Well what a start!


We have had an incredibly busy, exciting and productive first few weeks at the Studio School.

Our new Year 10s were rudely awakened from their summer rest with a very active induction.

Students began with communication workshops; they created a new School Charter; and worked on their first innovative project with those they had just met. Things only got busier as the week progressed with a ‘dress to impress’ clinic led by entrepreneur Dee Becker; trips to go out keel boating with UKSA whilst others visited the Classic Boat museum to experience the rich maritime heritage as well as being tasked with a new challenge – to offer a serious and significant contribution to the progression of the centre into a modern visitor attraction – most exciting!

The baseline assessment, using an online IQ test, was approached positively by all and has helped staff to make initial decisions about best placing students into sets. Taster sessions in academic core and additional subjects along with vocational course experiences have seen the group heading off to the engineering and manufacturing IOW College centre, CECAMM, or staying at school for Health and Social Care, and Media Studies.

We ended week one with a very simple, somewhat challenging but highly enjoyable, five mile ramble together along the banks of the Medina. What was really wonderful was watching and listening to the groups of students chatting away as they all got to know each other.

Week two began with students attending lessons and the start of their important academic studies. However, additional activities included our now famous ‘shake hands workshop’ with businessman Barry Thorpe.

On Wednesday 13 September we held our very first ‘Careers Speed Meeting’ event. This included over thirty businessmen and women from a plethora of companies and organisations who had volunteered to spend the day with us to offer advice, guidance and tell their stories about the journey they had followed. It really was most inspiring. I know many students found the experience incredibly useful. The IOW High Sheriff, Ben Rouse, congratulated students on their interest and engagement, whilst the Chairman of the Island’s Business Education Partnership, Nick Haywood, encouraged our learners to fully embrace the opportunities presented to them at this and other important school organised events.

Thursday involved a good proportion of Yr10 students participating in off-site activities to support their vocational interest. The engineers visited the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) centre in Portsmouth whilst members of the media group muscled into the production tent of the BBC as they filmed the Antiques Roadshow at Osborne House.

The week ended with the start of the vocational courses at school and at CECAMM followed by the diverse range of activities opted for on the Enrichment Programme. These included baking, design and build, dance aerobics and photography at school; health and fitness at Medina Leisure Centre; football at Queensgate AstroTurf; and sailing at UKSA.


So, if that wasn’t enough, this Thursday heralded the annual visit to the Southampton International Boat Show. Again, a wonderful chance to practise the communication skills students have been refining and further develop the ability to engage in very adult conversations about future opportunities and experience the business diversity on display. Of course, we will also get to go on a few multi-million pound boats, which is quite an eye-opener!

The Isle of Wight Day will be celebrated on Friday for the schools of East Cowes. Many of our students will be chaperones for the primary school children who will walk to Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, picnic and then sing sea shanty songs together before heading off to their respective schools. Our role is to support, buddy and help manage the travel plan which will be quite a challenge with over 600 youngsters involved.


Finally, a head’s up on forthcoming events include:

  • The IOW Marine Industries Careers Fair at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes on Thursday 28 September. Only in its second year, the exhibitors include engineering and manufacturing companies, high technological and IT driven organisations, as well as a host of broad and varied marine-related Post-16 course providers.
  • During the Thursday afternoon at school, for those not attending the marine fair, we will host the Alter Ego Creative Theatre Group presenting a workshop entitled ‘Crashing’. This is a hard-hitting but most valuable production that highlights the issues of child exploitation and sexual grooming. Further details will be issued by letter to parents.
  • The McMillan Coffee Morning in aid of Cancer Research, UK – you are all most welcome to drop on Friday 29 September between 10am and 12 noon for a drink and homemade cakes. There will also be a number of stalls and a raffle so we encourage you to bring a few extra coins to help us raise money for a very good cause.
  • CV Writing and Interview Preparation Session on Monday 2 October will be led by the Solent Education and Business Partnership. The day will include a number of workshops led by visiting specialists in recruitment and human resources.
  • As part of the Isle of Wight Literary Festival for schools programme, we will be hosting performances and workshops by a range of authors, on Thursday 12 October. Some of the headlines for Yea 10 and 11 students are spoken word artist ‘Adam Gaterall’ and the renowned spoken word performer ‘Sara Hirsch’.
  • A Year 10 Parents Welcome Evening will be held on Wednesday 18 October and will be an opportunity for our new parents to come in and meet the team, find out more about school life and ask any questions. More information will be sent out in due course.

We are adding events by the day, increasing the range in the hope that there is something for everyone.  To keep up with the current timetable of events, check out our Events page on the website http://iowstudioschool.co.uk/events/


It has been great to see so many students throwing themselves into the varied opportunities put on for them in true Studio School fashion.  They are truly becoming pilots of their own destinies.

Richard White


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