The Society of Merchant Venturers is made up of leaders from Bristol’s business, creative and educational community, who aim to bring inspiration and excellence to education in the West of England.
The Society has a long and successful experience of involvement in schools and school improvement. This support for local education has achieved a step change over the past ten years.
A decade ago the Society of Merchant Venturers' contribution to local education focused on two schools, Colston’s School and Colston’s Girls’ School.
The Society took the decision to sponsor one of the first academies in Bristol through the conversion of Withywood Community School to become Merchants’ Academy. This is now a much improved school with increased value and levels in attainment.
The decision to make Colston’s Girls’ School an academy has seen its numbers rise from 380 to 1,400 and it remains one of the best in the country in terms of non-selective state schools and is a leader in the region for academic standards.
Subsequently, there has been increased involvement in Primary education, taking into the fold six Primary schools within the Venturers’ Trust.
The latest addition to the Society of Merchant Venturers’ family of schools is Venturers' Academy, which the Society sponsors together with the University of Bristol. The new school will have places for 84 children aged from four to 16 and will meet increasing demand for high-quality specialist autism provision from across Bristol and the surrounding area.
The Venturers’ Trust brings together the Society of Merchant Venturers’ educational interests and responsibilities, providing a vehicle for future expansion and improvements.
The University of Bristol is an important partner for the Venturers’ Trust.
The University is the co-sponsor for Merchants’ Academy, nominating governors who make a significant contribution to the quality of education provision within the Academy.
The University of Bristol is resolutely committed to supporting the aspirations and attainment of all students. It has worked hard to develop a bespoke programme of activities for Merchants’ Academy students, including:
visits to the University
academic taster sessions
priority access to work experience placements
University of Bristol undergraduates support pupils in the classroom through established mentoring and tutoring programmes. The University has a particular focus on ensuring that students from the Academy progress to higher education and a range of activities take place with post-sixteen students. This includes hosting and assisting with the Academy’s annual Sixth Form induction and participation is guaranteed on Access to Bristol University and summer schools.
Bristol University looks forward to the development of the Venturers' Trust and will continue to work closely with the Society of Merchant Venturers to ensure that all Academy students receive the very best education, from pre-school to sixth form.