Saffron Walden County High School joins forces with Ridgeons to offer new courses

PUBLISHED: 10:59 13 November 2009 | UPDATED: 22:03 31 May 2010

Opening of new Skills Centre.
Saffron Walden County High School.
November 06, 2009.
Photograph by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows: The ribbon cutting. 
Names (L-R): Dann Crusim; John Hartley (head teacher); Anne Ridgeon (chairman, Rigeons- on left of photo); Rob Loe (skills accademy director); Jake Martin-Jones.

Opening of new Skills Centre. Saffron Walden County High School. November 06, 2009. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: The ribbon cutting. Names (L-R): Dann Crusim; John Hartley (head teacher); Anne Ridgeon (chairman, Rigeons- on left of photo); Rob Loe (skills accademy director); Jake Martin-Jones.

NEW opportunities to learn practical skills are now on offer to students at Saffron Walden County High School (SWCHS). A new Skills Academy delivering courses in construction and the built environment was opened on Friday. The project is being supported b

NEW opportunities to learn practical skills are now on offer to students at Saffron Walden County High School (SWCHS).

A new Skills Academy delivering courses in construction and the built environment was opened on Friday.

The project is being supported by The Ridgeons Group whose company chairman, Anne Ridgeon, was on hand to launch the facility.

Ridgeons is providing funding support, materials for the course and, in the longer term, members of their management training scheme will also be teaching aspects of the syllabus.

Skills Academy director, Rob Loe, said: "There are some incredibly hardworking and talented students whose interests lie in a different profile of subjects and who have different career aspirations.

"As a successful school which believes in success through personalised curriculum routes, and knowing each child as an individual, this is hopefully the beginning."

SWCHS has tried various initiatives to meet the learning needs of students who find it difficult or lack motivation to access traditional academic qualifications such as A Levels and GCSEs.

These have included applied GCSEs and, most recently, Diplomas. However, even these courses have not appealed to those students who want a true occupational experience in order to provide them with more practical skills to equip them for progression into higher level training or employment.

Mr Loe said that the school had been very fortunate get the support from local business Ridgeons.

"Clearly at a time of economic uncertainty we are trying to build stronger links, through our curriculum, to the world of work and to further education," he said.

"It is thought that many of our students, having graduated from the academy with a Level 2 BTEC First Diploma, will now aspire to move on to Level 3 courses at institutions such as Cambridge Regional College (CRC).

"CRC themselves have been incredibly supportive in our efforts to establish the new curriculum.


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