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Kidderminster Academy officially opened
7:30am Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
Buy this photo » Blast from the past: Rowland Hill leads people towards the academy
HISTORY was brought to life at the official opening of the Kidderminster Academy.
A lookalike of Kidderminster’s most famous entrepreneur, Rowland Hill, who invented the Penny Black postage stamp, welcomed guests to the launch with the help of student performers.
Hundreds of people attended to see the results of the year-long transformation of the historic Piano Building.
The event began with VIP guests arriving by narrowboat at the canalside structure – a former warehouse from the carpet industry’s Victorian heyday.
Singers and dancers provided entertainment based on the four key elements of the academy’s curriculum – fashion and retail, culinary arts, gaming and programming and entrepreneurship.
Ian Watts, principal designer at architecture firm McAndrew Watts who worked on the building, said: “Our main concern was keeping the character of the existing building. We were given a very brief outline of the curriculum and developed the space to create real-life working environments.
“The aim was to create a learning space rather than a teaching space. It was a great opportunity.”
Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP, opened the academy and described it as locally-driven, industry-led and innovative.
The academy opened for students two weeks ago and many were already on hand to talk about their chosen courses.
Principal Christine Braddock said: “The Piano building signifies a great opportunity for students to gain real experience in vocational career paths, in a space that will induce learning and advance skills that just can’t be done in a traditional classroom setting.”