US experts offer advice to East Durham school and college

VISIT: American delegates
VISIT: American delegates

AMERICAN delegates said howdy when they were on hand to pass on tips for a new education establishment.

The Academy at Shotton Hall and East Durham College were visited by an American delegation as the school and college set about creating a new studio school in Peterlee.

Staff from High Tech High in San Diego, USA, visited the new school, which will open in Peterlee in September next year.

The new school will be modelled on the High Tech High way of learning, which offers students the chance to work on real-life projects linked to the world of work.

The school, for 14 to 19-year-olds, was given the go-ahead by the Department for Education in April, and is now in the process of being developed in a special area of East Durham College.

Students at the Apollo Studio Academy will have the opportunity to work with local employers to gain vocational qualifications, while also gaining traditional qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels.

High Tech High is a highly successful US school where learning spans across the curriculum, often combining maths, English, science and art in a single project.

Staff and interns were here as part of a week-long tour of new studio schools, helping teachers to use the High Tech High model when designing the studio school curriculum.

Lesley Powell, principal at the Academy at Shotton Hall, which is jointly sponsoring the new school, said: “It was a great opportunity to have visitors from High Tech High here to inspire us as we develop our new school.

“We heard lots of innovative ideas and strategies, as well as many stories about the success of students when they learn in this way. We are confident that the Apollo Studio Academy will offer students an outstanding educational experience in East Durham and are busy finalising what will be an exciting and unique curriculum.”

East Durham College vice principal Sally Hudson said: “The college is delighted to be a partner in this new development for Peterlee.”