In this section

Share this page

The Studio@Knutsford break new ground

There has been a longstanding mission of academic policy makers to bring real-life, practical skills into our classrooms supported by partners from industry.  That goal has recently been realised at one Cheshire school with outstanding results.  The Studio@Knutsford computing students will walk away from this academic year end in July with desirable professional IT industry qualifications to add their already impressive list of GCSEs and A-levels.   

The Studio@Knutsford is a new Studio School and part of Knutsford Multi Academy Trust.  The Studio’s mission is to address the needs of students of all abilities. This means meeting the dual purpose of ensuring its ‘graduates’ gain a range of qualifications in rigorous academic subjects while simultaneously acquiring the skills required for gaining employment and succeeding in chosen careers.  Andrew Clarke, Head of the Computing Learning Centre explained “In addition to programming and regular IT skills we wanted our students to understand the language of IT and Project Management best practice.  After consultation through the Studio’s strategic partnership with Barclays it was decided that ITIL® (the global de facto standard for IT service management) would be the way forward for our first venture”.

So the programme was born with knowing nods of approval from knowledgeable parents at the Studio’s first open evening.  The first year would involve student visits to Barclays operation at Radbrooke to see service management in action.  Nick Jackson, Service Management specialist at Barclays adds  "Barclays was already heavily involved with Knutsford Academy so we were genuinely very excited at helping with The Studio@Knutsford’s new computing curriculum.  I called a number of service management colleagues in Barclays who were delighted to spend time with the students explaining how service management, underpinned by ITIL®, works. This has ensured that the students had an insight and understanding of the practical use of ITIL® to complement the theory.  All our people readily gave up their time and were more than happy to assist."

With the real world element covered, The Studio@Knutsford chose leading best practice education provider Global Knowledge as their ITIL® training partner.  Global Knowledge used a blended approach to learning. They provided ITIL® foundation e-learning allowing self-paced study for the students to supplement the visits to Barclays throughout the year.  In addition, Global Knowledge provided adhoc sessions at the school where particular topics could be revised and that all important exam technique addressed.  Global Knowledge Business Development Director, Barry Corless led the coaching sessions at The Studio@Knutsford “With the UK being primarily a service economy teaching Year 10’s and above service management seems like a real no-brainer.  It was so enjoyable introducing ITIL® to a group of people with a completely different frame of reference to the thousands of primarily IT professionals we’ve taught before.  The speed with which the students picked up the concepts is testament to their ability but also to the close liaison between Barclays, The Studio@Knutsford and ourselves.”            
Exam time was set for 1st April for which examining body PeopleCert very kindly waived the exam fees in support of the venture.  After a one day revision session the students all sat down to take a professional exam that approaching 300,000 other IT professionals sit every year.  They were also motivated in chasing after higher scores than The Studio@Knutsford tutors who’d all passed successfully before the academic year began.  The result?  A 100% pass rate and almost certainly the first UK school age group to be ITIL® qualified, a huge differentiator when they enter the world of work.  The Studio@Knutsford now has plans to take the same cohort through a similar process with PRINCE2® project management best practice during the next academic year. 

The final word goes to one of the delighted students “The whole ITIL® vocabulary was a little daunting at first but once we’d grasped the concepts and seen it in action it all started to make sense.  It was a great result that we all passed.  The qualification will make a real difference in the job market.”  


  • PRINCE® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited
  • ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited IT Infrastructure Library® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited

About The Studio@Knutsford

Studio@Knutsford is a new school as part of Knutsford Multi Academy Trust, it opened in September 2014. The school is for students aged 14-18 of all abilities and focuses on developing both academic and employability skills to prepare students for life beyond school either at work or in higher education.

Studio@Knutsford works with a huge range of business partners who are central to the delivery of the curriculum. This includes offering advice and mentoring students, providing real life project opportunities and sharing their own experiences of work.

For further information contact James Routs, 01565 624656.

About Barclays

Barclays is an international financial services provider engaged in personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 130,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit