We are a busy and dynamic little organisation, and there always seems to be something on the go. Although we may get a bit behind, updates will appear here. For live information relating to closures, weather issues etc. please contact Fiona Bourne.

Summary Results 2016/17

[table cols=”Subject,Passes,Pass Rate” data=”Maths Level 2,1,100%,Maths Level 1,3,75%,English Level 1,3,75%,Maths Entry 3,1,50%,English Entry 3,3,100%,ICT Entry 3,7,87%,Occ.Studies L1 Certificate,2,50%,Nut. & Health L1 Award,8,100%”]

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.

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.

News Archive

Updates 2016/17

Updates 2015/16 [/col2] [col2]

Enterprising Students

Students have inspired staff with their work on two little enterprise projects, Eco-Thunder and Project Eternity. Planned as an internal project to look at good enterprise along with reminding ourselves about sustainability and the learners care for the planet, some incredible ideas have come up, and everyone is excited by the prospect of recycled paper, biodegradable plant pots with worm poo nourishment for the garden, and environmentally conscious soap. We have been lucky to be supported by the wonderful Harts Hotel in Nottingham who are donating their posh unused soap bars for recycling, so that we can prevent them from going to landfill and instead make new soap that could, in the future, return to the market – perhaps as a fundraiser for RISE. Next we will be looking at what to do with plastic waste, making use of this generally unwelcome resource with new and innovative uses. Perhaps our young entrepreneurs are now ready to take some of these ideas to the world, so our house brands Eco-Thunder and Project Eternity may be out there soon. #sustainable-procurement

Visit our enterprise page, here >

For supporting our young eco-entrepreneurs, our thanks to Harts Hotel, Nottingham >

An Environmental Holiday

Thanks to a generous grant from the Field Studies Council we will be taking fifteen learners and three lucky staff on a residential trip to Castle Head Field Centre just outside Morecombe in Lancashire in May. Linking in with our new environmental programme, learners will enjoy a range of environmental activities to add to their learning and understanding of the environment, during a three-day, two-night stay at the centre. For many it will be their first time away from home and a big step in their maturing lives to manage such a trip, and for the staff it will mean two sleepless nights and a few healthy challenges keeping everyone safe and happy. But the value it will add to our learners studies, and to their life experiences, are well worth the extra effort of the staff.

The Field Studies Council have funded 90% of the cost of the trip, amounting to more than £3000, and we will be going to their own wonderful facility on the north west coast. FSC believes that the more we understand about and take inspiration from the world around us the more we can appreciate its needs and protect its diversity and beauty for future generations – a message we wholeheartedly support here at RISE.

We’ll have a lottery to determine which staff are on the trip, and I’m sure they are all keeping their fingers crossed.

Castle Head Field Centre >

Worm Farming

Worms are the future. RISE welcomed the world-renowned wormologist Anna de la Vega, recently back from the USA, Cuba and Austria, to establish a worm farm with our learners. Why? Worms produce the best compost – Anna calls it Magic Manure – which will be ideal to go with our new growing projects at Balloon Woods. We will be feeding them the waste food from our school dinners and cooking projects to compost down for our gardens. In a fully closed-loop system, we will use the manure – the worm poo – to feed the soil and grow the food, we’ll cook and eat the produce we grow, give the waste to the worms, they will eat the waste, and we will use it to grow more food. Clean and green.

Did you know?

  • Worms have five hearts.
  • A worm can eat its own bodyweight in waste food in 24 hours.
  • When you cut a worm in two, it DOESN’T make two worms – so don’t do that, please.
  • Charles Darwin said “worms are more powerful than the African Elephant and are more important to the economy than the cow” – and he knew a thing or two about animals.
  • Worms are hermaphrodites. But they still need another worm-friend to make babies.
  • In the right conditions worms will double their population in 70 days.

… we didn’t know these things either. But since becoming the first school in the UK to compost all our organic waste with worms, we’ve been learning all this, and more.

Visit our worm page, here >

– and our extraordinary friend, Anna, from The Urban Worm >

New academic year, new site, new opportunity

Our first full year in our new home begins after a busy summer of preparation and recruitment. From installing windows and a new fire alarm system into our building, to recruiting a new Forest Schools leader to develop our environmental, horticulture and conservation curriculum, and making an ambitious bid to create a Woodland Kitchen on the site, we have hit the ground running for the autumn term and don’t expect to get much of a rest this academic year. For this third academic year as RISE we introduce a key stage 3 curriculum for younger learners aged 11-14 and we go live this year with our independent schools admission too, which means OFSTED will be out to visit at some point and we’ll be working hard to impress with our vision. We start the new academic year already fully booked on available part time and full time places, so we know from our referring partners that we are on the right track and offering a provision that is valued by schools, parents and learners. 

Forest School

We welcome a new staff member in Forest Schools tutor Kat Gillen, who will be leading our efforts to connect with the environment and develop core programmes to fulfil our ‘Grow Together, Cook Together, Eat Together’ mission for social and vocational development. In this first year we plan to offer Forest School sessions for all learners, allowing them to connect with the outdoors in ways led by them as active participants; additionally Kat will be introducing our horticultural qualifications as part of our new Vocational Studies package for key stage 3 and 4 learners, and will help to build new growing areas on the site.

Woodland Kitchen Bid

During the summer we had an unexpected opportunity to bid into a major trust fund for the construction of a Woodland Kitchen. Using sustainable materials including straw bales, green wood harvested from Balloon Wood itself and turf roofing, we plan to construct a new kitchen and classroom for our cooking programmes, including a fully equipped catering kitchen, with a class that can double as a cafeteria with an additional outdoor cooking facility cob oven. The Woodland Kitchen would create a perfect hub for vocational development as well as provide a potential community facility for extended programmes. Initially the plan had been to bid for such a facility after a year on the site but an opportunity came along that we couldn’t ignore – including some very interesting potential partners who kindly drew up some architectural designs for us: watch this space, it could be a very exciting project indeed. Update 10/01/18: Sadly we were unsuccessful with this bid, but it was all a bit rushed and unexpected – we have gone back to the drawing board to replan our project in more detail for a planned major funding round in the autumn… the Woodland Kitchen dream is not over, by any means.