Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Job Well Done at School, Say Ofsted Inspectors; 'REAL WORLD' LEARNING AND FAMILY ATMOSPHERE ARE PRAISED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Job Well Done at School, Say Ofsted Inspectors; 'REAL WORLD' LEARNING AND FAMILY ATMOSPHERE ARE PRAISED

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH GRAHAM Reporter hannah.graham@trinitymirror.com @hannahgraham21

A NEWCASTLE school where every lesson aims to prepare students directly for the world of work has earned a 'Good' rating for the first time.

Studio West, in West Denton, Newcastle, opened on the same day as the troubled PS9m science school The Discovery School, which was forced to close after being hit by a litany of problems with teaching and pupil recruitment.

Both aimed to offer a practical, employment-focused approach to education. Although the Discovery School collapsed as an Ofsted report revealed gangs of "predatory" pupils uncontrolled by teachers, Studio West, founded on PS970,000, appears to have made a success of the model.

The 283-pupil school's first inspection report, in 2017, just over two years after it opened, labelled the school 'Requires Improvement', ordered to improve pupils' results and attendance.

This month, however, Studio West was handed a 'Good' Ofsted grade, with inspectors praising the "family" atmosphere and teaching tailored to individuals' needs.

As a small 'studio school', Studio West partners with more than 200 different companies to marry up its lessons with work experience and expertise from employers. During their GCSE years, students attend 12-week work placements, while students in years 7 and 8 focus on project-based learning, using subjects from across the curriculum in tandem. For principal Val Wigham, one of the reasons her school managed to avoid the pitfalls hit by the Discovery School was the early decision to extend entry from year 9 to year 7, which, she says, made pupil recruitment much easier, as teenagers no longer have to make the choice to leave a school they've already started studying at to take advantage of Studio West's unusual approach.

This work-focused outlook has begun to appeal to both parents and children, with the school now over-subscribed. …

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