Students from Plymouth Studio School joined with representatives from the world of sport, tourism, events and education to mark the on-site start of their new £4.2 million state-of-the-art school and High Performance Sport Centre.
Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth Amanda Lumley and representatives from the schools’ sponsor organisations, Phil Davies, Principal of City College Plymouth, and Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Mark & St John, joined top athletes, Olympic swimmer and Plymouth Studio School coach Antony James and University of St Mark & St John alumna and Rhea Gayle (three times British Diving Champion in the 1m springboard) to help make the first official concrete pour.
Guests also gathered items for a time-capsule to symbolise the Studio School’s innovative approach to learning which gives students a mix of academic excellence, enterprise and employability, as well as providing top sport coaching and on-going work placements for Year 10 and 12 students looking to forge careers in sport, tourism and event management.
The two-storey, three block building, being built by Kier Construction South West and due for completion in Autumn 2016, will include a High Performance Sport Centre equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and a Medical Lab for sport physiotherapy, power testing, functional screenings and physiological monitoring. It will also include an indoor laser pistol shooting range suitable for Modern Pentathlon training and Olympic lifting platforms.
A science laboratory, sixth form space and multi-use atrium are also included A “smart gym” will help all Plymouth Studio School students develop mental focus, team-working, self-control, confidence and evaluation skills – all important in gaining a head start in skills needed for the workplace, higher education and enterprise.
The Plymouth Studio School opened its doors this September to its first cohort of Year 10 and Year 12 students, based in temporary accommodation on the University of St Mark & St John campus. A total of 300 students will attend the new school, with the next intake of 100 students starting in September 2016.
Matthew Lennon, Principal of the Plymouth Studio School, said: “We are delighted that the new building is now underway and our students of all abilities will be able to benefit from the top level facilities which it will offer to help them reach their full potential.
“The space is ideally suited to our small class sizes, flexible timetables and individual approach to learning. It will also provide sports students with the world-class equipment, monitoring, coaching and science facilities needed to help them reach peak performance and pursue careers as sports coaches, therapists, scientists and physiotherapists. We are looking forward to continuing to work with our partners when it comes to putting Plymouth on the map for excellence in sport, tourism and events.”
Student Executive Director for Plymouth Studio School, Year 12 Joe Tibbetts said: “Plymouth Studio School is already providing me with a brilliant opportunity to combine my A levels with swimming training, so it will be fantastic to have both the learning facilities and sport performance facilities together in our own new building next year.”
Amanda Lumley, governor of Plymouth Studio School and Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth, said: “It is important that Plymouth has a school focused in establishing excellence in the tourism, leisure and life-style sectors and helping to create a skilled and innovative workforce for the City and beyond in these employment growth areas. Students are already flourishing and working alongside employers in the tourism sector – the new facilities will be the icing on the cake.”
University of St Mark & St John alumna and Commonwealth medal winner Katherine Endacott, who is already part of the top level coaching team at Plymouth Studio School together with Olympic Sport performance psychologist Jon Rhodes, Olympic swimmer Antony James and Olympic shooting star Gorgs Geikie, will help support students in getting the most from the new High Performance Sport Centre.
Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Mark & St John, said: “We are extremely excited about being one of the first Universities to have a Studio School facility on campus and about the opportunities this provides for our own students and staff to get involved in inspiring and supporting Plymouth Studio School students on their chosen career and higher education paths across Sport, Business and Health.”
Phil Davies, Principal of City College Plymouth, said: “As a sponsor of the school, we are delighted that the new building is underway and will help to provide a unique and exciting option for students as young as Year 10 to get a taste of real-life work experience and to gain the skills needed by today’s employers.”
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