IMG_6083Foxes Academy, the residential training hotel and college for young adults with learning disabilities, has been recognised by the nations’ educational governing body, Ofsted, for its outstanding achievements, high standards and exceptional learner outcomes.

Foxes Academy in Minehead, Somerset, has been featured in a best practice case study jointly released by Ofsted and the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL). The case study highlights the exemplary success of the Academy, focusing on the college’s high standards, outstanding collaboration with employers and the exceptional preparation that learners receive for their progress into paid, supported or voluntary work.

Basing their programmes around a fully functioning hotel located in the beautiful seaside town of Minehead, Foxes Academy prepares learners for the world of work from the moment they start their course. Learners experience different areas of work within the hotel; from housekeeping to food preparation, receiving regular careers advice and guidance, before they choose which area of hospitality and catering to specialise in.

Over 120 educational, vocational, residential and therapeutic staff at Foxes all play a valuable part in enabling learners to achieve their personal, social and vocational goals, with learning modules reviewed regularly and adapted as learners make progress and acquire new skills.

In addition to their programmes within Foxes Hotel, which also include life skills courses and preparation for independent living, learners benefit from work experience placements outside of the hotel across a variety of hospitality and catering businesses often within the local community. Each placement is carefully selected based on the learners’ individual goals, further equipping them for their transition into the world outside of their experience at Foxes Academy.

Principal, Sharon Bowden said: “We are delighted to have been selected to be included on this best practice showcase. We work hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for our learners and we hope that by reaching a wider audience this example helps others to achieve similar results.”

Sharon also commented “The most important thing is the difference we make to young people’s lives. 95% of learners who left in 2012 are now living semi independently. Before they came to us, they lived with their parents. 18 out of the 21 leavers found employment within three months. These statistics are undeniably outstanding. We value the contribution that local businesses make towards our training programme, either by offering work placements so that the learners can take on extra challenges, or by being supportive and understanding as the young people learn to use the local shops, banks and cafes independently. The students not only gain vocational skills from this training, but because of the way we work with employers and industry they come away with a clearer understanding of the skills needed for the work place and a genuinely more visible route into employment.”