• 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 logoIt’s a brand 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 A Levels with a focus on Creative Digital, Health and Child Care, and Business-related subjects, delivered through real commercial business based projects and linked to the world of work. In addition to their traditional learning, students also get professional work placements related to their studies or career aspirations. They gain a head start into careers by studying for recognised professional qualifications and certificates, and benefit from small class sizes.

DAES focuses on developing employability and life skills through work experience and work placements, providing intensive personal development and coaching, and has a close connection with local employers who are involved in all aspects of the curriculum.  Students spend a significant amount of time each week in unpaid and paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area.

Proposals to open the school were officially approved by the Department for Education in July 2012. The Studio initially opened within sister school Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) buildings, with its own dedicated learning space and access to all DACA’s award winning facilities. In September 2014 the Studio move 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 were all received a Good rating. In August 2016 students achieved a 100% pass rate at A Level. Student Kira Shaw did well in her GCSEs, and chose the Studio over other sixth form providers because of its unique specialist offer. With Distinctions in Business and Economics, and a Merit in Law, Kira has secured a place at Edge Hill University to study for a degree in Law. “I knew immediately that the Studio was the right place for me, especially as the course came with the opportunity for one day a week work experience in a legal firm. This helped to build my confidence, and gave me the skills I needed.”

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

Principal Ruth Bradbury