A dozen new vocationally-based schools, with links to major employers such as Sony and Glaxo, have been revealed by the government.

The Department for Education (DfE) released this morning the details of the new “studio schools” for people aged 14 to 19 to open in September 2012.

Six studio schools are already in place – the first of which opened in 2010 – and a further 50 are in the pipeline.

Among them is the Hyndburn Studio School, the first institute of its kind in Lancashire, which will be sponsored by Accrington and Rossendale College, in partnership with Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School.

The school aims to prepare its learners to be ready for work when they leave, by offering industry specific vocational pathways from the age of 14.

Stephen Carlisle, principal of Accrington and Rossendale College, said: “We are thrilled to have received official approval for the Hyndburn Studio School as we are convinced it will have a hugely positive impact on the next generation of Hyndburn’s workforce.

“Alongside helping learners to achieve excellent grades in their key GCSEs, the studio school will prepare them for a career by giving them work experience from day one so they develop their skills at some of the most prestigious companies in Pennine Lancashire.

“We already have over 40 companies on board for the school, who will help us shape curriculum, provide both paid and unpaid work experience to our learners and give them the best possible chance of excelling in their chosen field of work.”

Whilst at the studio school, learners will still study for their key GCSEs of English, Maths, Science and ICT. Alongside that, they will choose a vocational pathway and study for a BTEC Diploma in that specialism.

The pathways currently on offer are sport, leisure and hospitality, business and finance, automotive technologies and media and marketing. Further pathways are also being investigated based upon community demand.

The School, based at the Waterside building, St James’ Court West, in Accrington, will cater for 100 students in its first year, rising to 300 by year three.

Mr Carlisle added: “Parents are attracted by the fact that we have strong support from employers and because we are offering their children the chance to learn about work, gain industry skills and have a better chance of gaining employment after education.

“Hyndburn is typically an area where youth unemployment is high and we hope the new school will plug the existing gap between skills and employability and help shape the future.”

David Nicoll, CEO of the Studio Schools Trust, said: “This new school is a ground breaking way in which to deliver education, combining mainstream qualifications will real experience of the world of work, and the development of key employability skills.”

Schools Minister Lord Hill said: “Studio Schools bring education and the world of work together and offer the more practical approach to learning which some children need.

“Along with teaching a rigorous academic curriculum – in a practical way – they use new approaches to make sure young people understand business basics, like punctuality and the ability to communicate with a wide range of people.

“Alongside UTCs and Free Schools, Studio Schools will give parents and children more choice. They will also involve local employers.”

The definitive list of new studio schools:

  • Bradford International Food and Travel Studio School, Bradford
  • Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering, Hertfordshire
  • Discovery Studio School, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Fulham Enterprise Studio School, Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Hull Studio School, Hull
  • Hinckley Studio School, Leicestershire
  • Hyndburn Studio School, Lancashire
  • Bournemouth Learning and Achievement Foundation Studio School, Bournemouth
  • Ockendon Studio School, Thurrock
  • Parkside Studio School, Hillingdon
  • Tendring Studio School, Essex
  • The Studio, Liverpool

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  1. I think that this is what is happening in some schools already, although the introduction of the baccalaureate and the demise of the very successful Young Apprenticeship programme is restricting this good work in current comprehensives. I do wonder why Studio schools are necessary and why good vocational best practise cannot just be shared in the current school system

    There appears to be an influx of confusion in the education system, with first of all Academies being for failing schools, then academies for successful schools, comprehensive schools and community schools – as well as public and private schools. Whilst we are introducing lots of ‘inniovative’ ideas – whole year groups of young people are being disadvantaged

    Surely it is in the best interest of the economy to have a good strong education system that caters for all, where all schools have the same opportunity for all ‘talents’ and potential to be maximized. This could be best delivered by listening to the people at the coal face! Teachers, heads of department and head teachers along with employers.

    I think parents would want to send all of their children to the same school and know that if one was academic and wanted to be a doctor of medicine for example, another a qualified joiner and the third a dress designer that they would all get the opportunity to follow their chosen paths. This can be done by all schools in an area having a range of specialisms and then working together with their curriculum to ensure that they cater for the young people in their area. I know this happens in our area already, but could be greatly extended