Cowes Enterprise College looking to offer more vocational courses

Ofsted warned the Studio School could impact pupil numbers at Cowes Enterprise College (which lost pupils to the school), but Cllr Brading says the latest decision by CEC’s sponsor was made before proposals to close the Studio School surfaced.

Cowes Enterprise College

More vocational courses could be offered at Cowes Enterprise College as it seeks to forge closer ties with local industry.

The college is applying for grant funding which, if successful, could see students offered day release work placements, as well as opportunities to study courses such as marine engineering and hospitality.

Uncertain future for Studio School
The news comes as the Isle of Wight Studio School in East Cowes faces an uncertain future due to a lack of demand.

The school opened in 2014 offering 14 to 19 year olds work placements alongside academic and vocational qualifications linked to local industry.

It now looks likely to close next year, subject to a decision by the regional schools commissioner.

Ofsted warned about impact
Even before the studio school opened, the education watchdog Ofsted warned it could impact on pupil numbers at Cowes Enterprise College.

In 2016, the college saw its funding cut by £122,000 as it lost pupils to the school.

Decision prior to Studio School closure plans
The Isle of Wight Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Paul Brading, said the college’s latest decision to adopt a more vocational approach was made before the studio school announced its potential closure.

Cllr Brading said:

“There are some really good practices at the studio school that we would like to see continued across the whole Island.

“We’d like to see more schools with an approach that helps people get into education and employment.

“Cowes Enterprise College is a forward thinking school and they have good ideas about how they can do things better. This approach is something they were looking at doing anyway.”

Developing specialist vocational courses
A spokesperson for the Ormiston Academies Trust, the body which runs Cowes Enterprise College, said:

“We are committed to ensuring all our students fulfil their potential and leave the school as confident young people able to thrive in the work place.

“Providing high-quality careers education and a range of academic and vocational routes for students is an important part of that.

“A high proportion of CEC’s students study academic subjects, but we consider it just as important students have the choice of strong vocational routes if that is in their best interests.

“As a result, we are in the early stages of applying for a small amount of funding to extend the academy’s offer in this area.

“If successful, the funding would expand our Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance offering to engage students from Year 7 onwards and to build deep links with employers — allowing us to provide meaningful and rewarding work experience opportunities for all our students.

“The funding would also enable us to develop specialist vocational courses for students, in maritime engineering and hospitality. These would build on our existing strengths as a school, help address skills gaps on the island, and encourage more young women to study engineering.

“We are committed to improving educational outcomes for children on the Isle of Wight and we work closely with other education providers and the wider business community to this end.”

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The worrying trend here is that everyone is concentrating on “vocational” (non-academic) education – CEC, HTP, CECAMM, Studio School (dec.). What are we doing about the next generation of engineers (as opposed to technicians), medics, lawyers and the many vital professions who all need to be able to read, write and do sums? Have we given up on basic education, or is it just that it is… Read more »

At CECAMM, literacy and numeracy are both addressed diligently! A young family member is attending there and attention to this is not just lip service….