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The Rural Enterprise Academy

Consultation: Proposed change to existing arrangements to lower the minimum age of admission to The Rural Enterprise Academy from 14 (Year 10) to 13 (Year 9), thus becoming a 13-18 academy.

The Rural Enterprise Academy has been developed with a clear vision: to create a new and exciting free school that enables young people to gain a broad education with traditional and essential qualifications such as English, Maths and Science, together with the opportunity to link learning, wherever possible, to rural enterprise, environmental sustainability and land based subjects. The vision is to bring about a positive impact on the lives of students, rural communities and rural and environmental industries across Staffordshire and beyond. The Academy has been developed to meet an acknowledged demand within the industry for a workforce equipped with excellent and relevant skills.

The Academy is sponsored by three world-class businesses: Veolia, a world leader in the environmental and sustainability industry; The National Farmers Union, the largest farming organisation in the UK and South Staffordshire College, one of the County’s leading further education providers. As the principal sponsor South Staffordshire College provides links with industry experts that are second to none and this enables the Rural Enterprise Academy to offer outstanding work placement and progression routes to apprenticeships, higher education, employment or enterprise post 16.

The Rural Enterprise Academy opened in September 2012 to offer choice and diversity to students in Year 10 and Year 11 and will open a sixth form in September 2014.

The Rural Enterprise Academy wishes to become a 13-18 academy by changing its lower age limit to 13 (Year 9) for the following reasons:

• To increase alternatives and diversity for local parents and children for whom an education in the rural enterprise sector is an early option of choice.
• To improve transition for students from primary and or middle schools in the area. We operate within an area where middle schools are common and the Academy regularly receives requests from parents seeking a school place for Year 9 students. Presently, parents who select The Rural Enterprise Academy as the school of choice for their child are forced to find another school for a period of one year, namely Year 9, before they transfer to The Rural Enterprise Academy to begin Year 10. This is disruptive for both the students concerned and the school from which they transfer.
• Lowering our lower age limit to enable Year 9 students to attend The Rural Enterprise Academy would ensure that, in line with many other schools, The Rural Enterprise Academy could operate a three year Key Stage 4 programme of study, thus ensuring parity of opportunity for those students selecting study at The Rural Enterprise Academy and avoiding unnecessary disruption.

The Rural Enterprise Academy is undertaking a consultation exercise to seek the views of interested stakeholders including the Local Authority, parents and other schools. Interested parties are asked to consider the above proposal and then respond to the proposal.

The proposal being: That the Rural Enterprise Academy changes its existing arrangements by lowering the minimum age of admission to The Rural Enterprise Academy from 14 (Year 10) to 13 (Year 9), thus becoming a 13-18 academy.

There are no plans to increase the admission number at the Academy but rather that pre 16 students be spread across three, as opposed to the current two, year groups.

We welcome your views. There are a number of ways in which you can make your views known to us:

1. Please click here to complete an online consultation questionnaire.

2. Please click here to download the form, you are then able to print and then mail us a completed consultation questionnaire, to the address below.

3. Email us at

4. Telephone 01785 333360

5. Write to us at:
The Rural Enterprise Academy
Stafford Road
ST19 5PH

6. Representations may also be made to the Education Funding Agency:

7. We are holding a public meeting at the Rural Enterprise Academy, on Tuesday 28 January at 6 pm. You are invited to attend, ask any questions you might have and express your views.

Frequently asked questions:

What is a free school?
A free school is independently run and has the freedom to set its own curriculum and policies. Free schools are free to attend. In the eyes of the law free schools are the same as academies.

Does the Rural Enterprise Academy employ qualified teachers?
Yes, all teachers employed by The Rural Enterprise Academy are fully qualified teachers.

Are free schools allowed to make a profit?
No. Free schools can only be set up and run by charities. The Principal runs the Academy but she is answerable to the Board of Governors.

Is the Rural Enterprise Academy selective?
No. The Rural Enterprise Academy is bound by the same admission rules as other schools in Staffordshire.

Is the Rural Enterprise Academy inspected by Ofsted?

What are the employment prospects in rural enterprise, environmental sustainability and land based industries?
There is currently a shortage of people with the relevant skills to meet demand within the sector so employment and enterprise opportunities are positive.

Does the Academy have a uniform?
Yes, with the exception of the sixth form but the sixth form does have a dress code.

What are the travel options to and from The Rural Enterprise Academy?
Travel is available from across Staffordshire and beyond. Travel is run by South Staffordshire College at a very competitive cost and the cost can be spread.

What is on offer outside the classrooms?
In addition to the main curriculum students have the opportunity to engage in extra activities during the standard school day these include: Duke of Edinburgh Award, horse care, floristry, zoo club, game bird management and farming amongst other options. All students take a Level 2 BTEC Extended Certificate in Agriculture, Animal Care or Horse Care.

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