The fight to save an Isle of Wight school was taken to the steps of County Hall this week.
Angry parents, students and councillors took their battle to the corridors of power with a protest ahead of Wednesday’s full Isle of Wight Council meeting.
Inspire Academy Trust claims the school is not financially viable, but parents — and even its head teacher — believe the school has a future.
Parent: “Mainstream school is not for all children”
Parent Andrea Grieve has one son at the school and her middle son was due to start in September.
“Since joining the school in Year 10, he was failing to thrive.
“He was at the lowest of the low due to bullying issues at his previous school.
“Academically he had coasted for three years, he hadn’t made any progress at all.
“The Studio School embraced all of his skills which were very practical — he’s a very practical learner.
“Mainstream school is not for all children. GCSEs in many subjects are not everything.”
Cllr Love: ““We are not after any money”
East Cowes ward councillor Karl Love said the school provided a different type of education for young people.
“What we really need to hear from this council is they support and they encourage the school.
“We are not after any money; we don’t need any money because this is a high performing school with a huge amount of support from the Chamber of Commerce and from the technology group of the Isle of Wight.
“But what we need is for this council to send a message to government saying please give this school the opportunity — a bit longer, a bit more time to stay open, to adapt and change.”
Student: “Studio School is a great experience for me”
Year 11 student Jake Miller said:
“It’s the only school on the Island that does things differently so I think it would be a real shame for it to shut down.
“My school wasn’t made for someone like me, I wanted to do things and get out there and that’s why the Studio School is a great experience for me.
“Since I started at the school I’ve got a job, I’ve got countless hours of experience. I’ve also done a college course and I’ve learnt how to properly snowboard as well.”
Years 10 and 11 nearly full
The campaign was started by parents Amy Lockwood and Sharon Lake.
“It’s immensely important we keep this school on the Island. This is a very different school to what we normally have on the Isle of Wight.”
“I think it’s really important to understand that although the trust is saying the school isn’t supported by families on the Island that’s not the case — Years 10 and 11 are nearly full.
“A lot who were coming into the school in September have had siblings go through the school. The fact parents are prepared to send second and third children to this shows they are positive about it.”
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed