Learning clubs for SEN schools

Surrey Docks Farm is a working city farm in south east London. We occupy a 2.2 acre site on the bank of the river Thames in Rotherhithe. Education is core to what we do at the Farm and we currently offer a wide and varied range of courses, training projects for adults with learning disabilities and workshops for local schools.

During the summer term of 2017 we ran the pilot of our 10 week bespoke learning course for young people with special educational needs. This pilot programme was developed in conjunction with two Outstanding Southwark Special Education Schools, Cherry Garden School and Spa School. We provided the students with educational, therapeutic and creative opportunities through activities which developed their social skills, emotional resilience, confidence, knowledge and understanding of the world. By fully engaging schools and working alongside them to evaluate and adjust the programme we were able to create and demonstrate a valued student experience and a long-term programme which can be reused and individualised for future groups and schools. Students took part in a wide range of activities from flour and felt making to collecting the eggs to getting up close and personal with the goats and chickens.


“The Surrey Docks Farm project is a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn new skills and also to use existing skills in a new environment. The wide range of experiences offered by the farm appeal to our student’s interests and will help them to increase in independence and confidence in a fun and engaging environment.” – Stacey Ann Shepherd, Assistant Head, Spa School

As well as working towards the pupils’ curriculum- based targets, new and exciting experiences provide a rich topic for discussion and promote excellent progress in communication skills for our pupils. – Lesley Flowers, Head of Inclusion, Cherry Gardens School


Throughout this project we have also been looking into ways of making the Farm more accessible for SEN school self-led visits and have developed a survey to find out where we should focus improvements. If you are an educator working with young people with special educational needs we’d love to hear from you, please click here for a link to the survey.

We’d like to thank Newcomen Collett Foundation for funding the initial research and engagement phase of this project. We are now in the process of applying for match funding to continue this project in the next academic year.


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