Countdown to busy year for head of Plymouth’s newest school

Martyn Cox is doing his best to make the very most of the summer holidays before the start of what is likely to be one of the busiest years of his life.

In little more than 12 months’ time Martyn will welcome the first students to Plymouth’s newest studio school Scott Medical and Healthcare College.

He was recently appointed as headteacher of the school, which opens in September 2017, and one of his first duties was to travel to Buckingham Palace to attend a reception hosted by the Duke of York, who is the royal patron of the Studio Schools Trust.

“I had a wonderful day at the Palace and it was very illuminating to hear the Duke’s views on studio schools and why he believes small schools like ours are the best place for some students to learn,” said Martyn, who was vice principal at Stoke Damerel Community College – the studio school’s sponsor – and has been part of the team setting up Scott College from the beginning.

“It’s a unique experience and a privilege to be able to be the head of a school which I will have taken from the very first seed of an idea to the day, in just over a year’s time, when we have our first intake of Year 9 and Year 12 learners,” he said.

“It seems incredible to think that we have our first open evening this month and I can’t wait to meet future students and their families and share my vision for the College with them.”

Plans for the 375-student school – which will be purpose-built in Stoke – were announced by the Department for Education in March last year and there will be an Open Evening on 28 September and an Open Day on 8 October, both at Stoke Damerel.

Scott College will offer places to young people in Years 9 to 13 to develop highly-valued vocational skills for the wider healthcare sector.

Studio schools are more like workplaces with a longer school day and classroom teaching combined with work placements. At first students will carry out work experience from half a day to a full day each week.

“There is a consistent demand for well-trained healthcare professionals and our school will offer the best of both worlds,” said Martyn, who has worked at Stoke Damerel since 2003.

“It’s a small school, offering high-quality teaching and state-of-the-art facilities as well as the opportunity for work placements with our outstanding healthcare partners.

“Studio Schools also have greater freedom from the national curriculum and will not have to fit into the confines of teaching the EBacc at KS4.”

Admitting pupils aged between 13 and 19, the studio school will be separate and distinct from Stoke Damerel whilst taking advantage of the economies of scale of being a part of a multi-academy trust.

Applications can be made for places in Year 9 and Year 12 from 1 September 2016.

Carol Hannaford, principal of Stoke Damerel Community College, said: “I am delighted to appoint such a well-qualified and experienced leader as the first headteacher of Scott College.

“Martyn has a long history of success as Key Stage 5 vice principal at Stoke Damerel and I am so pleased that, against a nationally-advertised field, he was such a stunningly successful leader.

“I know that students and parents will be excited at the prospect of a future career in the medical and healthcare sector – it is just what we need for our city.”

Key to the vision for the school – which will offer a range of academic, vocational and professional qualifications – is its partnership with a number of local healthcare educators and practitioners who have been key in formulating the studio school’s unique and innovative curriculum.

Partners include the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD), the University’s Faculty of Health and Human Sciences and Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust.

Professor Greg Dix, Director of Nursing, Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust said: “I am delighted with Martyn’s appointment and look forward to continuing my work with him and the wider Studio School Programme Board on the next phase of this exciting innovation.”

Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean of PUPSMD, said: “We are tremendously privileged to be a partner in this venture and it is heartening to see it attract attention at the highest levels. We are looking forward to working with Martyn and his colleagues to create the health care professionals of the future. “

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences at Plymouth University, Professor Trish Livsey said: “It’s great that Martyn has been appointed headteacher designate for Scott College and I’ve no doubt he’ll do a fantastic job.

“The college has an important role to play in helping students to learn more about health care and the skills needed to excel within associated professions, so I’m very much looking forward to working with him.”

Parents and students keen to register their interest in the new school can go to and sign up for updates on the application process and the school’s progress.

First published in the Plymouth Magazine – September 2016

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