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Studio School Proposed For Peterlee

Tue, 2002-01-15 00:00

Peterlee could soon be the site of a brand new ‘studio school’ if plans to offer alternative education to young people in the area are agreed.

The Academy at Shotton Hall and East Durham College, are currently bidding to develop the new type of Government funded mainstream school, which would offer both academic and work-based qualifications to 14 – 19 year olds in Peterlee.

If the bid is approved by the Department for Education, the school would specialise in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and health and social care qualifications, helping to meet skills shortages in the area and improving the career prospects of local teenagers.

Studio schools offer a different educational experience to traditional secondary schools and sixth forms. As well as studying for GCSEs and vocational qualifications, students work with local employers on real-life business projects and ‘9-5’ work experience whilst earning a wage.

The school is being backed by several local businesses and a will cater for up to 300 pupils. It is planned to open in September 2014 and premises are still being explored.

Lesley Powell, Principal at the Academy at Shotton Hall who is jointly sponsoring the bid said: “A studio school would be a great development for the area giving youngsters access to a broad curriculum and dynamic learning opportunities with local businesses.

“Although we advocate the merits of a traditional academic secondary education, we recognise that for some students, a vocational approach is more beneficial.  A studio school would help nurture the entrepreneurial and enterprise skills of young people and help them to be better prepared for higher education, employment or training.”

And Suzanne Duncan, Principal at East Durham College believes a Studio School is another way to help students within the local area reach their full potential by studying in a different environment.

Suzanne added: “The model of a studio school is recognised as one which develops work skills, an enterprise culture and creates high aspirations amongst its learners. Everyone studying at a studio school takes part in a large element of real work experience, equipping them with relevant work skills over an extended period of time.

“Young people who may not reach their full potential at a traditional school will flourish in an atmosphere where they are regularly challenged to take more responsibility for their learning that the ‘enquiry based’ model demands and by learning to behave as a professional in the school and workplace environment.”