Following the opening of the most recent Studio School in Burnley, there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the future of education in Britain. Heralded by their supporters as a potential saviour for British business, studio schools are certainly causing momentum in the world of education and work respectively.
Studio Schools, for those who are unfamiliar with the concept, are small educational institutions which take on children between the ages of 14 and 19 and aim to prepare their students more thoroughly for the world of work. Open between 9 – 5 and offering a range of vocational and academic courses, as well as offering paid work placements, studio schools have been developed in order to take on students to whom the traditional education model are less suited – offering them the opportunity to take courses that could greatly enhance their future prospects.
Although critics fear that qualifications obtained in this environment may be less desirable and will lead to disadvantages for graduates of these schemes, and there have been a number of objections based around the confusion in terms of marking schemes and the “worth” of a qualification, those who run the schools argue that those who leave studio schools will be in a much better position to gain meaningful employment and they will still be able to go on to university and other further education institutions.
The schools are run privately in part and the curriculum has been devised by education experts, employers and government officials in order to create a “skills framework” which they claim will leave each student with “a broad range of employability and life skills”
Employers are largely backing the development of these schools, and many have come out in favour of the scheme. Jonathon England, director at Peel Energy commented: “We look forward to working with the Studio School to help provide future employers with young people from the community in which we both operate.” Similarly, Purvis Ali who is commercial manager at Acrington Stanley said; “We believe it will help improve the life chances of many of the young people in the borough”
Members of the government have also praised the move. Speaking at the opening of a studio school in Acrington, Lord Hill commented:
“In a broad sense it helps bring work and learning closer together; we are looking to prepare young people for the world of work. For young people, it will benefit those who learn better in a more practically-based environment, but GCSEs remain part of the mix. Local sponsors…are passionate about the ability to offer a different kind of education which gives children and parents more choice…I think it’s more likely we will get children leaving school with the skills employers want”
Obviously, with such a new scheme it is difficult to tell how successful these schools will be, but there is certainly a buzz surrounding the movement and authorities and businesses are being encouraged to come forward with applications to open schools for the 2013 academic year.