Press release

New wave of approved studio schools will take total to more than 40

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

Accenture, Barclays, The National Trust, RSPCA, Royal Veterinary College and The National Space Centre among employers behind new projects.

The Government today announced that 13 new Studio Schools are set to open from September 2014 - backed by more than 100 major national and local employers.

Studio Schools allow 14- to 19-year-olds to study academic subjects through practical projects designed and delivered by employers. Pupils combine core GCSEs and vocational qualifications with real work experience at places like the UK Space Agency - for those aged 16 or over this is up to two days and usually paid. Most Studio Schools operate longer days and terms, mirroring the workplace.

The Studio School projects have all been approved to move to pre-opening stage and will be situated across England. Pupils in Studio Schools will study core GCSEs alongside vocational qualifications. This should enable them to leave with the knowledge, skills and attitude to work that employers demand. The projects approved today will specialise in a range of subjects including business, retail, ICT, marine manufacturing, engineering and digital technologies and will cater for around 4,000 young people.

These 13 Studio Schools join 15 that are already preparing to open and 16 currently open. Together they will create opportunities for almost 14,000 young people, preparing them for the world of work by developing transferrable employability skills - punctuality, good communication, reliability and team working - whilst enabling students to gain a strong grounding in English, maths and science.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said:

I am delighted to be approving such a strong field of Studio Schools to the next stage. More employers are getting involved in Studio Schools, demonstrating their commitment to preparing young people - who will be their future employees - for the world of work.

It is crucial for young people to have the skills and experience vital to employers, both for their own prosperity and to help us compete in the global race.

Schools Commissioner Dr Elizabeth Sidwell said:

I am delighted that we have been able to approve more Studio Schools to open. These schools will put young people in communities across the country in touch with their local employers and will give them valuable experience of the workplace, while still studying for their core academic qualifications. They are crucial in helping those young people who prefer practical learning to pick up the skills wanted by employers, and it is great to see so many organisations working together to improve the life chances of young people.

Chair of the Studio Schools Trust Geoff Mulgan said:

Today’s announcement is very good news for both young people and employers. Studio Schools are spreading - and will soon be a network of over 40 - because they’ve shown their worth in providing young people with the skills and attitudes they need to make a success of work and life. Young people learn better when they’re tackling real life problems, and they learn better when there’s a clear line of sight linking what they do in school to future jobs and careers.

All of the existing studio schools should be very heartened by this vote of confidence. But in many ways this is just the beginning. Studio Schools are becoming a movement whose goal couldn’t be more important: to make the most of otherwise wasted potential, and connect learning to the very best of science and enterprise in all its forms.

The latest round of approved projects will enjoy input from more than 100 local and national employers, giving them direct involvement in shaping the future workforce. Employers say they are struggling to find the skills they are looking for in school leavers. Last year’s CBI annual education and skills survey showed that almost two-thirds - 61 per cent - of employers were unsatisfied with the self-management skills of school leavers. Employers were also not satisfied with their literacy and numeracy skills - 35 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy Programme at the National Space Centre, said:

The UK’s space industry is one of this country’s best-kept secrets - amongst the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy (nearly 10 per cent per year) with 29,000 employees, a turnover to the country of more than £9 billion per year and world-leading expertise in space robotics, satellite communications and a host of other space technologies.

One of the biggest challenges for the sector is sustaining this growth - to achieve its potential the UK space industry will need new entrants at both degree level and higher apprenticeship technical level. The Banbury Space Studio School, with its proximity to Harwell (the UK’s science campus for space science and particle physics with thousands of engineers, technicians and scientists on site) and support from the UK space sector, will be well placed to make a tangible contribution not only to the growth prospects for the sector but also to the aspirations of the young people studying at the Studio School who wish to become part of this successful and inspiring industry.

The projects announced today are:

  • Apollo Studio Academy in Durham. It is proposed by The Academy at Shotton Hall in partnership with East Durham College. This Studio School will specialise in STEM, Health, Care and Early Years. Employers working with the group include the NHS Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust.
  • De Salis Studio College in Hillingdon. It is proposed by the Rosedale Hewens Multi-Academy Trust. This is the second Studio School to be opened by this Academy Trust, following Parkside Studio School which opened in September 2012. It will specialise in Business and Finance. The Studio School is supported by well-known employers including Accenture, PWC, and HMRC.
  • Dorset Studio School in Dorchester will specialise in environmental and land based studies. It is proposed by Kingston Maurward College, a specialist land based College, and Thomas Hardye School. Key employer partners include the National Trust, the RSPCA, and the Royal Veterinary College.
  • Future Tech Studio in Warrington. It is proposed by Warrington Collegiate Education Trust, a Further Education College. It will specialise in ICT. The Studio School is backed by employers such as National Nuclear Laboratories, Barclays Global Technology Centre, and Talk Talk Business.
  • Island Studio School on the Isle of Wight. It is jointly proposed by Southampton City College (which is also behind a The Southampton Studio School preparing to open in September 2013) and the Isle of Wight Council. It will specialise in Marine Manufacturing and Offshore Engineering. The Studio School will work closely with Ventas Windsystems and local employers such as Navitus Bay and Vikoma.
  • Knutsford Academy: The Studio in Cheshire East. It will specialise in digital technologies and employability skills. Notable employer links include Barclays who will provide support in a number of ways including providing work placements, inputting into curriculum development and designing project briefs. Other key employers include Deloitte, Manchester Airport as well as a range of local companies, many of which are represented by the Forum of Private Business.
  • Manchester Creative Studio in central Manchester. It is a local community proposal, led by the founder of the Collective Spirit Free School in Oldham which is due to open in September in 2013. The Studio School will specialise in the creative industries and specifically the disciplines of design, interactive media and digital technology. A range of local SME employers within the creative industry sector having pledged their support to work in partnership with the school, including Curious Minds and Wondergrads Limited.
  • Space Studio Banbury in Oxfordshire. It will specialise in space, science and maths. It is proposed by Aspirations Academies Trust, a new Academy Sponsor. The Studio School offers students the opportunity to work with local, national and international experts in the field and some exciting employers including The National Space Centre, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and Rational Aviation.
  • Studio West in Newcastle. It is proposed by Kenton Academy and aims to equip pupils with a range of skills responsive to the demands of employers. This is reflected in the variety of employers involved with the school including Marriot Sunderland, Alston Murphy Architects Ltd and BAM Nuttall Ltd (engineering).
  • The Bath Studio School is proposed by a partnership of five schools - The Link School, Writhlington School, Norton Hill School, Wellsway School and St Gregory’s Catholic College. It will specialise in Business, IT & Administration; Science, Construction and built environment; Tourism and Recreation and Digital & Creative media. Key employers backing the school include Glennie Communications, Kier Construction, GCP Chartered Architects, Stone King LLP, and Bishop Flemming Chartered Accountants.
  • The Digital Studio College in Derbyshire. It is proposed by Derby College. It will specialise in digital technologies and business. The Studio School will be backed by around 50 local employers including such as Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Age UK (Derbyshire), Quiet Storm Solutions Ltd, and Alfreton Town FC.
  • The Sir Frank Whittle Studio College in Leicestershire. It is proposed by Lutterworth College, an established Academy. It will specialise in engineering, retail & logistics and hospitality & leisure. Employer partners include Babcock, Trelleborg and Serco.
  • Vision Studio School in Nottinghamshire. It is proposed by West Nottinghamshire College. The Studio School will specialise in health & care occupations and engineering & transportation. The specialisms are aligned to major regional growth areas and the Studio School has the support of a number of employers such as Sherwood Forest NHS Trust and Ilkeston Football Club.

Notes to editors:

  1. The successful Studio Schools have been through a rigorous process including assessment and interview by the Department and the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

  2. Studio Schools are an innovative way for employers to get involved in helping to give young people the skills businesses need. They equip young people, who prefer practical learning, with the qualifications and skills to help companies prosper. Study is combined with work placements with local and national employers who are involved in the school.

  3. They teach a rigorous academic and vocational curriculum to typically 300 students aged 14 to 19. All Studio Schools offer GCSEs in English, maths and science and other GCSEs and vocational qualifications which are recognised by employers and universities.

  4. Studio Schools differ from other schools in the way they deliver these qualifications:
    • All subjects are taught through projects 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.
    • Alongside their studies, pupils carry out work placements for four hours a week with employers who partner with the school. After age 16, this increases to two days a week and pupils are usually paid for this work.
    • Each pupil has a ‘personal coach’ who replicates 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.
  5. In addition to the 13 approved today, 16 Studio Schools are already open and a further 15 are working to open either this September or September 2014 (see below table).

  6. The Department has recently published arrangements for inviting the next wave of applications on its website. There will be two Studio School application rounds a year, the next ones being in September 2013 and spring 2014. Guidance, application forms and the precise application deadlines for the next round will be published in May 2013.

Studio Schools currently open and in pre-opening

16 open Studio Schools

Year Opened School name Local Authority (LA) Specialism(s)
2010 Barnfield Studio School Luton Hair and Beauty, Construction, Hospitality and Catering, Engineering, Plumbing or Motor Vehicles
2010 The Creative and Media Studio School Kirklees Media and Enterprise
2011 Durham Studio School County Durham IT, Business Studies, Construction and Engineering, Land-based courses
2011 Stephenson Studio School Leicestershire Employability Skills
2011 The Green Hub Studio School Kent Environment and Enterprise
2011 Bradford International Food and Travel Studio Bradford Hospitality and Tourism
2012 Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering Hertfordshire Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths
2012 Fulham Enterpise Studio School Hammersmith and Fulham Construction, Engineering, Performing Arts Production
2012 Hyndburn Studio School Lancashire Business, Finance, Sport, Leisure, Hospitatlity and Catering, Automotive Technologies, Media and Marketing
2012 LeAF Studio School Bournemouth Construction, Health and Social Care, Elite Sport
2012 Midland Studio College, Hinckley Leicestershire Engineering, Health and Social Care
2012 Ockendon Studio School Thurrock Employability Skills
2012 Parkside Studio College Hillingdon Creative Media, Construction, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Health and Social Care, Hospitality and Catering, Sport
2012 Stoke Studio College Stoke on Trent Manufactoring and Design Engineering
2012 Tendring Enterprise Studio School Essex Enterprise, Engineering, Construction, Hospitality and Leisure
2012 The Hull Studio School Hull Business and Enterprise, Hospitality, Hair and Beauty

15 Studio Schools in pre-opening to open in September 2013 and beyond

School name Local Authority (LA) Specialism(s)
Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise Hertfordshire Creative Industries, Enterprise
Darwen Aldrige Enterprise Studio Blackburn and Darwen Business, ICT, Leisure, Digital and Creative Media
Devon Health Studio Torbay Health, Early Years, Social Care
Film, Theatre and Costume Studio Bradford Film, Theatre, Costume
Goole Create Studio School East Riding Port Logistics, Green Technologies
Health Occupations Studio Bradford Health Occupations
Kajan Hospitality and Catering Studio Birmingham Catering, Hospitality
Midland Studio College, Nuneaton Warwickshire Advanced Transport Systems and Enterprise
New Campus Basildon Studio School Essex Health, Social Care, Sport
Rye Studio School East Sussex Creative Arts, Media
Southampton Studio School Southampton Marine and Cruise Industries
Stoke Studio College for Manufacturing and Design Engineering Stoke on Trent Manufacturing and Design Engineering
The Studio, Liverpool Liverpool Digital Futures
Walsall Studio School Walsall Social Enterprise
Waverley Studio College Birmingham Health, Enterprise, Craft

Regional breakdown of Studio Schools

Region Newly approved applications Total open/in development
North East 2 3
North West 3 6
Yorkshire and Humber 0 6
East Midlands 3 5
West Midlands 0 6
East of England 0 6
South East 2 5
South West 2 4
London 1 3
TOTAL 13 44

DfE enquiries