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The Corporation

Posted: 09/09/13

Studio school’s new chief outlines “bold new approach” to learning

An educationalist with almost two decades’ teaching experience has been appointed to the top job at Nottinghamshire’s first-ever studio school.

Andy Campbell has been named principal-designate of Vision Studio School, which will be the only school of its type in the county when it open its doors in September 2014 following approval by the Department for Education earlier this year.

Studio schools are a new type of state school for 14 to 19 year-olds of all abilities that aim to bridge the gap between education and employment.

They teach the national curriculum and the same core GCSE subjects as traditional schools along with vocational qualifications, but deliver these through project-based learning and work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area.

Sponsored by West Nottinghamshire College, Vision Studio School will cater for students from year 10 upwards and will specialise in engineering and transportation, and health and care occupations. Smaller than most mainstream secondary schools, it will eventually provide places for up to 300 students.

The school will be based at the college’s Chesterfield Road campus, which will be fully- refurbished and equipped with the latest technology, and will operate a 9am to 5pm ‘working day’ to mirror that of many workplaces.

Employers already on board include Bridgeway Consulting Ltd, DB Schenker, Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham.

As well as preparing students for the workplace, the studio school will also enable progression to university-level study.

Mr Campbell, who started in the job today (Monday 9 September 2013), set out his immediate priorities as recruiting highly-qualified teaching staff, planning the curriculum, working with employer partners to design projects to aid students’ employability and creating work placements.

He said: “I’m excited by the prospect of establishing Vision Studio School as a distinctive and outstanding educational experience for 14 to 19-year-olds, combining academic and vocational qualifications with employability skills.

“I believe Mansfield and the surrounding area will benefit from a different type of school that offers a bold new approach to learning.  Engaging students in regular work experience and in projects designed and delivered by employers will equip them with the skills and qualifications to secure a bright future.

“It’s vital we prepare our young people for making a positive transition from education to employment and the studio school aims to do exactly that.”

Asha Khemka OBE, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College, said: “I’m delighted we have appointed somebody of Andy’s talent, experience and passion for giving young people the best-possible opportunity to achieve their full potential.

“Andy knows Mansfield very well indeed, having worked in local schools for almost 20 years; and is ideally-placed to ensure the studio school is a high-quality, viable alternative to traditional schools and academies in preparing students for the world of work or higher education.”

Mr Campbell, 42, began his career in education in the mid-nineties, starting as a maths teacher at the former Manor Comprehensive School – now the Manor Academy – in Mansfield Woodhouse.

In 2001 he moved to Mansfield’s Brunts School – now The Brunts Academy – as head of maths.  The married father-of-two climbed the ranks to become senior deputy headteacher – a position he held until his appointment at Vision Studio School.

Meanwhile, the college has launched a consultation to give residents, parents, carers, headteachers and employers the chance to learn more about the studio school and give their views.

As part of this, an information evening will take place at its Derby Road campus in Mansfield on Wednesday 18 September for people to discuss the plans with Mr Campbell and college staff. It will be held from 6 - 8pm on a drop-in basis, with no need to pre-book.

People can also have their say by:

The consultation closes on 18 October 2013.