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The Corporation

Posted: 20/11/14

Studio school rolls out the red carpet for Lord Bilimoria

A pioneering new school in Mansfield, which is training 14 to 19-year-olds, was given the VIP treatment this week (18 November 2014).

  • Dame Asha Khemka, Andy Campbell and Lord Bilimoria
  • Health and social care students Sarah Skeavington and Lauren Bills show Lord Bilimoria the science lab equipment
  • Lord Bilimoria is the national ambassador for studio schools
  • Lord Bilimoria tries the Smartboard technology with tutor Rob Penn and health and social care student Sarah Skeavington
  • Lord Bilimoria with engineering student Jessica Singleton in the learning resource centre
  • Students enjoyed hearing about 'The Cobra Story' detailing Lord Bilimoria's success
  • Students from Vision Studio School and West Nottinghamshire College and thanked Lord Bilimoria for his visit

Vision Studio School, which welcomed its first students in September, is the first studio school in Nottinghamshire to begin its curriculum for 125 new students, and it was officially opened by Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, DL.

Lord Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer Partnership Limited and the National Studio Schools Ambassador, met with local employers who are working with the studio school to provide project-based learning and work placements for students in engineering and transport and health and social care.

He unveiled a commemorative plaque to officially open the school and joined principal of the school, Andy Campbell, on a tour of the new facilities, along with Dame Asha Khemka who is the chair of the school and principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College – the official sponsor of the studio school.

Students who are studying at the school enjoyed Lord Bilimoria’s presentation of the ‘Cobra story’ which highlights his success as an entrepreneur and businessman, and were joined by West Nottinghamshire College students.

Learners, who are in their first term at the studio school, are taught the same core academic subjects as traditional schools but combine these with vocational qualifications that will be delivered through project-based learning and work placements linked to local employment opportunities.

It plans to launch its first work placements before Christmas, once each student has completed a specially-tailored work-related learning programme to prepare them for the workplace.

The programmes of learning are designed to bridge the gap between education and employment and is being supported by many local employers from small and medium-sized enterprises to large public and private sector organisations who will mentor students through masterclass sessions and the regular work placement.

Lord Bilimoria said: “I’m really impressed by what I’ve seen at the studio school. The classrooms and workshops are absolutely buzzing and the students are clearly enjoying it here.

“This is a new form of education that will bring huge benefits to Britain’s future. Not only are studio schools providing a learning experience offering the core subjects like maths, science and English, but the students here are getting ‘work-ready’ and they’re experiencing real work.

“This school has the advantage of being linked to West Nottinghamshire College and the University of Nottingham, which means the students will get academic support from both organisations.  After just two months of study, these students are thriving in this fantastic facility and showing new confidence.”

Current employer partners who are on board with the studio school include Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, Enable Care and Home Support, Lindhurst Engineering Ltd, Linney Print, DB Schenker, Mansfield District Council, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham City Transport and the University of Nottingham.

The studio school is situated at West Nottinghamshire College’s former Chesterfield Road campus, which has undergone a £1.1 million refurbishment to provide a ‘technology-rich’ 21st century learning environment including classrooms boasting multimedia equipment, interactive TVs, computer-aided design (CAD) systems and 3D scanners and printers.