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City Learning Trust to launch new Enterprise Academy for Stoke-on-Trent

The Department for Education has approved City Learning Trust’s plans to create ‘City Enterprise Academy’, a new 100 place Alternative Provision academy in Stoke-on-Trent, which will open in 2018.

City Enterprise Academy will specialise in providing high quality alternative provision places, with a forward-looking and innovative approach to all aspects of learning. The ethos of the school will be aspirational; a personalised education will be achieved through an exciting, engaging curriculum delivered by highly-qualified staff with knowledge and understanding of young people who find mainstream education challenging.

Carl Ward, Chief Executive, City Learning Trust, said: “The City Learning Trust is passionate about giving young people across Stoke-on-Trent the best opportunities in life. Our young people can be susceptible to low aspirations and self-esteem, and figures currently indicate that significantly more students in our city are excluded from their full-time education placement than students in other areas of the country. The City Learning Trust schools are committed to working to reduce these figures by providing students who do not succeed in mainstream education with a well-matched alternative provision.”

Sian Hughes, Principal Designate, said: “Joining City Enterprise Academy will give learners a fresh start, leading to a bright future. We will help them to achieve qualifications and gain skills to equip them for re-integration into mainstream education or to guide them to onward progression into further education and employment. The school will be inclusive in every aspect, and will offer a diverse range of pathways to enable our learners to reach their potential, achieve success and to give them a sense of purpose.”

The curriculum has been developed for all learners to gain academic and vocational qualifications, develop self-belief, and increase their self-esteem to equip them for further study or the world of work.

School leaders will work with business partners, including Autonet Insurance and Business Enterprise Solutions to create an entrepreneurial approach to turning around the life chances of students.

Sian Hughes added: “In addition to English, Maths, Science, Computer Studies and Business Studies, our learners will work with business mentors to develop real-life enterprise projects that will motivate and inspire them to become rounded successful adults.

“They will qualify with an Employability Diploma accredited by our partner, Pearson, and will move on to the Work-Based Learning Programme that has been successfully developed by the Trust’s Haywood Sixth Form Academy. We will then help them to move into supported apprenticeships with our business partners across the city.

“We will also include our students in the City Learning Trust business mentors’ scheme to help them develop entrepreneurial skills and to explore the possibility of setting up their own businesses.”

Young people will join the Academy with a wide range of needs, and therefore the Academy will have high staff ratios to ensure that each learner is well-supported. Staff, trained in multi-agency working, will develop an individual support plan for each learner. A learning coach will work alongside each student, providing assistance as required. Therapeutic support will be offered to improve wellbeing, foster self-belief and confidence, and promote a positive mind-set.

Sian Hughes added: “Young people will be shown how to learn from life experiences, to build on those foundations effectively, and to recreate their future. My experience is that once young people believe in themselves, they are then enabled to engage with formal learning in a positive way.”

Sian Hughes concludes: “We are making an absolute commitment that we will not fail our young people, especially our most vulnerable. We need to remove the barriers these young people face, whether physical, mental or emotional, to ensure that they have the confidence and self-belief to achieve their potential.”

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The staff here are excited about the extensive opportunities for collaborative working, sharing of teaching and learning expertise and resources and partnership development work, all of which will provide excellent learning opportunities for the children of our city.

Sharon Bates

Headteacher, Mill Hill Primary School