One year on: Official opening marks anniversary of Bicester’s new Studio School

On Friday 23 June, Bicester Technology Studio (BTS) celebrated its first year of opening.

The school, which opened to Year 10 and Year 12 students in September, was officially opened by Victoria Prentis MP, along with representatives from the governing body and several employer partners.

Victoria said: “I was delighted to open the new Bicester Technology Studio and have the opportunity to meet staff and students.

“It is really important that young people have access to a wide range of educational resources, and are able to choose a learning pathway that suits them best. Technological and employability skills are vital in our ever changing economy, particularly as we begin the process of leaving the EU.

“The school offers pupils a wide range of interesting, and highly skilled opportunities, which will set them up for their future careers.

“I look forward to visiting the school again in the near future.”

Following the official ceremony, the school held an event for students and parents to join staff, governors and employers in celebrating the success of their first year with a barbecue and showcase of the students’ work and achievements.

BTS offers students a unique learning experience through smaller class sizes, a business-like dress code and environment, practical lessons and an emphasis on independent study. The school’s aim is to equip students with the transferable skills they need to be successful in the workplace when they leave education.

Mason Smith, a Year 10 student, said: “Since I’ve come to this school I’ve learnt practical skills, how to present myself to larger audiences and I’ve become more confident. We’re given a lot of independence, so I’ve become more independent with my work and productive with my time management.”

Kate Scotford, a Year 12 student, commented: “The small classes at BTS are really helpful because there’s more one-on-one time with the teachers. It’s especially useful in the difficult subjects because it’s so easy to ask questions when you need to. We also have two-hour lessons, which means we get a lot done in each lesson and everything feels more grown-up.”

With a focus on preparing young people for future employment, BTS offers students the opportunity to take part in work experience placements on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Since the school opened last September, students have completed work experience with a range of companies including BMW MINI, John Radcliffe Hospital, Michael Kors, Espresso Architecture and more.

Georgia Smith, a Year 12 student, said: “Work experience is a big thing for this school and a lot of others don’t offer it. So for anyone who wants to go into a job that’s a bit more practical, or related to business or engineering, then this is a great option because the work experience placements are really useful.”

Shev Chatindo, also in Year 12, added: “I’ve been able to see how useful  subjects like maths are in the real world. I’ve seen lots of examples of how things I’ve been taught can be applied in the workplace. The independence that we get at BTS helps prepare us for work as well – I’m more confident and use my initiative rather than always having to ask for help or rely on others.”

Principal Richard Brown commented: “It’s hard to believe we’re coming to the end of our first year already. It’s fantastic to see the progress our students have made over the last few months, confirming that they made the right choice in deciding to join us last September.

“The work experience placements have proved to be a great success and our students are growing in confidence every week. I am confident that they have a bright future ahead of them, which is what BTS is all about.”

Bicester Technology Studio has a Sixth Form Open Event on Saturday 1 July, 10am-1pm, for students interested in joining the school in September 2017. For details and to sign up online, visit www.bicestertechstudio.org.uk/our-events.