Jo Townshend has been named as the Principal of Rye’s innovative new Studio School which opens its doors this September.

Rye Academy Trust Executive Principal Ann Cockerham said: “I am delighted that Jo Townshend will be leading The Rye Studio School and excited by the opportunities that the Studio School will bring for both the young people of Rye and for our wider community”.

Jo Townshend is known within the community for her partnership work with local schools, colleges and businesses as well as for her work in the arts world in and around Rye. Originally from Tenterden, Kent; Jo studied at Highworth School for Girls in Ashford before specialising in Fine Art Painting, gaining a Masters Degree at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Jo Townshend said “I am very proud to be Principal of a Specialist College focusing on the Creative Industries, so close to my home town. I certainly would have loved such an opportunity; I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response from young people, parents and the community. My immediate challenge however, is to ensure that all the creative, enterprising young people of Kent and Sussex realise that our doors open this September and they can access this superb provision”

Jo Townshend said: “The Rye Studio School will offer an exciting curriculum that will engage and inspire young people. It is a contemporary model of education, new to many but it responds to the needs of business. It will support the employment of young people in these challenging times”.

The Rye Studio School will ensure all students in Rye and the surrounding villages have access to excellent post 16 education locally for the first time in over a decade.

The new school, which opens its doors in September has the backing of Rye MP Amber Rudd, who said: “I’m delighted to support Rye Studio School, it is going to offer a fantastic new opportunity for young people in our area; bring it on!”

Studio schools are a new concept, which allow students to work within specialist industries to gain vital skills and experience as well as gaining academic achievements.

The Rye Studio School will offer 14 - 19 year olds unique opportunities for learning, combining study for traditional examinations with experience of the world of work.

One of only 30 Studio Schools in the country, the Rye Studio School will prepare young people for work within the creative industries.

Students will be able to gain hands-on experience within the creative sector with courses covering sound and lighting engineering, music technology, visual arts, film making, performing arts and broadcasting; in addition to English, Maths, Business Studies and Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

Students will also be able to transfer to the Studio School in Year 10 and study Maths, English, Science, IT and Media alongside creative options in the Production, Performing and Visual Arts.

At the age of 16 they will be able to enter an apprenticeship or continue their studies at the Studio School. By graduation at 18, young people will gain traditional qualifications (A levels and level 3 BTEC) with an enriched CV of employability skills and a network of contacts.

The school is now open for applications from all over East Sussex and Kent.