Studio Schools and the DfE Accountability Measures

Background

Studio Schools are a new type of school, and they differ from conventional secondary schools in a number of ways. They are, for instance, small schools (around 300 pupils when full), and are aimed at the 13/14 – 19 age group rather than 11 – 19. The first Studio Schools were approved by the then Labour Government, and the programme subsequently expanded under the current Coalition Government. The model is supported by all major employer and business organisations, leading educationalists, and has attracted significant international interest.

The schools are designed to:

  • Provide young people with meaningful qualifications
  • Equip students with the key employability skills required by employers
  • Incorporate substantial work experience; both regular and frequent

Local flexibility

At Key Stage 4, all Studio School students take English, Maths, and two Science subjects, but the key to this new model functioning effectively is that the schools should reflect their local community, and align with local labour markets. Therefore, in a Studio School, qualifications offered are chosen after extensive consultation with local businesses and local parents. These qualifications have an external currency, and will ensure that students have relevant qualifications; not ones selected for the sake of league tables.

Attainment 8 and Progress 8

The Studio Schools Trust does not have a formal position on the suite of qualifications offered by individual Studio Schools. We believe that the schools themselves are best placed to make this decision, and encourage local autonomy in this regard.

In some cases, this qualification offer might include 8 qualifying subjects, but this should only be the case where the schools, working with local stakeholders, judge this to be appropriate. In many cases the schools will not offer 8 qualifying subjects, because these will not constitute the right offer for the area. This offer has to be determined by the need to ensure that young people have the qualifications, skills, and experience that will enable them to succeed in work, and in life. The Trust strongly supports schools that make their choice on this basis.