Studio school

A studio school is a type of secondary school in England that is designed to give students practical skills in workplace environments as well as traditional academic and vocational courses of study. Like traditional schools, studio schools teach the National Curriculum and offer academic and vocational qualifications. However studio schools also have links to local employers and offer education related to the world of work.[1] Twenty studio schools will have closed by the summer of 2018; the introduction of free schools in general (including studio schools) has been criticised as a failed experiment.[2]


Studio Schools are a type of Free School, [3] a type of school introduced in 2010. They are part of the Academies Programme, and are funded by the taxpayer, non-selective, free to attend and not controlled by a local education authority. While this is also true of most other academies and free schools, Studio Schools are collectively distinctive in a number of ways. Studio Schools are sponsored by existing schools, colleges, and community groups. However, existing schools cannot convert to become a Studio School - all Studio Schools have to be stand alone schools with no direct transfer intake of pupils. Studio Schools are designed to be small, with a maximum of 300 students, which enables them to foster a supportive, personalised learning environment with a strong focus on pastoral care. The schools forge close links with businesses and enterprises in their specialist industries who support the schools through activities such as mentoring, work placements, and curriculum design and delivery. To further prepare students for the world of work, employability skills are embedded throughout all school activities using the CREATE employability skills framework.[4][5]

Like University Technical Colleges, Studio Schools are designed for students aged 14–19, whereas free schools and other academies can choose the age range of their pupils. Some Studio Schools which operate in areas with a three-tier school system have intakes for students aged 13.

The name 'Studio School' is derived from the concept of the Renaissance studio which existed in Europe from 1400 to 1700. Students at these studios were taught by an experienced master in the same place in which the master created and produced his work. Modern-day Studio Schools aim to give students skills required by employers and businesses in the local area, in an environment which simulates genuine workplaces.[6] As part of this, Studio Schools are open all year round and have a longer school day, typically 9am to 5pm.

The Studio Schools programme as a whole is overseen by the Studio Schools Trust, who are responsible for helping in the establishment of new Studio Schools, and supporting existing schools to implement the model. Part of this work involves facilitating the sharing of best practice through networking sessions and training and CPD events.[7] Businesses involved with the Studio Schools programme include National Space Centre, Talk Talk, Barclays, National Nuclear Laboratory, and National Trust.[8]


The establishment of studio schools has been criticised by some teaching unions, who claim they will cause further fragmentation state school provision. The age intake range of studio schools have also been criticised, with some unions arguing that 14 is too early an age for most children to receive such a specialised education.[9]

In March 2016 it emerged that of the 47 studio schools that had been established, 14 had closed or were closing. 6 new studio schools were scheduled to open.[10] By April 2018 nineteen schools had closed at a cost estimated at £48m, with another due to close in the summer. Free schools, introduced in 2010, include studio schools and university technical colleges; 66 free schools had closed by April 2018, at an estimated cost of almost £150m in startup costs and capital funding. The joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) said "The government should hang its head in shame at this monumental waste of taxpayers’ money at a time when schools are severely underfunded".[2]

In 2017 academies minister Lord Nash conducted an informal review of the studio schools concept due to low pupil recruitment and closures.[11][12] As of 2018, almost half of the Studio Schools so far started, 27 of 56, had closed or were closing.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "What are studio schools? - Schools". Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  2. ^ a b Sally Weale (25 April 2018). "Free schools policy under fire as yet another closure announced". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Education Terms: Free Schools". DfE Website. Department for Education. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  4. ^ "What is a Studio School?". Studio Schools Trust. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Studio Schools Trust. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  6. ^ "Why "Studio" School?". Studio Schools Trust. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  7. ^ "The Trust". Studio Schools Trust. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  8. ^ "2014 Studio Schools Announced". Studio Schools Trust. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  9. ^ Harrison, Angela (2012-07-19). "BBC News - More work-based 'studio schools' announced". Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  10. ^ "Closing down: 14th studio school to fold, leaving just 33 open". Schools Week. 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  11. ^ Whittaker, Freddie (30 June 2017). "Minister met with key studio school officials to discuss 'review' of model". Schools Week. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  12. ^ Allen-Kinross, Pippa (15 September 2018). "Revealed: Uncovered emails discuss 'review' of studio schools programme, but DfE still denies it happened". Schools Week. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  13. ^ Camden, Billy (25 October 2018). "Another studio school to close - meaning nearly half have wound up". Schools Week. Retrieved 26 October 2018.

External links

BRIT School

The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology is a British performing arts and technology school located in the London Borough of Croydon, England, with a mandate to provide education and vocational training for the performing arts, media, art and design and the technologies that make performance possible. Selective in its intake, the school is notable for its several celebrity alumni, that include singers Adele, Jessie J, Leona Lewis and Amy Winehouse, and actor Tom Holland.

Established in 1992 under the CTC programme, the school is funded by the British Government with support from the British Record Industry Trust and maintains an independent school status from the local education authority. The school is remarkable as being one of only three performing arts and technology schools in the country that are free to attend, the others being both in the West Midlands: Walsall Studio School and Birmingham Ormiston Academy.

Creative and Media Studio School

The Creative & Media Studio School is a studio school located at the Netherhall Learning Campus in Huddersfield, in the English county of West Yorkshire, England.

The school was established in 2010. The school was initially housed in the premises of the other schools in the Netherhall Federation, however a dedicated building has been completed and was officially opened on 15 November 2013.

School specialisms include Drama, Music, Textiles, Graphics, Fashion and Media, with qualifications at GCSE, BTEC or A Level.

Digitech Studio School

Digitech Studio School is the first studio school in Bristol. It opened in 2015.

Durham Community Business College

Durham Community Business College (DCBC) is a coeducational secondary school located in Ushaw Moor, County Durham, England.

DCBC is a community school under the control of Durham County Council. It has specialisms in Business and Enterprise and Technology and has additional facilities for the specialisms.The school offers GCSEs, BTECs and OCR Nationals as programmes of study for pupils. The Durham Studio Sixth Form is located on the same site as DCBC, and offers sixth form courses for 16- to 19-year-olds.DCBC is part of the Durham Federation which also includes Fyndoune Community College, and used to include Durham Studio Sixth Form. However both schools are currently in special measures due to an inadequate rating from Ofsted, and Durham Studio Sixth Form was closed in 2014.In 2015, Anne Lakey (Chief Executive of the Durham Federation) was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of 13 counts of indecent assault after sexual allegations concerning two schoolboys in 1980s.In April 2017, Mrs Alison Jobling was officially appointed as Headteacher of the Durham Federation.

Hussian School of Art

Hussian College, formally Hussian College, School of Art, formally Hussian School of Art, is a private vocational college for different types of design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1946, it offers a four-year, full-time program. Hussian College is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree for Art, with four concentrations: User Interface & Experience, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Visual Communications.

Studio School, its Los Angeles branch campus, offers four Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in Art, Film + Digital Content, Acting, Commercial Dance and Contemporary Musical Theatre + Film and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Entrepreneurship.

Inspire Enterprise Academy

Inspire Enterprise Academy (formerly Southampton Studio School) was a Studio school located in Southampton, designed for students aged 14–19 who intended to pursue a career in business and enterprise. It was founded in 2013 as part of the Studio Schools Trust. The school combined project-based learning and business experiences, with academic achievement, aimed at equipping students with a diverse range of skills. In September 2014 Inspire Enterprise Academy's sister, the Isle of Wight Studio School, opened on the Isle of Wight.

On 6 July 2015 the school announced that it would close at the end of the academic year. The school formally closed in August 2015. Children in Year 10 were offered a transfer to the Isle of Wight Studio School.

Knutsford Academy

Knutsford Academy, formerly known as Knutsford High School, is a secondary school in Knutsford, Cheshire, England. It has Specialist School Status in the areas of English and Humanities. As of 2014, it also includes a Studio school site.

LeAF Studio

LeAF Studio is a studio school located in the West Howe area of Bournemouth in the English county of Dorset. The school specialises in education for aspiring athletes and performing artists, with an emphasis on teaching through enterprise and real work experience.The school was established in September 2012, and was initially co-located at Oak Academy. However the school relocated to its own purpose-built premises in September 2013. The school was rated as 'Good' in its first Ofsted inspection in January 2015.LeAF Studio is part of the North Bournemouth Learning and Achievement Federation (LeAF) which operates the LeAF Campus. The campus includes Elm Nursery, Elm Primary Academy, Oak Academy and LeAF Studio.

List of schools in Bath and North East Somerset

This is a list of schools in Bath and North East Somerset in the English county of Somerset.

Moscow Art Theatre School

Moscow Art Theatre School is the studio school of the Moscow Art Theatre. It is a state educational institution that has existed since 1943. The initiator of the studio school was Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.Open three faculties — the cast (training — 4 years, the competition — 30 per place), staging (training — 5 years, the contest — 3 persons per place) and Producer (training — 5 years, the competition — 4 persons per place). Form of study — full-time.

New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture

The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture at 8 West 8th Street, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, New York State is an art school formed in 1963 by a group of students and their teacher, Mercedes Matter, all of whom had become disenchanted with the fragmented nature of art instruction inside traditional art programs and universities. Today it occupies the building that previously housed the Whitney Museum of American Art.

From its start, the Studio School was founded on the principle that drawing from life should form of the basis of artistic development. Furthermore, rather than attending a series of disjointed classes, students were encouraged to develop their artistic practice along lines similar to the "atelier" approach favored by European art schools.

Faculty has included painters Charles Cajori, Louis Finkelstein, Philip Guston, Rosemarie Beck, Alex Katz, Earl Kerkam, George McNeil, and Esteban Vicente; sculptors Peter Agostini, Sidney Geist, Ophrah Shemesh, Reuben Nakian, and George Spaventa. Nicolas Carone and Mercedes Matter focused on drawing instruction and Meyer Schapiro and Leo Steinberg taught art history. Former deans of the school have included the renowned composer Morton Feldman and artist/critic/curator Robert Storr. The present dean, since 1988, is the British-born painter Graham Nickson who instituted the two-week intensive Drawing Marathon, staged twice a year ahead of each semester and which is now fixture of the academic program.While until very recently, the school did not—by intention—offer formal degrees, today students are able to obtain a Master of Fine Arts.

The School presents an Evening Lecture Series in the Fall and Spring semesters, generally twice a week, featuring an international roster of speakers including artists talking on their own work and critics and scholars covering a range of historic subjects. The School's exhibition program, in its committed gallery space, was described by critic Mario Naves in the New York Observer as "one of the city’s most significant venues for contemporary art." In 2005, the school was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Rye Studio School

Rye Studio School is a mixed studio school located in Rye, East Sussex, England. It opened in 2013 and caters for students aged 14–19 years. It is located on the Rye College campus, is sponsored by the Rye Academy Trust, and is classified as a free school.

Sir Frank Whittle Studio School

The Sir Frank Whittle Studio School is a 14–19 Studio School and is half of The Lutterworth Academies Trust. It is situated alongside Lutterworth College in the rural market town of Lutterworth, South Leicestershire.

There are approximately 80 students currently on roll.

The school specialises in engineering, business and sport. It also works alongside employers to provide students with external experiential learning.The school will close in July 2017 because of failure to fill places.

Stephenson College, Coalville

Stephenson College Coalville is a further and higher education college in Coalville, Leicestershire.

Stephenson College offers a variety of courses that include child care, motor vehicle, health & social care, hair & beauty, engineering, brick work, wood work, plumbing, higher education and more. The facilities are modern, high-tech and spacious, the workshops are all of industry standard.Part of the college's main campus is used by the Stephenson Studio School.The college's main campus is located in Coalville, in the North West of Leicestershire and is accessible via Junction 22 on the M1 motorway. The college also has a campus in Lenton, Nottingham.

Studio West

Studio West, opened in September 2014, is a studio school situated in Newcastle upon Tyne in Tyne and Wear, England.

Studio West opened on the old All Saints site in West Denton. Along with Kenton School, it is part of the Kenton Academy Multi-Trust. Its address is West Denton Way, Newcastle upon Tyne NE5 2SZ.

Val Wigham is the Principal of the school.

Tendring Enterprise Studio School

Tendring Enterprise Studio School was a 14–19 mixed, secondary studio school and sixth form in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England. It was established in 2012 and sponsored by the Academies Enterprise Trust.The school closed in August 2016 following an announcement in June 2015. In a letter to parents, principal Ian Pearson said: “We now feel that the direction of the school has moved away from the original studio school concept and, consequently, the Department for Education has agreed to the request from our sponsor, the Academies Enterprise Trust, to close Tendring Enterprise Studio School in August 2016." Current Year Ten and Year Twelve pupils were able to finish their two-year courses at the school.

The Studio School Luton

The Studio School Luton was a 14–18 vocational studio school located in York Street, Luton, in the English county of Bedfordshire. The school closed in September 2016.

The school was established in September 2010, making it one of the first two studio schools to be established in England. It was previously sponsored by the Barnfield Federation of schools, but became part of the Shared Learning Trust in 2015 and was renamed The Studio School Luton. Prior to the establishment of the Studio School, between August 2007 and August 2010, David Pettit was appointed Project Manager for the testing of the Studio School concept and designed and delivered the entrepreneurial curriculum for three year groups in association with the Studio Schools trust. The successful field trial gave rise to the establishment of the Studio School in 2010.

Pupils at the school studied for core GCSEs in English, Maths and Science. Students also studied for an OCR National in Science and the BTEC First Diploma in Business, as well as choosing a BTEC Certificate or Diploma from Art, PE or Music. In addition pupils pursued a Level 1 or 2 award in a vocational area. Students in the sixth form study for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Business or Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, as well as undertaking up to 12 hours of paid work per week.In March 2016 it was announced that The Studio School Luton would close at the end of the academic year. The main reason was the low number of pupils at the school, with only 66 pupils attending in 2016, when the school had a capacity for 300.

USP College

USP College (Unified Seevic Palmer's, previously known as Seevic and Palmer's Colleges Group) is a further education college located in Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex, and Grays Thurrock, England. Approximately 4,500 students attend the college. The Seevic campus name was originally an acronym for South East Essex Sixth (VI) Form College. The Thundersley campus opened in September 1972. The Palmer's Campus in Grays can trace its history back to 1706.

The Seevic Campus offers adult education courses for learners of any age. Both campuses offer a special needs department for anyone with a learning disability. The Palmer's campus opened its special needs department in September 2018, following the success of the Seevic Campus one which has been running for several years and has over 94 students in the department.

In 2018 Seevic merged with Palmer's College as part of a government initiative. From September 2018 the colleges were renamed USP College with a new logo.

It was announced in March 2019 that USP had purchased local apprenticeship provider ITECH Learning Technologies which would increase the number of apprenticeship training options USP could offer.

Vision West Nottinghamshire College

Vision West Nottinghamshire College is the trading name of West Nottinghamshire College, a further education college having two main campuses in Mansfield, with smaller sites at nearby Sutton in Ashfield and Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England.

The College of Further Education was formed in the 1970s by combining elements of an old Technical College dating back to 1928 and adjacent College of Arts dating from 1930 in Mansfield town centre with a newer, main Technical College established in 1960 at a large development on former farmland at Derby Road, on the outskirts of Mansfield. Both sites remain in use, and the college provides dedicated shuttle buses from the different sites.

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