SEND Farm Visit, Angie Nelson-Shepherd, CSW Careers and Personal Adviser

One aspect of a careers personal adviser role is to submit reports to the county council’s SEND team for students who wish to apply for an independent specialist placement. Therefore it is important to have a good understanding and knowledge of the provision that the independent specialist education providers offer.

Last week I visited ROC College based at Boscawen farm, Truro, Cornwall which is an independent specialist provider of special educational needs for young people up to the age of 25. The farm is part of United Response.

As you would expect from the name it is a farm. On the farm there are alpaca’s, sheep, pigs, ducks, horses, cows and hens. Part of the farm is dedicated to horticulture. Unfortunately, one of the poly tunnels was badly damaged in a recent storm but it is in the process of being repaired. Students have the opportunity to develop their skills and experience looking after the animals as well as being creative with pottery. The farm has a small shop which sells some of the produce that is grown there as well as eggs freshly laid by the farm hens.

Apart from offering the opportunity to develop animal care and horticulture skills the farm also offers community based work experience. The educational packages that they offer are very bespoke to meet the needs of the learner. The programme manager meets with the young person and their parent/ carer to identify what their interests are and what their future pathway aspiration is. Examples of some of the community-based activities are swimming, dance, gardening, sport and work placements.

The farm will be installing a log cabin later in the year. Students who are educated within the community will use the log cabin as their start and end point of the day.

They also offer “wellbeing” provision that is funded through social care.

I really enjoyed my visit to the farm and found it very informative and enjoyable.