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East Midlands Chamber News

Consultation reveals backing for studio school

A public consultation has revealed strong support for West Nottinghamshire College’s plans to open the county’s first studio school.

The college invited people to have their say on its proposals to set up Vision Studio School – aimed at young people who learn better by ‘doing’ – at its Chesterfield Road campus in Mansfield.

It came after the proposed school was given permission to enter its pre-opening stage by the Secretary of State for Education earlier this year, after previously approving the college’s application.

The six-week consultation, which closed on 18 October, included paper and on-line questionnaires along with information evenings and a drop-in event for people to learn more about the new school.

It generated 112 responses from young people, parents, carers, employers, secondary schools and councils, of which:
94% (105 respondents) supported the proposals;
93% (104 respondents) were in favour of the school’s curriculum specialisms of engineering and transportation, and health and care occupations;
95% (107 respondents) approved of the school’s vision to ‘encourage a can-do approach and develop self-assured, confident and rounded young people that employers will want to take on and nurture as employees’; and
91% (102 respondents) were in favour of the Secretary of State for Education signing a funding agreement for the new school.

Andy Campbell, principal-designate of Vision Studio School, said: “The vast majority of those that took part are hugely supportive of the proposals and want to see a studio school serving Mansfield and Ashfield.

“Respondents were particularly positive about the school’s work-related element and the opportunities it will afford young people to engage with employers, which will prepare them for employment and succeeding in a competitive jobs market.

“I’m grateful to everybody that took the time to give us their views. We will use these to further shape our proposals in readiness for submitting a funding application to the Department for Education in the New Year.”

Studio schools are a new type of state school for 14- to 19-year-olds of all abilities that aim to bridge the gap between education and employment.

They teach the national curriculum and the same core GCSE subjects as traditional schools along with vocational qualifications, but deliver these through project-based learning and work placements with employers, who help shape the curriculum.

Planned to open in September 2014, Vision Studio School will cater for students from Year 10 upwards and eventually provide places for up to 300 students. As well as preparing students for the workplace, the studio school will also enable progression to university-level study.

Employers already on board include Bridgeway Consulting Ltd, DB Schenker, Enable Housing Association and Enable Care & Home Support, Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, Lindhurst Innovation Engineering, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham.

To find out more about the studio school and hear why employers are supporting it, visit www.visionstudioschool.co.uk.

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