College chiefs apply to open studio school in Brighton

Posted On 21 Jun 2013 at 2:30 pm

City College Brighton and Hove plans to open the first studio school in the area in just over two years’ time.

Principal Lynn Thackway shared the plans for the new school with an audience of people from the worlds of business, education and politics this afternoon (Friday 21 June).

The school, to be known as The Hive, will cater for up to 300 students from 14 to 19 years old and specialise in creative and digital media.

The aim is to use a building in the centre of Brighton, ideally one which is underused at present and reached easily by public transport.

City College has been modernising its Whitehawk campus in Wilson Avenue and hopes to redevelop its Pelham Street campus. These plans will free up space in and around Pelham Street.

Lynn Thackway

Lynn Thackway

The college also has a site in Preston Road and  is expected to move its plumbing courses from there to another site in Brighton.

The BBC, Channel 4 and Reuters are among more than a dozen employers to have already signed up as supporters of the planned studio school. Other supporters include Wired Sussex, the universities and Latest TV.

Mrs Thackway said that studio schools were a new type of school which were more vocational and encouraged enterprise although they retained a strong focus on core academic skills.

They are aimed at tackling the growing gap between the skills and knowledge that young people need to succeed and those provided by the current education system.

They operate from 9am to 5pm and focus on teaching through real work and business projects.

Mrs Thackway set up the first national pilot studio school in 2007 when she worked at the Barnfield Federation in Luton.

Barnfield Studio School opened full-time in 2010 and is now known as the Barnfield Skills Academy.

She said: “It might not be right for every pupil but there are many benefits.

“It’s dynamic. It’s creative. It’s work-related but it still covers the core curriculum. A studio school would offer diversity that isn’t available in the city already.

“We’ve got a vibrant digital media sector here.

“We will be encouraging employers to get our students involved in their businesses rather than us giving them fictitious projects.

“Brighton just seemed to have the right climate for a studio school. There’s a shortage of school places. It’s affecting  primary schools now but it will affect secondary schools within a few years.

“We’ve got children who are underachieveing for a number of reasons. This sort of school offers a different way of learning that’s been successful elsewhere and suits this sort of city.

“In Brighton we’ve got a critical mass of people who are open to new ideas.”

If ministers approve the proposal, the new school could open its doors in September 2015.


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