S Tyne to pioneer job-based school

A NEW generation of school is on its way to South Tyneside, the Gazette can today reveal.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls yesterday announced the creation of six 'studio schools' for pupils expected to struggle academically.

Each school will cater for about 300 youngsters, aged 14 to 19, and offer an innovative curriculum involving practical learning and paid work.

The South Tyneside Studio, due to open in 2011, will have a specific focus on the health and public sectors.

Coun Jim Foreman, lead member for children and young people at South Tyneside Council, said: "The Studio will break new ground in the borough, offering an important new option for local young people who are better suited to a more practical approach to learning. It will play a central role in delivering our vision for education in South Tyneside, ensuring that young people in the borough have access to educational opportunities tailored to their individual needs and aspirations."

The South Tyneside Studio, and others in Blackpool, Newham and Oldham, will be modelled on pilot studio schools in Luton and Kirklees, which will open in September 2010.

It will take over the South Shields Community School site in McAnany Avenue, South Shields, when the school moves to new premises in Nevinson Avenue, South Shields, in 2011.

Students will take part in a range of enterprise activities, but will still leave with qualifications like GCSEs, A-levels and diplomas, enabling them to progress to apprenticeships, work, college and university.

Mr Balls said: "There are lots of students who will learn better through developing their natural interest in business or practical skills, rather than spending most of their time sitting in a traditional classroom."

The Studio Schools have been designed through the Studio Schools Trust by vocational education champions Edge and think-tank The Young Foundation.

They have worked on the South Tyneside Studio with South Tyneside Council, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside Primary Care Trust, who will offer work experience placements to pupils.