Classes begin at pioneering Newcastle school Studio West

A new school in West Denton aimed at bridging the gap from classroom to career finally opens its doors

Tony McPhillips (Muckle LLP), Val Wigham (Studio West) and Joanne Davison (Muckle LLP)
Tony McPhillips (Muckle LLP), Val Wigham (Studio West) and Joanne Davison (Muckle LLP)

A pioneering new school opens its doors in Newcastle today as its first academic year gets under way.

Inspired by High Tech High in California, Studio West in West Denton guarantees students who complete their education there a place at university, a job or an apprenticeship.

The environment, which is designed to be more like a workplace than a school, will have close links to the North East business community and will run a curriculum including real life projects set by companies.

The new “enterprise and entrepreneurial” Studio West is one of 13 specialist schools developed by the Studio Schools’ Trust, Department for Education (DfE), local and national education providers and employers and forms parts of Kenton Academy Trust.

In April, Accenture boss Bob Paton was appointed chairman of governors.

Working in partnership with businesses such as Accenture, Aspire Technology Solutions, the Theatre Royal, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and Newcastle City Council, the school has capacity for 310 students who will learn in both classroom and work-based environments.

More than 50% of the curriculum will be practical, work-based projects, created in conjunction with the real partner companies it is working with.

The Education Team at law firm Muckle LLP advised on legal aspects of establishing Kenton Schools Academy Trust.

Val Wigham, principal designate of Studio West, said: “Knowing that Muckle were on hand gave me the confidence to forge ahead.”

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