The Rural Enterprise Academy
phone: 01785 333360
principal: Mrs Lorraine Makin
300 pupils capacity: 28% full
30 boys 36%
55 girls 65%
Last updated: June 24, 2014
Secondary — Free Schools
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Free Schools
- Establishment #
- Open date
- Aug. 17, 2012
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 392176, Northing: 311645
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 52.702, Longitude: -2.1172
- Accepting pupils
- 14—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- March 12, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- West Midlands › Stafford › Penkridge South East
- Village - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- Learning provider ref #
- Rodbaston College ST195PH
- 0.8 miles Watling House ST195PR
- 0.8 miles Peak Education ST195PR (16 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Princefield First School ST195EP (239 pupils)
- 1.6 mile St Michael's CofE (A) First School ST195DJ (126 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Wolgarston High School ST195RX (758 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Marshbrook First School ST195BA (122 pupils)
- 1.9 mile Penkridge Middle School ST195BW (382 pupils)
- 2.3 miles Vernon Lodge Preparatory School ST199LJ (58 pupils)
- 2.9 miles St Paul's CofE (C) First School WV95AD (169 pupils)
- 3 miles St Mary and St Chad CofE (C) First School ST199BT (133 pupils)
- 3 miles St Dominic's High School for Girls ST199BA (220 pupils)
- 3.1 miles St Mary's Catholic Primary School ST199BG (92 pupils)
- 3.1 miles Brewood CofE (C) Middle School ST199DS (346 pupils)
- 3.2 miles Walhouse CofE (C) Junior School WS111HN
- 3.3 miles Littleton Green Community School WS124UD (367 pupils)
- 3.3 miles St Lukes CofE Primary School WS111HN (466 pupils)
- 3.4 miles Longford Primary School WS111PD (372 pupils)
- 3.4 miles Havergal CofE (C) Primary School WV107LE (195 pupils)
- 3.4 miles Cardinal Griffin Catholic High School WS114AW (906 pupils)
- 3.4 miles Longford Junior School WS111PD
- 3.4 miles Havergal CofE (C) Primary School WV107LE
- 3.7 miles John Wood CofE (A) Infants School WS111AP
- 3.7 miles Sherbrook Primary School WS115SA (84 pupils)
The Rural Enterprise Academy
Rodbaston Campus, Penkridge, ST19 5PH
|Inspection dates||12–13 March 2014|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Previous inspection:||Not previously inspected|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| Most students have made good progress in |
The curriculum is well suited to students’
Teaching in English and business studies is
their learning from their low starting points
when they joined in Year 10, especially in
English where their progress is outstanding.
interests and intended career paths,
particularly for those wanting to work with
outstanding and most of it is good in other
| Students behave well in lessons and they are |
Senior leaders and governors provide effective
Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the
kept safe in the academy.
leadership and ensure improvement in
teaching and achievement. They are highly
committed to the academy and share a strong
vision for students to succeed academically and
high level of personal care and support their
children receive. Vulnerable students are well
supported. Guidance for students’ next steps in
their education is good.
| Students do not make as much progress in |
A small proportion of teaching requires
mathematics as they do in English.
improvement. Teaching does not always
stretch the most-able students.
| There has been limited external verification of |
Leadership responsibilities have not been
the quality of the academy’s work.
extended to subject coordinators.
|Inspection report:||The Rural Enterprise Academy, 12–13 March 2014||2 of 10|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 16 lessons, of which five were jointly observed with either the Principal or
the Assistant Principal. In addition, inspectors made a number of other short visits to lessons.
- Meetings were held with groups of students, three parents, members of staff including senior
leaders, the Chair of the Governing Body and other governors, and representatives of the main
sponsor, South Staffordshire College.
- There were insufficient responses for inspectors to take account of the online questionnaire,
Parent View. However, inspectors took note of an academy questionnaire completed by 40
parents at a parents’ meeting the night before the inspection started and two emails received
- Inspectors took account of surveys completed by 11 members of staff.
- A visit was made by an inspector to see the animal-care provision delivered by South
Staffordshire College on the same site as the academy.
- Inspectors observed the academy’s work and scrutinised a number of documents, including the
academy’s own self-evaluation, data on students’ recent attainment and progress, behaviour and
attendance logs, policies including safeguarding, external reviews including reports from the
Department for Education.
|Mark Sims, Lead inspector||Her Majesty’s Inspector|
|Colin Lower||Additional Inspector|
|Glen Goddard||Additional Inspector|
|Inspection report:||The Rural Enterprise Academy, 12–13 March 2014||3 of 10|
Information about this school
- The academy is smaller than the average-sized secondary school and is sponsored by South
Staffordshire College, Veolia and the National Farmers Union.
- The large majority of students come from White British backgrounds. The proportion of students
from minority ethnic backgrounds is low as is that of those known to speak English as an
- The proportion of students supported through the pupil premium (pupils for whom the academy
receives additional funding, including those known to be eligible for free school meals) is below
the national average.
- The proportion of disabled students and those who have special educational needs supported
through school action plus, school action or with a statement of special educational needs is
- The academy opened as a free school in September 2012. Consequently, no students have yet
taken GCSE examinations so there is no data to compare with the government’s current floor
standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress.
- The academy currently has students in Years 10 and 11 only. There are plans for a sixth form to
open in September 2014.
- The academy offers up to 9 GCSEs and 5 BTEC qualifications.
- The academy is currently under subscribed.
- No students receive off-site alternative provision.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Increase students’ progress in mathematics to be in line with that in English by making sure
teaching in mathematics is as good as it is in most subjects
more-able students are consistently challenged to do as well as they can in all of their lessons
additional support and intervention are effective for all students involved.
- Strengthen leadership and management by:
extending leadership responsibilities to include subject leaders
ensuring greater external validation of the work of the academy.
|Inspection report:||The Rural Enterprise Academy, 12–13 March 2014||4 of 10|
|The achievement of pupils is good|
- Students are on track to achieve broadly average standards of five or more GCSE grades A* to C
including English and mathematics. On entry to Year 10, students’ attainment was below that
usually found at the end of Year 9. There are no examination results available for past cohorts
but the current Year 11 have been tracked closely at regular intervals under examination
conditions. Students’ work in their books and regular checking by senior leaders indicate that
assessment information is accurate.
- The proportion of students making expected or more-than-expected progress in English and
mathematics since the start of Year 10 is higher than the latest equivalent national results of
expected or more-than-expected progress from Key Stage 2 to 4.
- Students are doing better in English, where they are making exceptional progress, than in
mathematics. There was a dip in the progress students made in mathematics at the beginning of
this academic year due to weak teaching which has been swiftly rectified. As a result of recent
interventions and staff changes, students are now making more rapid progress.
- Progress is good in all other subjects. The progress of different groups of students, including
those receiving additional support in literacy or numeracy, is checked rigorously by senior
- The gap in attainment in English and mathematics, between students eligible for the pupil
premium and that of other students, is narrowing for the small numbers of students involved in
Year 11. There is no attainment gap at all between the larger proportion of students eligible for
free school meals and others in Year 10.
- Disabled students and those who have special educational needs make similar progress to their
peers, as do the very small number of minority ethnic students who do not have English as their
- In lessons seen during the inspection, students made more rapid progress in those lessons
where tasks were challenging for all groups of learners. For example, in a Year 11 English lesson
students assessed each other’s essays using the GCSE grade criteria. This enabled them to
understand better what they had to do to reach their own target grade.
- More-able students are not always stretched in every lesson to do as well as they can, although
they are set challenging targets to achieve the highest possible grades. The school has not
considered early entry to GCSE examinations for some students.
- Most parents who responded to the academy survey felt that, overall, their children had made
good progress. A small minority acknowledged there had been some disruption to their children’s
learning in mathematics.
|The quality of teaching is good|
- The majority of teaching is good and some, particularly in English and business studies, is
|Inspection report:||Error! No text of specified style in document., 12–13 March 2014||5 of 10|
- Teachers mostly set high expectations for all students to achieve as well as they can. Tasks are
challenging but engaging for students, who enjoy their learning. Students’ interests and future
ambitions are well supported and there is a high level of emphasis on practical activities.
Students are inspired to learn through working with animals in a real farm environment.
- Most teachers are very successful at setting work that is appropriate for more-able students and
those who find learning difficult. They deploy additional adults well to provide effective support
and are successful at getting students to help each other.
- Students know how well they are doing and what they need to do to improve. The very best
marking contains clear written guidance on how to reach their target grade. In English and
business studies, students are involved in assessing their own and others’ assignments which, in
turn, helps them with their own work.
- Teachers help students to develop their literacy, numeracy and information and communication
technology skills – for example, identifying key vocabulary that will be required across all their
subjects. There is effective extra help to support those who have fallen behind in literacy and
- In a small number of lessons and intervention sessions where teaching requires improvement,
students all do similar tasks which do not sufficiently stretch the most-able.
- No inadequate teaching was seen during the inspection. However, leaders’ records indicate that
for a brief time at the start of the year some teaching in mathematics was inadequate having
previously been good. This has been quickly addressed, although some teaching still requires
- A small minority of parents who responded to the academy survey or emailed inspectors had
well-founded concerns about the previous provision in mathematics.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils are good|
- The behaviour of students is good. They behave well in lessons and around the academy. They
are polite and courteous and considerate towards others. They work well together in lessons and
have good relationships with the adults who work with them. They enjoy their learning and have
high expectations of themselves.
- The number of exclusions has fallen rapidly since the first year the academy opened. Where
there are reported incidents, swift and effective action is taken by senior leaders. Repeat
offences are exceptionally rare. Students feel confident that if they report an incident it will be
dealt with well by senior leaders.
- Students have a very strong sense of right and wrong. They have a wide understanding of
diversity within the United Kingdom and, through a wide range of trips and meeting visitors to
the academy, a good understanding of the wider world. They have numerous opportunities to
take responsibilities, such as looking after the animals.
- The large majority of parents who responded to the academy survey agreed that behaviour is
managed well in the academy.
|Inspection report:||Error! No text of specified style in document., 12–13 March 2014||6 of 10|
- In almost all lessons, including those few that require improvement, students remain engaged
and enthusiastic about their learning although at times a few allow their minds to wander and
they become inattentive. Occasionally, they are slow to respond to teachers’ prompts and
questions. No disruptive behaviour was seen during the inspection.
- Attendance is improving and is currently above the national average. Attendance clinics are held
where there are concerns, including for those supported by the pupil premium.
- The school’s work to keep students safe and secure is good. The extent to which students feel
safe is also good. This is confirmed in the formal and informal discussions with students. The site
is secure and the only criticism students had was that, if anything, it was too confining.
- Students know how to keep themselves safe in a range of situations and are acutely aware of
the dangers of cyber bullying as well as other types of bullying linked to racism and
homophobia. There are few such incidents reported.
- All parents who responded to the academy survey agreed that the academy keeps their children
|The leadership and management are good|
- The Principal and Assistant Principal lead the academy by example, setting out a clear vision for
its future success. They are determined that standards should be as high as possible while, at
the same time, providing their students with a well-rounded education. Targets set for students
are challenging. Responses from the staff survey indicate that staff fully support senior leaders
in the direction they are leading the academy.
- Leaders’ judgements of the strengths and weaknesses of the academy are accurate. Where
weaknesses have been identified. For example, previously in mathematics, they have taken firm
and swift action to bring about improvements in teaching. Elsewhere through regular checking,
training and support there have also been improvements in teaching, leading to examples of
teaching becoming outstanding.
- Senior leaders track students’ progress regularly and thoroughly and analyse trends by groups as
well as by individual student. Support is introduced quickly if a student is identified as falling
behind. The achievement of students eligible for free school meals is also closely checked.The
pupil premium is used effectively to provide additional support, for example, through Easter
revision courses and additional resources, in order to close the gap in achievement, especially in
- Arrangements for performance management of teachers are rigorous to ensure there is a close
match between pay and teachers’ performance. In joint lesson observations with senior leaders
and inspectors, there was a close match in judgements. Teachers are held to account through
regular checking of students’ work and achievement.
- Students are highly positive about the guidance they receive through dedicated weekly careers
sessions. Students receive a programme of trips and visitors that include local businesses and
universities. Most are clear about their next steps in education.
|Inspection report:||Error! No text of specified style in document., 12–13 March 2014||7 of 10|
- The curriculum matches the aspirations of students well and reflects the large farming
community in the area. It has good balance of academic and land-based vocational routes.
There is a wide range of rural-based extra-curricular activities involving working with animals
and enrichment activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Additional
interventions are not always accurately matched to the needs of all the learners in the group.
Although the time allocated for formal physical education lessons is limited, this is compensated
for through physical land-based activities and the provision of sports clubs.
- Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well through thematic assemblies,
where there are opportunities to reflect and show concern for humans and animals. The rural
setting and range of livestock enable students to appreciate the beauty of nature.
- The academy regularly surveys the views of parents and takes account of any concerns they
raise. All parents who responded to the academy survey agreed that the academy is led well.
Parents are particularly positive about the quality of care and support their children receive,
particularly for disabled students and those who have special educational needs.
- All safeguarding arrangements are met and checks are carried out thoroughly. All policies and
required procedures are in place to ensure students’ health and safety.
- Due to the small size of the academy, almost all of the leadership responsibility falls on the
shoulders on the academy’s senior leaders. There are no subject leaders or other middle leaders.
However senior leaders are planning to build capacity to improve further by extending leadership
opportunities, for example, in English and in the sixth form due to open in September 2014.
- There has been some external verification of the work of the academy but, to date, this has
- The governance of the school:
The governing body provides a good balance of support and challenge to the academy’s senior
leaders. Governors are highly aspirational in seeking to achieve standards in line with the
national average in the academy’s first set of GCSE examination results.
Achievement of students is checked closely through the work of the performance committee
and through regular governor visits to the academy.
Governors know strengths and weaknesses in the academy well, including teaching, and have
robust performance management procedures in place.
Governors make sure that safeguarding procedures are as rigorous as they can be and check
the academy is meeting all its statutory responsibilities.
They ensure that the academy is making good use of its resources and in partnership with its
main sponsor, South Staffordshire College, which has supported the academy financially as it
They are aware how the pupil premium is spent and are asking searching questions about
how eligible students achieve, but recognise there is further to do in assessing its impact.
There are no literacy or numeracy link governors in place at present.
|Inspection report:||The Rural Enterprise Academy, 12–13 March 2014||8 of 10|
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes |
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures
that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
|Grade 2||Good||A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well |
for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage
of their education, training or employment.
|Grade 3||Requires |
|A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it |
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school that requires special measures is one where the school is |
failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and
the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
|Inspection report:||The Rural Enterprise Academy, 12–13 March 2014||9 of 10|
|Unique reference number||138351|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Academy free school|
|Age range of pupils||14–16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||83|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||N/A|
|Telephone number||01785 333360|