THE principal of a Darwen secondary school has said she is confident its pupils will ‘thrive’ after it moved into a revamped £4.1m building.

Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio (DAES), which is sponsored by the Aldridge Foundation, moved into the former Model Lodging House in Police Street yesterday.

Ruth Bradbury said she was ‘bowled over’ by the facilities on offer for the school’s 100 pupils and 22 staff.

DAES offers its 14-19-year-old pupils GCSEs and A-Levels in core subjects, as well as up one day a week gaining experience in workplaces.

Ms Bradbury, who was part of the senior leadership team at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy for five years, said she was excited for the school’s first year in the refurbished building.

She said: “Our aim this year is to get good results for our year 11s at GCSE level and our year 13s doing their A-levels.

“We’re looking for some steady results which will help us in recruiting more students. We’ve got room for 300 overall and we have some more space for those starting this month.

The Studio Schools Trust, which oversees 38 schools in the UK, describes studio schools as ‘a bold new approach to learning which includes teaching through enterprise projects and real work’.

DAES is funded through the Department for Education and the Aldridge Foundation, which also sponsors Darwen Aldridge Community Academy.

Ms Bradbury said: “We are all about preparing young people for careers in higher education, with focus on particular sections.

“We have two specialisms: business, and creative and digital media. From next September we are adding health, social and child care to that.

“Some children and parents want to go to a big school and others prefer a smaller environment, and that is what we offer."