Innovative Teaching Excites Studio School Students

Date: February 24th 2014

Advanced 3D drawing pens are just one of the innovative teaching and learning resources that are being used at Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio school, which opened in September 2013.

The 3D “doodlers” were seen in this country on Blue Peter late last year and really caught the imagination of Studio Vice Principal Colin Grand. “When I saw them on the web based funding forum Kickstarter and also Blue Peter I thought that they were perfect for our innovative approach to using the latest technologies in teaching and learning, keeping our students at the cutting edge of what’s new and exciting” said graphic design expert Colin.

The 3D pens are the hand held equivalent of 3D printers, allowing freehand modelling and drawing in three dimensions. Students at the studio school have used the pens to create 3D versions of 2D images including typefaces, paintings and portraits. Year 10 student Shannon Adams from Darwen said “The pens have made me able to visualise and prototype ideas from my sketchbook and give a different dimension for my projects “.

Year 10 students at the Enterprise Studio take GCSE  qualifications in English, Maths and Science, with the option to study History or Geography.   In addition to this, they choose from our specialist Business or Creative pathway.

The Business Pathway options includes GCSE Business studies, GCSE Law, GCSE Business Communication Systems, GCSE ICT and GCSE Photography. The Creative Pathway GCSE Graphic Art, GCSE Photography, GCSE Media Studies, GCSE ICT and GCSE Business studies.

Year 12 students will choose from three pathways which are based upon the school’s speciaisms –

Business Pathway: A Level Business Studies, A Level Law, A Level ICT.

Creative Pathway: A Level Graphic Art, A Level Photography, A Level Media Studies.

Creative Enterprise: A Level Business studies, A Level Graphic Art, A Level Photography.

What will it be like?

The Enterprise Studio offers a very different kind of environment to a ‘traditional’ school, with an extra focus on readying students for the world of work. Youngsters in all year groups spend time with employers and students have done work placements in firms, including Crown Paints and Capita, as well as smaller companies such as Ewood Bikes, Pamela’s Cafe, Jackson Designer Clothes Shop and Earnsdale Farm.

Sixteen-year-old Year 12 student Sarah-Jane Singleton has been working at Blackburn marketing firm MDA.

She said: “It is what I want to do when I leave school so I have learned some really useful skills that will help me in my career. I have really enjoyed working there.”

Abbey Almond, 14, has been working at East Lancashire Hospice, helping patients with arts and crafts.

She said: “There are better opportunities for me here than there would be at high school as I am more of a creative person.”

Year 12 student Curtis Godber said he had been on placement at Capita TV Licensing in India Mill and, although it wasn’t linked to what he planned to do as a career, it was an invaluable experience.

He said: “I spend eight hours a day working as a call centre agent, and I get paid. It gives me an insight into working life.”

James Hull, 14, of Anyon Street, wants to join the Army when he leaves school and has been one of three youngsters working at The Loft gym.

He said: “It has been interesting seeing how the business operates besides the basic gym facilities, as there is a lot of paperwork and other stuff involved.” Enterprise Studio principal Ruth Bradbury said the new way of teaching was essential and provided youngsters with the vital employability skills they needed once they finished school.

She said: “There are two types of placement, really – one that gives an experience of the workplace and, in some cases, a salary, and one that gives an insight into the particular career the child wishes to pursue.”

Helen Knowles, director of employer engagement at the studio, said students also received a full-time coach who guided them on their journey through school, and helped them to build their CV.

News archive