LANCASHIRE’S first pioneering studio school has opened its doors to pupils.

Hyndburn Studio School, which is based at the Waterside Centre, in St James Court West, has welcomed 28 14 to 19-year-olds as its first year intake.

They will have the opportunity to complete vocational training and work placements as well as academic qualifications.

Studio schools are a new state school model, aimed at tackling skills shortages and focused on supporting the transition from school to work.

Hyndburn head teacher Hilary McGonagle, who previously worked at Accrington and Rossendale College, which is launching the new school, said she had been impressed by the amount of interest in the new model.

She said: “It has been challenging, there is so much to do, but there is a good set of kids and they are all settling down.

“The children have responded to the principle of studio schools well.

“It is a different way of learning, they are all at different stages and have all come from so many feeder schools, so a lot of the first week has been about getting them to get to know each other. But it is really exciting, it is an exciting place to be.”

Students, who have come from schools across East Lancashire, will still study for their key GCSEs in English, maths, science and ICT, while completing vocational training in sport and leisure, hospitality and catering, automotive engineering or media and marketing.

Mrs McGonagle said there had been some difficulty in getting other schools to understand the studio school principle.

She said: “It is different and there has been some difficulty getting the message across.

“But when we launched the concept last year, 400 people came to find out what the school was about “My son would have benefitted from a studio school, he was more interested in practical things and he did not have a very positive learning experience.

“I wanted something different for him, but there was nothing out there.”