Students at Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio are today celebrating an impressive clutch of GCSE results, and two students in particular are over the moon with the impact that joining the Studio has had on their lives.
Ana Diaconu joined the innovative 13-19 mainstream school in Year 10 in 2015. She had just moved to the UK from Romania and spoke almost no English. In the two years since then she has become fluent in the language and studied hard, and has been rewarded with eight GCSEs including Grade 4s (formerly C) in maths, English and science, A Stars in graphic design and photography, and a Distinction in film and TV production.
Ana, 16, said “I was so lucky to find out about the Studio when I moved to Darwen. It is so different to the school I attended in Romania, and I think it is quite different from a lot of UK schools too. The family environment and small group sizes really helped with learning the language, and the opportunity to spend half of my time on creative options subjects meant that I could develop my skills and understanding to a really high level.”
Sol Grey joined the Studio in Year 10 at the same time as Ana. A very intelligent, creative and independent young man, he and his family had always believed that he would not be suited to a standard educational institution, and he had therefore been exclusively home educated until that point. The Studio offered something a bit different however, and Sol has thrived in the environment, achieving a Grade C or higher in all 8 of his GCSEs, including a Grade 7 (A) in English, an A Star in Photography and a Distinction in creative media production.
“I was very anxious about joining the Studio at first” says Sol, “but by the end of the first week I knew that it was the perfect place for me. It is more like a college than a school in the way that staff and students interact with one another, and the ethos of the school is very supportive of individuality. The smaller environment means that I was able to easily get additional support to catch up on curriculum areas that were new to me, and it also helped me to make friends really easily.”
Principal Ruth Bradbury said: “at the Studio, our slogan is “stand out, specialise, succeed” and Sol and Ana’s GCSE results, and their other achievements, are the absolute embodiment of that ethos. They are both incredibly talented and hard-working young people who joined us from slightly different backgrounds, and it has been an absolute pleasure to see them thrive. I am looking forward to welcoming them both back into our Sixth Form next week to continue their excellent work.”