Plans for a new Studio School in Darwen have moved a step closer to reality following the sign off of plans by the Department for Education (DfE) and the appointment of a Principal Designate.
The green light has been given to the Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio (DAES) school for the purchase and renovation of the new school building in the heart of Darwen. The innovative, professional learning environment will be based in the currently empty Model Lodging House on Police Street, Darwen. The renovation project will create a modern, technologically advanced learning space and will now be subject to a local planning approval process.
The Studio School is planned to open this September, initially within the existing Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) buildings, with its own dedicated learning space and access to all of the great facilities DACA has to offer.
New Principal Designate Ruth Bradbury, an experienced teacher and education leader, who most recently worked as Director of Finance and Business Development for DACA, has recently been appointed to head up the new Studio School.
For students aged between 14 and 19 years old, the Studio School will offer mainstream qualifications, delivered through real commercial business-based projects, and linked to the world of work. In addition to GCSEs, students will undertake specialised learning in the areas of business (including finance and law), and creative digital technology. They will also have the opportunity to study for additional industry-standard qualifications.
The Studio School is sponsored by educational charity the Aldridge Foundation, who also sponsor DACA. The Studio School approach is designed especially to help young people to be ready for the working world once they have finished their studies, and a wide range of local employers – including Crown Paints, Capita and Graham and Brown –have already pledged their support.
Ruth Bradbury, Principal Designate, said: “We are delighted to be seeing such great progress and interest locally for the Studio School. We are currently consulting with the local community – including parents, young people and local businesses and finding that our education offer is really resonating. The aim of our school’s curriculum is to develop young people who can thrive as individuals and make a difference to their communities. The curriculum will also develop the employability and life skills, which will improve their future opportunities.
“We’ve worked with lots of local parents, and young people, and have listened really carefully to their views and suggestions for the Studio. We’re delighted to have the go-ahead for the new building. It’s a historic site, rooted in the town, and for it to be the home for our new local hub for creative learning is very fitting and really exciting. We’re continuing to play a big part in the regeneration of the historic town centre, whilst creating the next generation of business and creative leaders in Darwen.”
Sir Rod Aldridge, Chairman of The Aldridge Foundation, said: “The Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio school is a unique opportunity to meet the needs of local young people and to contribute to the regeneration of the area. It will build on the remarkable progress made by Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, its entrepreneurial culture and the strong links it has forged with a wide range of employers. Our Principal Designate Ruth Bradbury has been an integral part of DACA’s success and will ensure that the Enterprise Studio delivers academic excellence and high quality skills in sectors that have been identified as key to the growth of the local economy and future jobs.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the new Studio School can visit www.daestudio.biz, email firstname.lastname@example.org , call 01254 819567, or attend one of our Information Evenings. These are:-
• Tuesday 19th March, at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy – 6.00-8.00 pm.
• Sunday 24th March at Blackburn Youth Zone – 5.30-8.00 pm.
A Section 10 Consultation is underway in relation to entering into a funding agreement with the DfE, You can take part via http://www.daca.uk.com/daessection10