Updates 2016/17


Second academic year results


Results are in for our learners in the second year of our alternative provision, as we prepare to move to new premises and begin an adventure in the woodland environment that we will be calling home.

This year we worked with eight year-11 learners who were studying some or all of our functional skills Maths, English and ICT; Occupational Studies, Personal & Social Development, Health & Nutrition and Cooking.

SubjectPassesPass Rate
Maths Level 21100%
Maths Level 1375%
English Level 1375%
Maths Entry 3150%
English Entry 33100%
ICT Entry 3787%
Occ.Studies L1 Certificate250%
Nut. & Health L1 Award8100%

Of the cohort, all eight successfully achieved at least two qualifications, whilst seven of the eight achieved two or more functional skills qualifications. Additionally, one year-10 learner successfully passed Entry Level 3 Maths; while four learners achieved a level 1 award in Health and Nutrition.

Balloon Woods


As mentioned in the previous post, RISE Learning Zone is growing up, and moving out. After an amazing two years at NGY, where we were allowed to find our feet and begin this extraordinary journey, it is time to create our own space and really lay some foundations for the future. We have been granted the most amazing opportunity to do just that, as we move into our new site at Balloon Woods, in Bramcote. Formerly the Balloon Woods Adventure Playground, we will be taking over the site set in a hectare of woodland, as the city looks to re-energise a facility that has falling attendance and limited services. We have some bold plans for the site, over the short, medium and long term; and the location and facilities have solidified our general direction of the work we hope to do: using food to develop personal, social and vocational skills, and to connect food with the wider context of the environment, horticulture, and conservation. We could not have hoped for a better site in which to establish our developing philosophy: Grow Together, Cook Together, Eat Together.

RISE Restaurant

RISE is moving – as yet, we are unable to disclose the new location for the next exciting step in RISE’ progress from a staff post-redundancy start-up to independent school, but it is going to be a huge leap forward for us. In the meantime, to thank everyone who has helped us along the way – and to show off our newly-acquired cooking skills – RISE staff and learners created RISE Restaurant: a full term of development work inside and outside of the curriculum leading to a two day live restaurant project at NGY. With the kind support of MOD Pizza, recently opened in the Market Square, Nottingham, we offered a free, three-course meal to eighteen guests per day for two days – with a genuine menu of options including four main meals – salmon, curried chicken, pizza or veggie burger – and the house speciality RISE Brownie dessert. Creating the theme and decor, designing the menu, managing the floor, cooking all the food, waiting on and cleaning up, this provided the full experience of the catering industry for our learners, and impressed thirty-six VIP diners with fine food and quality service!

A RISE Restaurant page will follow soon with full details of this exciting and brilliantly delivered project; watch for the link here.

A gold medal for RISE

RISE has completed it’s quality assurance inspections with Nottingham City Secondary Education Partnership and came out with a silver/gold rating overall. In particular we are pleased to have been awarded gold status for Leadership & Management, which tells us we are moving in the right direction with our operational and strategic development. A gold medal for us!

Independent School status

Today we were officially awarded Independent School status by the Department for Education, which is a fantastic achievement after only a year of operation. The status confirms our belief that we can offer a solid education to some of the most disadvantaged learners in the city, and is a foundation on which to build an outstanding provision for a small cohort of learners who need us to help them progress toward college, apprenticeships and employment. For RISE Learning Zone CIC this is an important step in securing our future, as the choppy waters of alternative provision regulation may swallow up all but the best providers. We know we can lead the way in a specialised field.

RISE will begin admitting learners onto the Independent School roll either in the summer term 2017 or more likely the autumn 2017/18, beginning in September next year.

New school year, new staff, new courses

Having completed our first school year as an independent organisation having started up from the ashes of a youth project that was abandoned by it’s major charity operator, we can celebrate moving into a second year knowing that we managed to steer our learners through their studies without any disruption; that we didn’t run out of money and everyone got paid on time, and that we head into our second academic year with a growing reputation for the quality of the work we are doing with learners, families and referrers. We also had our independent schools assessment visit from OFSTED over the summer and we believe we have done well – we wait and see.

Thanks to the big success of cooking as an informal course provided by staff member Holly Fretwell, we have been inspired to build our offer around catering and cooking – whether that be looking at healthy living, the social and personal development aspects of food, or the vocational potential for leavers with a good set of kitchen and cooking skills. In the first year we will offer a level 1 unit in basic food preparation for learners as part of their Occupational Studies coursework as well as beginning a two-year level 1 certificate in food and cookery for more committed learners who are thinking about working or studying in catering and related industries.

This tear we also welcome Andre Nichols into the fold. Andre was a sessional worker with the old charity project who provided some nice media study qualifications in the studios at NGY. As we don’t have access to the facilities or equipment as an independent organisation we won’t be able to offer such qualifications this year, but with Andre on board we’ll be developing a host of creative projects within other subjects.