Community Action Week

Posted on: February 28, 2014

Groups of KS4 students have spent this week volunteering in the community as part of the school’s first Community Action Week.  Students have been serving the community working for the local Foodbank, a number of charities and social enterprises, and the local council as part of Brownhills in Bloom. Well done everyone for working hard and making a difference for others in society!


Students Perform at VIP Opening of New Vines Restaurant

Posted on: February 6, 2014

A STOURBRIDGE social enterprise restaurant that is helping to transform the lives of young people across the Black Country, was officially opened on Friday.

Vines cafe and restaurant on High Street, is the result of a partnership between Walsall based Vine Social Enterprises and Living Springs, the Stourton based charity that helps young teenage mums and vulnerable families.  Kerry Babb, aged 25, supervisor at the Stourbridge and Walsall Vines restaurants, told guests at the opening ceremony that getting involved with Vines almost four years ago, had changed her life.  She said she was struggling to find work as a hairdresser before she pursued the job opportunities available through Vines and has grown in confidence under the watchful eye of mentors.  Miss Babb said: “I was shy, lacking confidence and I wouldn’t talk to anybody and I didn’t even want to answer the phone. Now I like meeting new people, chatting to them and getting on with everybody. I can’t see myself being anywhere else, I love it.”

The venture impressed Dudley North MP Ian Austin, who said: “I think it’s brilliant that they have opened this facility in Stourbridge. I have met some of the young people working here and heard how it has changed their lives. We should all get behind it and support this venture.”

Helping young people find employment was a winning aspect of the project for Dudley Mayor, Councillor Alan Finch.  He said: “Creating jobs for young people will help the council in its vision to tackle unemployment. I look forward to seeing the benefit of this partnership for people in the whole of the borough.”

Music students form the studio school provided musical entertainment at the VIP event and two media students worked as professional photographers for the day in response to a ‘live brief’ set by Vines Social Enterprises.







Broadcasting Industry Expert Interviews for

Posted on: January 27, 2014

This evening Walsall Studio School Staff and Students hosted Susanna Westwood of in the launch of a series of interviews with creative industry experts.  Each Monday evening 7pm-8pm the Emergeination Programme will broadcast live from Walsall Studio School to its members.

What is Emergeination?

Emergeination is an innovative online platform for emerging musicians, dancers, artists, film directors and fashion designers to promote and sell their products and services worldwide. We established emergeination to help emerging talent to ‘make it’- sooner and bigger. We recognise the difficulties and frustrations that emerging artists face today – striving to earn enough to pursue your career, trying to get noticed by the right people, searching for those industry and professional connections that will help you take your art to the next level.




Walsall Studio School in the Local Newspaper

Posted on: January 9, 2014

News Coverage of the successful first year of Walsall Studio School and Sixth Form.

WSS Express and Star Jan 2014

Portable Recording Studio (Backstage Auditorium)

Posted on: December 30, 2013

The School Christmas Holidays provide the principal Dan Parkes and other local musicians time to test out the latest portable recording studio equipment at the Studio School. Back stage within the main auditorium musicians experiment with loopers and multitrack portable recording hardware and software in advance of the new school term in January 2014.

Music and Music Technology are part of the school’s performing arts specialism.  Working closely with specialist areas in Business Social Enterprise and Broadcast Media / Live Events students who study courses in Music and Music Technology gain opportunities to use industry standard equipment while working together on live projects and industry commissioned briefs.




Children in Need – Charity Fundraising

Posted on: November 15, 2013

A group of KS4 students from Walsall Studio School spent Friday morning before School in Walsall Town Centre raising money for BBC Children in Need.  The students raised over £400 in just 2 hours… Well done to all!



First Student Showcase – October 2013

Posted on: October 18, 2013

Last night the first cohort of students at Walsall Studio School took to the stage in the main auditorium to give parents, supporters, staff and governors of the school a glimpse of their talents in performing arts and live events. The evening of theatre, music and dance was produced by the students themselves as KS4 and KS5 groups worked together and sixth form vocational students from the Media and Business pathways organised the event and ensured a fantastic evening was enjoyed by all!

One parent commented: “What talent! and all this after just 6 weeks at the school”.

3 min Highlights Video.

Duke of York Opens Enterprise Hub, Home to Area’s First Studio School

Posted on: July 11, 2013

His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG officially opened the £3m Goldmine building in the centre of Walsall today. It is not only home to the area’s first Studio School – an entirely new approach to education, but also the ‘hub’ of the Walsall Social Enterprise Zone where a new approach to business enterprise will help stimulate community regeneration.


Prince Andrew shares a joke with Vine Trust CEO and Walsall Studio School Chair of Governors Kevin Davis
(Picture courtesy of the Express & Star, NMA Media Group)


His Royal Highness, who is Patron of the Studio Schools Trust, met senior representatives from the public, private and third sectors in the Black Country who all support the vision of the Zone and the important role that the Studio School will play in equipping young people with the skills they will need to become the social entrepreneurs of the future.

HRH and students

HRH The Duke of York enjoys speaking with students Courtney Brevitt and Che Goodall.


The School specialises in business and social enterprise, creative and  digital media, music and the performing arts and will eventually cater for 300 young people from 14-19 years old. When students start courses at the school in September, it will have a genuine work ethos and culture, as well as a curriculum that has been shaped with the help of local employers. Students will work on ‘live’ business projects and experience workplace life within local companies and social enterprises.

The Walsall Social Enterprise Zone, supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, is focused on supporting both social entrepreneurs and social enterprises that are committed to building a local economy and community.

The Zone will offer a range of services for new enterprises, from business advice and networking, through to funding help and support. The vision of Social Enterprise Zones was ‘birthed’ in Walsall and has already attracted the interest of Local Enterprise Partnerships from other areas of the U.K. The Goldmine facility recently hosted a national Local Enterprise Partnerships conference.

Goldmine Opening Dan Parkes

Dan Parkes, Principal of Walsall Studio School sets out the vision of the school to business leaders and invited guests at the official opening of the Goldmine Centre, Home of Walsall Studio School.



HRH The Duke of York site down for lunch in the Vines Restaurant, part of Vine Social Enterprises and the Vine Trust Group to hear from local business leaders, partners and sponsors of Walsall Studio School and Sixth Form.


Business Leaders endorse Studio School

Posted on: May 2, 2013

The Vine Trust Group entertained John Longworth, the Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce at the ‘Vines’ restaurant, In the new Social Enterprise Zone He was accompanied by Ninder Johal of the Black Country LEP and Margaret Corneby CEO of the Black Country Chamber.

Ninder Johal said – “As a Board member of the BC LEP and VP of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, I am always on the look out for excellence in the Black Country.

The Vine Trust is a great example of such excellence. I was really impressed by its successful placement of young people with employers. I was equally impressed by the quality of the food served in its fantastic restaurant staffed by young people.

In the difficult economic climate with a disproportionately high unemployment rate amongst the youth, The Vine Trust is leading the way in combating this. I applaud all the great work being undertaken at the Vine Trust under the leadership of Kevin.”

John Longworth said “I enjoyed lunch at the Vine restaurant, I certainly thought the food presentation was of high standard, quality was good and the staff were attentive and professional without being intrusive striking the right balance for an enjoyable experience. The fit out of the restaurant is impressive

I was pleased to hear of the studio school, which I think is a great concept, and that there will be conference facilities”

For more information about the Walsall Social Enterprise Zone, and the new Studio School at the heart of it :contact Kevin Davis on 01922 621951 or website


Pictured L-R. John Longworth, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Davis CEO of the Vine Trust Group and Chair of Governors Walsall Studio School and Ninder Johal of the Black Country LEP

Principal for New Walsall Studio School

Posted on: March 13, 2013

The appointment of Dan Parkes as Principal for the new Walsall Studio School & Sixth Form has been announced this week. The School, which opens in September, is the first of its kind in the West Midlands and will be offering 14 – 19 year olds the unique opportunity for combining study for traditional examinations with real experience of the world of work.

Dan has a proven track record of delivering outstanding outcomes for learners and introducing new and innovative curriculum programmes. Leading a range of different teams, he has developed live projects for students and partnerships with local and regional employers. It was for the innovative work in this area that his team won the national TES award (sponsored by the Institute for Learning) for Outstanding Innovation in Teaching and Learning in 2011.

“I am passionate about real practical teaching where young people achieve the very best they can through hands-on project work in partnership with local employers,” commented Dan, “we will be able to give our students a real competitive advantage for future employment through individually tailored learning pathways – they will already be half way through the door before they start the journey of full time employment.”

Dan Parkes, Principal, The Walsall Studio School.

Dan Parkes, Principal, Walsall Studio School.

Kevin Davis, Chairman of the Walsall Studio School Trust commented, “Dan brings with him a wealth of experience and a successful track record in breaking new ground in learning. The potential that the Studio School can now realise with him at the helm is exciting. Students will be getting a preparation and experience that will be truly transformational for their future working lives.”

Dan takes up his post following 14 years’ experience in 14-19 education in Sandwell, Dudley and Birmingham, working the last 8 years at Birmingham Metropolitan College (formally Matthew Boulton and Sutton Coldfield Colleges). He is a creative manager with a background of embedding technology-enabled learning in a range of subject areas.

As a keen musician he performs regularly in a number of jazz ensembles as well as composing and arranging for groups. Dan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of a local Christian charity and an active member of a number of voluntary sector groups and networks.

Matt’s Story – The Vine Trust

Posted on: February 7, 2013

West Midlands Business Leaders Hear How to ‘Design Their Employees’

Posted on: February 6, 2013

Business Leaders from across the region attended a special breakfast held at the Vine in Walsall to hear all about plans for a completely new concept in education – the Walsall Studio School & Sixth Form. The School will see employers working hand-in-hand with educationalists to enable them to ‘design their own employees.’

The breakfast was attended by 25 key business representatives including Stewart Towe, Chairman of the Black Country LEP, Margaret Corneby from the Black Country Chamber and senior representatives from some of the area’s largest employers. The group heard from David Frost, Chair of the Studio Schools Trust, how the area will be pioneering a completely new approach to education that will see businesses helping to shape a curriculum for 14 to 19 year olds that will enable them to nurture their future employees, equipping them with not only the right skills for their individual businesses, but also with the right experience gained through real work projects tailored to specific business needs.

The Walsall Studio School and Sixth Form which will be based at the new Goldmine centre, will be opening its doors in September and will eventually see three hundred students embarking on a new pathway, learning to work through a curriculum that has been shaped by local employers.

Kerry’s Story – The Vine Trust

Posted on: February 5, 2013

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