• A member of the Aldridge Education multi-academy trust
  • 300 13 – 19 year old students when at full capacity
  • Sector focus – Business & Law; Creative Digital Media; Health, Social & Child Care
  • Weekly work placements alongside studies in KS4 & 5

The Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio School (DAES) opened in September 2013, providing a new, exciting and professional way to learn for students in Lancashire.

Ofsted Good Rating badgeIt is a new type of school for young people aged 13-19 of all abilities, that focuses on professional learning, work experience, and life skills.

The school offers GCSEs and post-16 qualifications, with a focus on Creative Digital Media, Technical Digital, Health, Social and Child Care, and Business-related subjects. These are delivered through real commercial business based projects and linked to the world of work. In addition to their traditional learning, students also gain access to professional work placements which are related to their studies or career aspirations. They gain a head start into careers by studying for recognised professional qualifications and certificates while benefitting from learning in small classes.

Proposals to open the school were officially approved by the Department for Education in July 2012. The Studio initially opened within the buildings of its sister school, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), where it had its own dedicated learning space as well as access to all of DACA’s award winning facilities. In September 2014 the Studio moved to purpose designed new facilities in the former Model Lodging House on Police Street. The site underwent a £4.1m refurbishment and extension to transform the historic building into a state of the art 21st century school.

In April 2015 Ofsted rated DAES “Good”. The quality of teaching, the achievement of students, the performance of the sixth form, behaviour and safety of students, and leadership and management of the school all received a Good rating.

August 2017 saw some significant personal successes when students received their results from the summer exams. When Ana Diaconu, for example, joined DAES in year 10, she had only just moved to the UK from Romania and spoke almost no English. However, in just two short years Ana became fluent in the language and achieved 8 GCSE’s, including in maths, English and science, as well as an A* 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 subjects meant that I could develop my skills and understanding to a really high level.”

In May 2018 Colin Grand was appointed the Studio School’s new Principal, succeeding Ruth Bradbury on her appointment at UTC@MediaCityUK. Exam results in August 2018 saw a 100% A-Level pass rate with 40% of all results at top Distinction or A* – B grades.

Read what parents say about the Studio and the difference it makes for its students.

Principal Colin Grand