IT was billed as a school for the future offering pupils a different kind of education that could better prepare them for the world of work.

But less than two years after it opened its classrooms, bosses at the Inspire Academy have announced it is to close.

Southampton's first and so far only studio school was opened at the end of 2013 with £1m worth of government funding.

Its aim was to attract up to 300 youngsters aged 14 to 19 to the school which was designed to focus more on enterprise activities and real work experience.

In the end it attracted no where near that amount of students leaving headteacher Christian Down along with his board of governors with no option but to close the school.

Mr Down said: "While our provision was exceeding expectations and helping young people in the city achieve more, it is not financially viable to continue the school.

"Like every other state school in the country, funding is based on the number of pupils we have and we simply do not have enough students and applications to keep the school running."

Daily Echo:

School principal Christian Down

He added: "The vision has proved successful for those students who have excelled during their time with us.

"However, it has become evident that most parents in the educational environment of Southampton are not prepared to take a risk with their children’s education and move them mid-way through secondary school, compared to other areas in the UK where similar schools have seen higher application numbers."

Last year 38 per cent of students achieved the benchmark figure, while 81 per cent of students received five or more A* to C grades in at least five subjects.

Mr Down said the board had made the decision, which was approved by the Department for Education, at this stage of the academic year as they would then risk closing the school mid term - causing more disruption.

The school has said it will transfer the remaining 12 pupils due to sit their GCSEs next year to other schools and have offered them a place at their sister school on the Isle of Wight - with all their travel costs paid for.

Students who have also applied for a place in September have also been given the option for a place at the Isle of Wight studio school.

Inspire will officially close on July 22. Ten full time posts will also be lost.

Mr Down added: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of staff, every pupil and every parent who has helped us change lives over the last two years.

"We appreciate how difficult this decision is for parents and pupils but we are sure it is the best decision for all in the long run."

A Department for Education spokesman said:“We are committed to ensuring young people are equipped with the skills they need to secure great jobs and studio schools are instrumental to this.

“They help harness the talents of students and offer them hands-on practical learning alongside GCSEs and A-levels to provide them with the skills employers demand. They are particularly effective in helping pupils who may not be suited to a more traditional education.

“We have agreed to a request from Inspire Academy Trust to close Inspire Enterprise Academy due to low pupil numbers. Our priority now is to work with the Trust to ensure existing pupils can complete their studies with minimum disruption.”