Consultation Letter

Printable copy of letter below: Consultation Letter February 2016

Consultation Letter Response Form February 2016



17 February 2016


Dear Madam / Sir

Reference:    Consultation on the proposal to change the age range of the Robert Owen Academy from 14-19 (Years 10-13) to 13-19 (Years 9-13)


The Proposal

Following discussions by the academy Trust and Governing Body and after considering the present age range of the academy, it has been agreed to establish a consultation exercise to consider the proposal to change the age of entry to the academy from aged 14 (Year 10) to aged 13 (Year 9).

The academy will remain on its existing site on Blackfriars Street and will take in students in Year 9, 10 and 12 in the academic year 2016/17 and then in Year 9 and 12 from 2017/18 onwards.

The area serviced by the academy, sometimes called ‘the catchment area’ will remain the same with the academy drawing students from across the six counties of:

  • Herefordshire
  • Worcestershire
  • South Shropshire
  • North Gloucestershire
  • Powys
  • Monmouthshire

The current admission arrangements will also remain in place and in line with the Local Authority co-ordinated admissions process where relevant.

Academy context and vision

The academy was established to provide technical and vocational education to students currently studying at Key Stage 4 and 5.  Where students have been unable to access work-based learning or vocational qualifications in their current school, the academy offers a range of vocational courses and extended work placements that provide learners of all abilities the opportunity to build a realistic career pathway.

Rationale for change

Since opening in 2013, it has become increasingly clear that students attending the academy with an interest in technical and vocational education have, in many cases, become less engaged with a more traditional curriculum and have often struggled to make the progress expected of them and their peers.  Often this lack of progress is not down to ability but more to motivation and relevance.  At the academy, we aim to bridge the gap between technical concepts and a range of vocational contexts which for some learners is a challenge and requires us to spend more time on the fundamental building blocks.

In order to make certain that all our learners are able to fully embrace the challenges that work placements and vocational training can bring, the Trust has recognised that a foundation learning year will be essential if students are to be able to take on higher level GCSE, technical and vocational qualifications by the start of their Key Stage 4 programmes of study.

Students mature at very different rates and moving into a more adult orientated placement requires a clear understanding of the different social behaviours expected from an employee or trainee.  It is therefore the intention to use the foundation year to also develop many of the inter-personal skills that many young learners struggle with such as communicating with adults other than parents and teachers, resilience to set-backs, problem solving and risk taking.

The Trust is committed to providing the young people of the Six Counties area with high quality education and training opportunities. Every step necessary to ensure that the transition from feeder schools is smooth and that rates of progress are accelerated where this is necessary must be considered.  The Trust has completed a number of discussions with interested parties and agreed that a reduction in the admission age will support learners to make effective transitions.

What happens next?

As part of the statutory process, the Trust is now opening a formal consultation with all interested parties from 22nd February to 28th March 2016.  We are keen to hear your views and will then consider the feedback received ahead of making a final decision to notify the Secretary of State in writing of the intent to change the admission age range.  If the proposal goes ahead and receives approval from the Secretary of State, students would be admitted to the academy in Year 9 from September 2016 onwards.

Timetable: Key dates in the decision making process

Date Time Key activity
Monday 22 February 2016 Start of consultation period
Wednesday 16 March 2016


6.00pm Public consultation meeting,

Robert Owen Academy

Thursday 17 March 2016


3.30-6.00pm Drop in sessions at Robert Owen Academy
Monday 28 March 2016


5.00pm End of consultation period
Tuesday 29 March 2016


10.30am Meeting of the Robert Owen Academy Trust Executive to receive feedback from consultation and finalise decision to proceed or otherwise
Wednesday 30 March 2016 Formal request sent to the Secretary of State re change of admission age range

If approval is received:

If approval to proceed is received, notice will be served to all interested parties (including those local authorities from within whose boundaries students may be recruited) that the change to the Academy’s published admission age range will take effect from September 1st 2016.

Have your say.

It is essential that the Trust consults widely on this proposal and takes into account the views of current and potential stakeholders.  This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. Attendance at the formal consultation meeting to be held at the Robert Owen Academy, Blackfriars Street, Hereford HR4 9HS on Wednesday 16 March at 6.00pm
  2. In writing, by completing the attached questionnaire, and returning this to Roger Davies, Governance Officer, c/o Robert Owen Academy at the above address
  3. Attendance at drop-in sessions to be held at the academy on Thursday 17 March from 3.30pm to 6.00pm


Yours sincerely



Mr Christopher Morgan

Chair of The Robert Owen Academies Trust


Consultation Letter Response Form February 2016



Consultation Letter February 2016