Admissions – General Information

Applying to The JCB Academy

  • Applications to join The JCB Academy are open from 1 August to 31 January.
  • We have an 18-mile (crows-flight) catchment area radius from ST14 5JX, but you can still apply if you fall outside of this radius. You can check if you’re within the radius by clicking here.
  • If we are over-subscribed (which we have been since we opened) then candidates are randomly selected through an independent computer-generated numbering system.
  • All applicants must have completed the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) in order to be eligible for the random allocation.

For further information please see our FAQs below.

Apply here

GL Assessment Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT)

All applicants are required to take a Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) at the academy to be eligible for our selection process. A date will be allocated to you shortly after you apply. The date/time will be either an evening, a Saturday or during a school holiday period.

For further information please see our FAQs below.

Financial Commitments

We would like to make you aware that when you join The JCB Academy there are the following financial commitments:

  • Laptop** @ £600* (payable in monthly installments)
  • Harper Adams Residential Trip @ £250* (Year 9 only)
  • Transport @ £750* (payable in monthly installments)
  • Uniform and Engineering Kit @ £200* (subject to items purchased)
  • TOTAL for;
    • Year 9 starters £1,800
    • Year 10 starters £1,550

Financial support is available in relation to uniform, school transport and educational trips – for further information please click here.

*Please note that all prices are approximate and will be subject to change.
**Due to software licenses, specification and configuration to school servers, you cannot supply your own laptop.


  • Morning Pick-Up Times: The earliest pick-up time for each route is scheduled to commence at approximately 7:00 am. This ensures that learners have ample time to embark on their journey to the academy.
  • Travel Routes: Our buses follow main roads, optimizing the efficiency of the commute. Stops within towns and villages are kept to a minimum to maintain punctuality and keep the routes as direct as possible.
  • Annual Route Review: We conduct an annual review of our bus routes to ensure they remain effective and efficient. However, it’s important to note that due to the vast catchment area we serve, we cannot guarantee the availability of local stops for all learners. Nonetheless, the core routes detailed in the following pages are expected to remain largely unchanged.
  • Primary Stop Allocation: Each learner is assigned a primary stop based on their location. Should your son or daughter require the use of an alternative bus service due to exceptional circumstances, we encourage you to make arrangements with Learner Reception at least one week in advance. It’s essential to note that while we make every effort to accommodate such requests, our capacity may limit our ability to do so.
  • Request for Additional Routes: In cases where learners need to utilise an additional route on a permanent basis, it’s possible to make such a request. However, we want to emphasise that while we will do our best to meet these requests, we cannot guarantee the availability of these additional routes.
  • More Information: If you’d like to access further details about our transportation services, please visit our website at This resource contains comprehensive information regarding our routes, services, and any updates or changes that may occur.
  • Costs: The cost of the annual transport is approximately £750*. Payments can be made in full, or in 10 equal instalments, paid by Direct Debit.

* Based on the previous year’s cost

FAQs – The JCB Academy

  1. Is there an application criteria? There is an 18-mile radius catchment area, but no other criteria. If The JCB Academy is over-subscribed (which it has been since it opened) then candidates are randomly selected.
  2. How does the application process work? Each applicant must sit the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) to identify their cognitive ability. Learners are then placed into one of four bands based on their mean score across the three tests. A random allocation of places will then take place for learners within each band.
  3. How do I apply? You can apply to The JCB Academy and The JCB Academy Sixth Form via their websites.
  4. Is there an entrance exam? There is not an entrance exam, however applicants are required to sit a Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) to be eligible for entry.
  5. Is there a sixth form? Yes, The JCB Academy Sixth Form offers diplomas in engineering and business, a T-level in Engineering and Manufacturing and a range of A-level subjects.
  6. Is The JCB Academy private/fee-paying? No, The JCB Academy is a free school that is funded by the Department for Education.
  7. Is there a transport service? Yes, there are several transport routes within the surrounding area dedicated to The JCB Academy’s learners.
  8. What curriculum is offered? Learners follow the core subjects of English, mathematics, and science; the remaining curriculum is tailored around engineering and business.
  9. Is it a boys’ school? No, The JCB Academy is a co-educational school with an ever-growing intake of girls year on year.
  10. What is your connection with JCB? The JCB Academy is sponsored by JCB and, alongside other businesses including Rolls-Royce, Bosch Rexroth, National Grid, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK), they form our Core Challenge Partners who together develop our unique curriculum and learning techniques.
  11. Do learners go on to work for JCB? All learners leaving The JCB Academy have the same pathways as any other school: further/higher education, apprenticeship or employment.

FAQs – Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT)

  1. What is the purpose of the CAT? To ensure The JCB Academy takes learners across the ability range.
  2. What if a learner doesn’t pass the CAT? There is no pass or fail, the CAT is only used to allocate learners to the relevant band.
  3. When and where will the CAT take place? Learners be notified of the date and time of the CAT which will be at The JCB Academy.
  4. What is the duration of the CAT? The CAT comprises three 45 minute separate tests: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, quantitative.
  5. What is the content of the CAT? For further information on the CAT, please visit
  6. How can a learner prepare for the CAT? The CAT is a test of cognitive processing and it is not something learners can prepare for. However, to ensure we get a true impression of your son/daughter, it is helpful if they are relaxed and know that there is no pass/fail.
  7. Can I get extra time in my CAT? No additional time will be allocated as the aim is to allocate a learner to the band. Headphones will be provided to ensure all can access the questions.
  8. Will the CAT be paper-based or completed on a computer? The test is computer-based.
  9. Who marks the CAT? The test is marked online by independent assessors.
  10. Will a place be offered without taking the CAT? Unfortunately, we can only accept applications if you have taken the CAT.
  11. I’ve took the CAT last year when I applied for Year 9, do I have to re-sit the CAT? If you have previously applied for Year 9 and we’re unsuccessful and took the CAT as part of that application, then you won’t have to retake the CAT again.