What is a Studio School?

The name ‘Studio School’ comes from the concept of the Renaissance studio, prevalent in Europe from around 1400 to 1700, where working and learning were integrated. Students were taught by an experienced master in the same workshop in which the master created and produced his work. Artists and inventors such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo all learnt their trade and eventually taught in a studio setting.

Our goal is to take this older tradition and apply it to the 21st Century, creating schools in which students progress in academic and vocational subjects through experience of real work. This practice has already been adopted in medicine, law and other fields. There is strong evidence that by bringing working and learning together students will perform better, and be better prepared for their working life.

At the heart of the Studio Schools' model are seven key features, which have been developed through extensive research and consultation with employers, education experts and young people. These essential elements provide a framework for all Studio Schools and will be built upon by individual schools who will tailor the model to meet the needs of their local community and local labour market.

Academic Excellence

Like traditional schools, Studio Schools will teach the National Curriculum and offer key academic and vocational qualifications. The qualifications offered by individual schools will vary depending on local circumstances, however all will deliver qualifications at Level 2 and above, including core GCSEs in English, Maths and Science. On leaving their Studio School, students will have the full range of progression routes available to them. They will have gained the qualifications, knowledge and skills to choose the option which is suitable to them: entering the jobs market from an advantageous position; starting an apprenticeship; or going on to further or higher education. For more detailed information about the Studio Schools curriculum model click here.

Employability and Enterprise Skills

Key employability and life skills will underpin all the activities at a Studio School through the unique CREATE skills framework. CREATE is comprised of a wide range of skills and stands for Communication, Relating to people, Enterprise, Applied skills, Thinking skills and Emotional intelligence. CREATE is grounded in a wide range of skills typologies and has been developed specifically for Studio Schools in order to equip young people with the key skills that they need to flourish.

Personalised Curriculum

In Studio Schools all students will be assigned a ‘personal coach’ who will meet with them one-to-one every fortnight to develop their own personalised learning plan. This will allow students to tailor their curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations, and track their progress towards their CREATE skills and qualifications. Personalisation of the curriculum will be further supported through a small school environment in which every young person will be able to access the tailored support that they need. 

Practical Learning

Enquiry-based learning (EBL) lies at the heart of the Studio Schools' curriculum model. In Studio Schools, students will learn the National Curriculum principally through Enterprise Projects in their school, local businesses and surrounding community. To root students’ learning in the real world most projects will involve external commissions. So whether it is a health report for their local hospital or a business brief for a local employer, students’ learning will be authentic and will actively involve them in local community life. 

Real Work

Students in Year 10 and 11 will participate in work experience each week - this varies from half a day per week to a day each week depending on the Studio School, and the requirements of their industry partners. In Year 12 and 13, it is the SST recommendation that students spend two days per week in work. There is considerable evidence that this direct, ‘hands on’ experience better prepares young people for life and work.

Small Schools

As small schools of around 300 students, Studio Schools offer a supportive, personalised learning environment in which strong pastoral care runs throughout the school’s activities. This helps to ensure that no young person gets lost within the institution and that young people are able to build strong relationships with their peers and coaches. Crucially, coaches know students well, making them better able to tailor the curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations. 

Students of All Abilities

Studio Schools are fully inclusive and comply with the national School Admissions Code.