All systems go for new studio school

Derby College Principal Mandie Stravino
Derby College Principal Mandie Stravino

Young people and their families will be invited to have their say on the curriculum on offer at Derbyshire’s first studio school in Heanor in September.

The £4.5 million Derby College digital studio school, set for the site of the former Heanor Grammar School on Mundy Street, is set to be the first in Derbyshire when it opens in September 2014.

And young folk interested in attending the school when it opens can help shape the facilities and curriculum on offer there by attending Derbyshire Skills Festival at Pride Park in Derby, on September 18 and 19, where Derby College staff will be on hand to gather feedback from potential future pupils.

Derby College chief executive Mandie Stravino said: “We received overwhelming support during our consultation processes from young people, parents and the community but we were particularly inspired by the levels of commitment and pledges of support shown from over 100 employers.

“We now look forward to talking to young people and their families at the Skills Festival to get their input into the facilities and activities that will be included in the curriculum, which will be finalised over the coming months in preparation for the studio school opening next September.”

Refurbishment of the site will start “imminently”, according to Derby College bosses, now that funding has been secured by the Department for Education and Skills Funding Agency. The school is set to welcome 300 students aged between 14 and 19 years old, combining mainstream qualifications including GCSEs and A-Levels with vocational qualifications in IT and ‘digital technologies’ linked to the world of work.

Students will spend time each week in work placements with employers and community organisations to get a taste for the world of work.

Ms Stravino added: “Our employment landscape is changing globally and our vision for the digital studio college is to be a catalyst to create significant life chances for young people in Derbyshire.”

David Nicoll, Chief Executive of the Studio Schools Trust, added: “Studio schools are playing a vital role in equipping young people with the skills and experience that they need to succeed in a competitive jobs market, through combining qualifications with real experience of the world of work.

“Employers are keen to help prepare young people for the workplace, and studio schools allow them to get involved in all aspects of school life - from designing the curriculum and delivering masterclasses, to providing paid work placements and mentoring students.

“The school will play an important role in shaping the future workforce across the region and providing new opportunities for young people as well as improving their employment prospects.”

Derbyshire Skills Festival is a county council organised careers fair set for Wednesday and Thursday, September 18 and 19 at Pride Park. Doors will open at 3.30pm and several sixth forms, colleges, apprenticeship providers and employers will be on hand to chat until 8pm.

Who will be there?

Sixth forms, colleges, apprenticeship providers and employers will be at Pride Park stadium to chat to. Here’s a full list o