Mansfield studio school chief unveils vision

Chris Hatherall

The new principal of Nottinghamshire’s only studio school has unveiled his vision for the pioneering education-provider.

Chris Hatherall took over the reins at Mansfield’s Vision Studio School earlier this month and has vowed to build on its success by making it “a centre of excellence” in preparing young people for the world of work.

The experienced educationalist, who succeeds interim principal Heather Scott, has joined from Wigan University Technical College, where he spent four years as principal.

He said he felt “honoured” to join the school, which opened in September 2014, and to have the opportunity to lead it to an “even brighter future.”

Hatherall said: “Vision Studio School has built a reputation for equipping young people with the skills to gain meaningful employment or high-status apprenticeships that meet the needs of industry.

“It’s become well-known for bringing new opportunities to students and employers in Mansfield and Ashfield. I’m keen to build on these strengths, enhance the learning experience, and establish the school as a centre of excellence in securing young people’s futures.”

A new type of school for 14 to 19-year-olds, Vision Studio School bridges the gap between education and employment by giving students regular exposure to industry. Students specialise in either engineering or health and social care, alongside core GCSEs, through project-based classroom learning and work placements with employers.

The school, on Chesterfield Road South, currently serves 208 students from years 10 to 13, and has more than 100 employer partners ranging from small and medium-sizes businesses to major organisations and charities. Sponsored by West Nottinghamshire College, it is currently the only studio school in Nottinghamshire and one of only 39 across the country.

Hatherall added: “The school is in an extremely privileged position to impact positively on students and the wider community. It addresses the mismatch in expectations between employers and school-leavers by ensuring students gain the qualifications, work experience and ‘softer skills’ that organisations demand.

“I’m especially excited by the specialisms in engineering and health and social care. Tens of thousands of vacancies will need filling in these sectors over the next ten years across the UK – and the school is well-placed to play its part by supplying highly-trained workers.”

Formerly a lead practitioner for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Hatherall has received national recognition for the support he has provided to schools across the country in developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) courses.

Recognised by Google as a promotor of emerging technologies in education, Hatherall is also a former national Green Apple Award-winner.