent alternative school for pupils with behavioural and/or emotional difficulties, excluded pupils, who are working in partnership with Queen Mary’s Grammar School for Boys. The school will be based in Walsall, and will specialise in enterprise. The curriculum and plans for project-based learning and placements with employers are clearly linked to a wider programme of regeneration in the area.

Midland Studio College

The Midland Studio College in Nuneaton will specialise in advanced transport systems and enterprise. The proposer is North Warwickshire and Hinckley College who also leads the Midlands Academy Trust and sponsor the Midland Studio College - Hinckley, which is due to open in September 2012 as well as two secondary academies. A key partner in this project is MIRA, a midlands-based engineering consultancy company who offer advanced engineering, test, design and certification solutions to companies around the world.

The Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio (DAES)

DAES will specialise in business administration, retail, ICT and leisure. The studio school is led by the Aldridge Foundation, sponsors of existing Academies, who will work with employers including Capita, Crown Paints, Twin Valley Homes and European Electronique to delivery a curriculum with a focus on entrepreneurship and tailored to local skills needs. The school’s vision is to focus on academic excellence and high-quality provision in specific skills sectors where there is demonstrable local need. Learners will acquire qualifications, skills, knowledge, values and attitudes which will enable them to progress into employment or high-level learning.

The Rye Studio School

Proposed by Rye College (a specialist 11-to-16 school), supported by two local creative arts company. The proposal is for a studio school for 300 pupils, specialising/focusing in arts and creative industries, harnessing support from the many creative industries in Rye, East Sussex and along the south coast. It offers an aspirational curriculum that would develop employability, technical and academic skills required to work across a wide range of jobs in the creative and media arts industries. These range from event management through to sound technicians for the film and events industry. Considerable support has been generated from a wide range of employers in the creative industries across East Sussex and Kent, with over 100 signed up to provide a range of support including work placements and projects. There is a clear focus on raising aspiration, demonstrated through links that are being developed with 2 local universities offering pathways to progression in HE.

Liverpool Tourism and Culture Studio

The Tourism and Culture Studio aims to become a hub of education excellence for hospitality, leisure and tourism in Liverpool. It will be sponsored by Liverpool Community College (LCC) and will cater for 300 students. A wide range of local employers are involved in the project and will be contributing to the curriculum and offering work placements to young people. The studio school will deliver a unique curriculum, combining academic and vocational qualifications, real work projects, coaching and student enterprise. Students will leave the studio school with the skills, experience and confidence for a successful career.

Film, Theatre and Costume Studio

The Film, Theatre and Costume Studio in Bradford will be a 300-place studio school, sponsored by Bradford College and becoming part of the Macmillan Education Trust. Bradford has a strong film and creative arts industry. The studio school will offer an exciting and engaging curriculum, offering students a strong academic and vocational education and the possibility of experience in the full range of backstage careers. A wide range of local employers are supporting the project.

Health Occupations Studio

The Health Occupations Studio in Bradford will be a 300 place studio school, sponsored by Bradford College and becoming part of the Macmillan Education Trust. It is being developed to provide the young people of Bradford with a unique and exciting opportunity to explore health needs across the city and West Yorkshire, to discover how health care works in their own communities, and to understand the range of health care occupations and careers that are open to them. The curriculum will include enquiry based, activity led projects and carefully planned work experience, developed and delivered in partnership with the NHS and private sector organisations.

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Published 18 July 2012