The Red House opens
|The Red House in Plymouth|
PSCA is a history making school. Situated in the heart of Plymouth's drab dockland area of Millbay, it is a colourful haven for creativity and self expression. It is the first British school to open as a free school under the patronage of a College of Art, and - as its visionary head teacher Dave Strudwick said in his speech tonight - it is a school from reception through to employment. Currently with just over 400 children on roll, ultimately it will be a place of learning for more than 1000 students.
|Some of the children performing at the Red House opening|
The Red House is a beautifully designed space within which learning and creativity can flourish. Built on three floor levels, it gleams boldly in contrast to Millbay Docks international ferry port and the adjacent industrial units. This is almost a metaphor for the fight it has endured against its critics. Instead of classrooms, the school features studios and other open, flexible and creative spaces. As one might expect, dance, music, drama and other expressive arts feature largely in the school curriculum. Students can develop their thinking through a number of traditional and non-conventional curriculum activities. They might find themselves designing the menu and cooking the school lunch, under the supervision of a teacher called Andrew (students know their teachers by first names) - who incidentally has also been an award winning chef in his time. Teachers come from all backgrounds. There is an award winning composer who has worked for BBC radio and the Ministry of Sound, foreign language, geography and history teachers who are passionate to connect their subjects to learning to many other subjects, and a deputy head responsible for performance and pedagogy. The curriculum draws on evidence, expertise and understanding from psychology, neuroscience and social history. Creating Individuals and Making Futures is the school's defining document, guiding all their practises and processes.
Many of us will follow the development of PSCA over the coming years, as it blossoms and develops into a beacon for creativity, in a city that has re-created itself over and over again.
Photos by Steve Wheeler
The Red House opens by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.