Plans to open a ‘studio school in Heanor have been dramatically ditched due to poor take up.
Derby College had planned to open the studio school in the old South East Derbyshire college building on Mundy Street, which was previously Heanor Grammar School in September.
But the college has said it has been forced to ditch the plan because the ‘numbers needed for the school to be financially viable were not met’.
The Digital Studio College was to have had a capacity for 300 young people aged 14 to 19.
However, the applications received for the Digital Studio College fell short of the Department of Education (DfE)target.
It means 16 year 9 students who had been due to study there will now have to take up options at their current schools. The college will now offer places to the 39 Year 11 students who were planning to start Year 12 at the Digital Studio College at its campus in Derby.
A spokeswoman said its Joseph Wright Centre A level and Creative Industries campus would expand its curriculum to include the specially-designed BTEC courses in computer programming and digital media that had been due to be taught at the Digital Studio College.
It would also continue to work with local and regional employers to combine college-based studies with weekly work experience placements to ‘boost students’ employability and skills’.
She said the year 9 pupils who had applied and had been made conditional offers and had been advised throughout to also choose options at their current schools until the DfE had confirmed the project.
The college’s advice and guidance team was now working with parents, the local authorities and individual schools to support those pupils to remain in their current school.
College group director of teaching and learning Matt Bromley, who had stepped in as the digital studio college principal designate in January, said: “We are disappointed that the demand for the school was insufficient to enable it to be viable at this time.
“There is always a risk attached to setting up new provision and we understand that some parents and students are reluctant to be the first to join – preferring instead to see how the first year or two goes.
“However, I am delighted that the hard work we have done has meant that the post-16 courses and work placement programmes will continue at the Joseph Wright Centre in Derby - which has state-of-the-art technology to support these pioneering courses - and I’m pleased to be involved helping set this provision up.
The college owns the Heanor site and says it will now look at what should happen there.
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“We are now working closely with everyone involved including the students who applied for a place at the school - as well as their parents and the local schools who offered us their support - in order to ensure the young people are supported in their future school plans.”
Derby College Chief Executive Mandie Stravino concluded: “Although the news is disappointing, we recognise the reasons behind the decision and I was particularly pleased that the DfE cited recognition of the proactive work that had been done by Derby College Education Trust to progress these plans.
“We are still committed to supporting young people and employers with the computer programming and digital media skills that we know will be in increasing demand over the coming years.
“I am therefore delighted that the College itself will be providing these cutting edge skills at our city centre campus for students aged 16 and over.”
Studio Schools have been developed by the Studio Schools Trust, in partnership with the Department for Education, and local and national education providers and employers. HRHThe Duke of York is the Royal Patron of the Studio Schools Trust.
Studio Schools are mainstream state schools for 14-19 year olds of all abilities, which seek to address the growing gap between what young people require to succeed in life, and the skills and knowledge that the current education system provides. There are currently 16 Studio Schools open across England.