RISE Learning Zone

Therapeutic Education

Founded in 2015, RISE is a not-for-profit education organisation for Nottingham based in a hectare of woodland on the outskirts of the city. RISE was established to accommodate a small number of vulnerable learners on their education journey away from mainstream schools and is growing toward providing educational opportunities for all our constituencies. Recognising that the best learning happens within a responsive and nurturing community, the organisation provides learners with a unique experience in education, centred on our natural environment and our therapeutic approach.

From a small therapeutic education programme to whole-community learning in which young people, staff, volunteers, families and other agencies can consider themselves co-learners and educators, we aim to build a unique and empowering environment for learning.

We recognise that all individuals, of any age, should have the opportunity both to learn and to teach.

“If I could I would live here.
Staff could help me build a little house behind the workshop
- then I would always be happy."

RISE student

Learning to Thrive

RISE Learning Zone is a small education organisation with a passion for and commitment to learning for some of the most disadvantaged young people in Nottingham, who are living with the effects of infant and childhood trauma. Building on a history of nurturing, wraparound support for young people and their families, RISE aims to develop a whole learning community, recognising that all individuals, of any age, should have the opportunity both to learn and to teach. Today our small team of experienced professionals and volunteers are creating a programme responsive to the needs of young people, their families and the wider community, and imagining a learning environment where everyone is on a journey of self-discovery through education.

At our secluded site on the outskirts of Nottingham, a sanctuary set in a hectare of woodland, we are building our programme around social, developmental and therapeutic aspects of learning, often site-specific: understanding the environment, aspiring to sustainable living both personally and in community, and growing, cooking & eating together. Currently we are offering fifteen places per day for young learners unable to access mainstream education for various reasons; further programmes offer formal and informal education around our core interests for the wider community including life-long learning, personal development and capacity building.


Learner Admissions

RISE offers an alternative education programme with part-time and full-time places for key stage 3 & 4 learners who are not in mainstream schools. We are currently offering 15 places per day, providing a full and varied curriculum including functional skills, vocational studies, personal development and environmental studies with qualifications from EL-2 to Level 2, depending on subject.

Additionally we focus on the development of emotional literacy through therapeutic interventions with a key worker, pastoral team and in-house counsellor service.

Admissions must be made by referral from the local authority, home schools, or through Social Care and associated agencies - parents are not able to refer their own children, although are welcome to discuss places with us.

Contact Us

Work, volunteer
& learn at RISE

We  see our organisation - the whole constituency of staff, volunteers, learners, families and supporters - as a learning community. We are a small community, and we have a long way to go to realise all of our ambitions. We will always have a need for inspiration, we will always be open to new ideas, and we will welcome your input.

Take part in the RISE journey: work or volunteer for the organisation, learn with us, become an advisor or supporter. We will always welcome new skills.

At RISE we recognise that we do not work in an organisational vacuum: we work alongside a host of institutions, charities and social enterprises who complement, supplement and enhance the work that we do. We like to think that is a reciprocal process. We are now looking for organisations that we can call our associate or partner organisations - our friends and colleagues in education and community development, or companies with ethical and social benefits who are inspired by the same ambitions and aspirations for the social good. Please contact us if you would care to join us for a cup of tea, a cake and a chat.  

Volunteer with us

People from all walks of life volunteer with RISE for a variety of reasons. Whether as a step back into work after time out, to gain valuable experience or just to give something back, we can always find a place for people who want to support our programme: we are lucky to have a group of amazing volunteers who are vital to all that we do.

We have a strong track record of making volunteer places work for people, with a welcoming team ethic and supporting the development of their particular interests or careers. Volunteers often stay with us for the long term, with five volunteers part of the founder membership of the organisation and a number of volunteers moving into paid work with us when circumstances allowed. Others have used our provision as a stepping stone to college and careers elsewhere and we will always help to facilitate this.

If you are interested in volunteering with RISE, please contact Fiona Bourne by email.

Work for us

As an employee-owned not-for-profit organisation, we are focused on two things for staff: creating a great working environment for all, and supporting development wherever we can. For us, this means remunerating fairly, managing democratically and investing in training and career development. Since we are at the beginning of the RISE journey we must start small and dream big: our aspiration is to have everyone on a development and learning plan of their choosing, supporting professional and/or personal interest qualification. And for everyone to contribute to the organisation, through their role, in the way that they want; taking the role where they want to go with it.

What does this mean for us, as staff? That we can always see where we are going, and can always determine what we want to achieve.

What does it mean for you? We will not be looking for square pegs to fit round holes: talk to us about what you could bring to the table, inspire us, make us think about our provision in a different light. Whilst we have obligations to our learners, to our referrers, our families and funders, we are always looking for new ideas. Contact Martin Sumner if you want to talk about future careers in the organisation.

Opportunities currently available:  Check our Indeed page for more information.

Learn with us

We routinely provide for students and educators to take placements with us, and can accommodate a range of roles and responsibilities for prospective placements. Please contact Fiona Bourne for an informal discussion on our placement scheme.

Our goal is to provide life-long learning opportunities in our communities, as we build our funding and resources. Check back here or contact us for more details as programmes are developed.


Friends & Supporters

Donations make a considerable contribution to our efforts in sustaining a nurturing and therapeutic learning environment for vulnerable disadvantaged young people.
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We extend our sincere thanks to the following individuals & organisations who have supported RISE Learning Zone: