Sir Nicholas Serota opens creative free school in Devon
Sir Nicholas Serota, director of Tate, formally opened The Red House, home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA), in a ceremony that marked the culmination of a day of events for children, parents, guardians and friends of the school, celebrating the achievements of PSCA students and success of the school to date.
Sir Nicholas said: “You’re creating here something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the UK. It’s an historic moment for education in this country.”
Founded in Millbay by Plymouth College of Art in 2013, the Plymouth School of Creative Arts is a mainstream city centre 4–16 all-through Free School that, together with the college, is establishing a progressive continuum of creative learning and practice from age four to Masters level study and beyond, into professional employment within the creative and cultural industries.
The school’s purpose is transformation and can be expressed in just four words – creating individuals, making futures. Children and staff learn through making in all subject areas, across a broad and balanced school curriculum.
“This is an incredibly brave venture,” Sir Nicholas Serota said during his opening speech.
“I want to congratulate Andrew Brewerton, Dave Strudwick and the governors of Plymouth College of Art for having the vision and strength to persuade the world that you can make a school that is rooted in imagination, creativity and the arts, and produce students who will be able to face the 21st century and who will bring to it a whole new way of looking at the world. I think it’s an incredible venture and I’m sure it won’t be the only one. I hope Plymouth gets the credit when it’s copied all over the United Kingdom.”
During the daytime there was a celebratory procession of children and staff around the outside of The Red House for friends of the school, after which parents and guardians joined their children inside to experience some of the teaching on offer. Dave Strudwick, the headmaster at Plymouth School of Creative Arts, also invited parents, guardians, students and visitors to each create a wish for the future and the school’s continued growth.
Dave said: “It is a wonderful privilege to be involved in this amazing project. We are delighted that the Red House is already proving to be a success. The whole school community provides a wonderful platform for learning and development enabling our young people to see new possibilities in their lives.”
During the formal opening, Professor Andrew Brewerton, principal of Plymouth College of Art and chair of Governors for the PSCA, addressed guests in The Red House Theatre before Sir Nicholas Serota’s opening speech. PSCA Culinary Arts students from Years 7 and 8 also prepared canapes for the evening drinks reception, which was accompanied by live music performed by parents and students and informal tours of the school.
He said: “The formal opening of The Red House is a very special moment for our extended learning community. Keen interest in our work here is developing nationally and internationally, from France to China to Italy to South Korea and to the USA. We have a very simple proposition – that making is as important as reading and writing and maths and science, and that the creative purpose of learning should be inseparable from the creative purpose of living your life“.
Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, The Red House was always designed for pedagogical innovation in creative learning and as a catalyst for community regeneration in Plymouth’s Millbay docklands, supporting the transformation of individual life chances and community aspiration in the long term, with immediate local impact for families in the area.
As a new model of creative education, the Plymouth School of Creative Arts / Plymouth College of Art creative learning continuum has been presented by invitation at the Confindustria Veneto in Italy, Shanghai University and Beijing Design Week in China, Révélations in Paris and the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea.
(from a press release)