More studio schools announced

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New Studio Schools are set to open from September 2014 – backed by more than 100 major national and local employers.

Studio Schools allow 14- to 19-year-olds to study academic subjects through practical projects designed and delivered by employers. Pupils combine core GCSEs and vocational qualifications with real work experience at places like the UK Space Agency – for those aged 16 or over this is up to two days and usually paid.  Most Studio Schools operate longer days and terms, mirroring the workplace.

The Studio School projects have all been approved to move to pre-opening stage and will be situated across England. Pupils in Studio Schools will study core GCSEs alongside vocational qualifications. This should enable them to leave with the knowledge, skills and attitude to work that employers demand. The projects approved today will specialise in a range of subjects including business, retail, ICT, marine manufacturing, engineering and digital technologies and will cater for around 4,000 young people.

The total number of this new breed of schools, which mix academic studies with work-based training, now stands at more than 40.

About 14,000 students will go to them in total. All will offer GCSEs in English, maths and science, the government says, as well as A-levels and vocational qualifications, but will offer a more practical way of learning.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said: "More employers are getting involved in studio schools, demonstrating their commitment to preparing young people - who will be their future employees - for the world of work.

"It is crucial for young people to have the skills and experience vital to employers, both for their own prosperity and to help us compete in the global race."

Chairman of the Studio Schools Trust Geoff Mulgan said: "Young people learn better when they're tackling real life problems, and they learn better when there's a clear line of sight linking what they do in school to future jobs and careers.

"Studio Schools are becoming a movement whose goal couldn’t be more important:  to make the most of otherwise wasted potential, and connect learning to the very best of science and enterprise in all its forms."

The schools are similar to University Technical Colleges (UTCs), which are also for young people aged from 14, and part of the government's strategy to improve vocational training.

But teaching unions have attacked them, saying they are adding unnecessary diversity to the education system and forcing children to make important life-decisions at too young an age.

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