Preparation for Adulthood
Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) is about enabling and empowering, children, young people and adults with SEND as well as their families to prepare for a smooth transition from children’s right through to adulthood. At Saxon Hill, we focus on the below four pillars of the Preparing for Adulthood (PfA):
- opportunities for further education and employment
- independent living including access to supported living
- having friends, relationships and being part of the community
- being healthy
The transition years from childhood to adulthood raises new challenges and opportunities for most individuals however, for young people with SEND, the transition may take longer and will likely require additional preparation.
Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) is woven into the curriculum at Saxon Hill Academy, starting in our Explorers (EYFS) Department, progressing as pupils develop. In the Adventurers (secondary) Department, pupils undertake discrete PfA sessions and opportunities, such as trips out into the community, organising fundraising events, developing further independence and having a range of visitors speak on future careers. Once in the Towards Independence Department, work-experience sessions and accessing the community is embedded into the curriculum. Pupils also visit colleges, choose which careers talks they would like to attend and actively participate in the local Rotary Club.
Community Work Experience Placements
Saxon Hill has established several community based work placements in order to provide real work environments for our students to develop work and employability skills. This enables our students to work within real business environments, and develop a range of vocational skills while developing their functional numeracy, literacy and communication skills. Their work at these venues provides evidence of skills that are then accredited to gain Awards, Certificates and Diplomas in Skills for Living and Work as well as stand-alone accredited units that interest and inspire pupils.
Further community work placement opportunities were established as we wanted to expand the range of work based opportunities available to our students. We had previously identified a lack of local work based learning opportunities for young people and adults with physical and learning difficulties. Saxon Hill decided to take a proactive approach and looked to develop opportunities that current pupils could access as part of their curriculum whilst also offering opportunities for our former pupils to return to in order to learn new independence and work related skills. As a result, two opportunities were initially created; Saxon Hill Craft Barn and Saxon Hill Community Café. This opportunities continue to grow and develop, with this year seeing the introduction to a weekly work experience slot at Beaudesert Park Farm as well as further in school work experience opportunities.
Saxon Hill Craft Barn
Saxon Hill Craft Barn was established in 2012 originally named “Lichfield Scrap Barn” with the twin principles of work experience placements for our students and financial sustainability. We are a craft store that uses clean business surplus and donated items from the public, as arts, craft and play resources, making use of items that would otherwise have gone to landfill sites. Saxon Hill Craft Barn is based in the beautiful location of Chasewater Country Parks on the edge of Burntwood and Brownhills.
The store has a large customer base with many returning customers looking for crafting items at wonderfully low prices. The Craft Barn has a thriving Facebook page crammed with ‘make and do’ suggestions and all the current offers. With new deliveries being made all the time, we never know what interesting items may be added to the offers next week, check our Facebook page here.
The academy students access the two Craft Barn units several times per week. In the workshop unit, students learn skills to help sort, manufacture and assemble craft packs ready for sale. In the retail unit, students price up and face up stock on the shelves, operate the till and learn about customer service during opening hours. The store has recently received extensive refurbishment and as a result there are now more opportunities for the community to visit the shop and access this work based learning with their service users. We are currently developing partnerships with other organisations including schools to broaden our work based offer at this venue.
Saxon Hill Community Café
The Saxon Hill Community Café was established in 2013 and is based on the site of Saxon Hill Academy. It is open for the use of pupils, staff and invited visitors to the academy and also during ‘out of school’ hours, the café is open to the community for booked events. The café serves a variety of hot and cold food and drink in an attractive, warm and friendly environment. Students in the Towards Independence department are based in here during the week where they make lunches for themselves, visitors and staff.
Dobbies Garden Centre, Shenstone
We had established a close relationship with a local garden centre.
It was agreed that we could build our very own class base at the Dobbies, Shenstone site. This provided a warm, comfortable base for students to make their own drinks and lunches during their visits. This enabled students to stay on site for much longer periods and the work opportunities increased rapidly.
Now students use this work base and some of the accompanying concession shops within the complex during the week and learn valuable work skills such as unpacking deliveries, stacking shelves, facing up products, designing displays, pricing up products and scanning purchases at the tills. This project is a huge success as students benefit enormously from the expertise of the corporate retail world.
Lichfield Food Bank
The Lichfield Foodbank collection centre is based in the grounds of the Academy; this enables learners to identify and sort foods in the classroom, deliver dated foods to the Foodbank, to record sell-by dates and weights within the collection centre itself and to package collections of food packs ready for families. In addition, learners support the Foodbank by taking part in the collection of foods and donations in local supermarkets.
Beaudesert Park Farm
This year has seen the introduction of a fantastic weekly work experience opportunity at Beaudesert Park Farm. Pupils have been able to gain an insight into how a working farm runs and have been able to gain valuable experience supporting with daily jobs. This could be ensuring all animals have enough water, feeding baby animals, cleaning out the chickens or collecting eggs. Pupils have also been able to learn about how products from a farm can be processed and sold, within an industrial kitchen. Pupils have then made a range of products, such as sausages, burgers, bread and hot cross buns. Pupils went on to package these to industry standards, priced them up and sold them, giving them a full overview of the production process.
School-Based Work Experience Opportunities
We also offer additional work experience and life skills opportunities weekly in school. Pupils can undertake a session in our Towards Independence flat, where they learn skills such as making drinks, cooking simple snacks and meals, cleaning and socialising. The pupils in the Towards Independence Department also buy and prepare staff meal deals on a Friday, focussing on budgeting, shopping, good health and safety practices and cooking skills. Pupils also work towards a half-termly pop-up shop, where they decide on a theme, undertake market research, make items to sell and decide on pricing to make a small profit. This is then opened up to all pupils and staff with all profits from the meal deals and pop-up shop go towards the end of year Prom.
Rotary Interact Club
Towards Independence learners are an Interact group, supported by Tamworth Rotary. The Interactees - 'Saxfieldians' have an elected President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. The Saxfieldians have established their community based projects as part of their criteria and these are; The Lichfield Foodbank, SANDS, St John's Hospital and their overseas project Aqua Box.
It is imperative that we support our young people to understand that the community is theirs and that they have a very important contribution to make to it.
Vice President, President, Treasurer and Secretary