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Derwen College

Derwen College delivers exceptional programmes within a rich learning environment. Students who attend Derwen are aged from 16 to 25 years and have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) including:


  • Learning and physical disabilities
  • Autism
  • Behaviours of concern
  • Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD)


We offer residential placements at our main campus in Gobowen, near Oswestry in North Shropshire, and also have day placements at Gobowen, Ludlow, Telford and Walford.


Learning Programmes at Derwen include:

  • Vocational Study Programmes, which are delivered through our Learning Pathways at each of our four sites.
  • Learning for Life, which is a fun bespoke programme available for those students who need a bit of extra support before progressing on to a vocational pathway.
  • Nurture is our programme for students with profound and multiple learning disabilities and is available at our Gobowen site.
  • Springboard gives access to work experience opportunities and support to improve independence skills.
  • Supported Internships are available for students who have completed their vocational pathways.


Vocational pathways

Depending on the location, we have the following vocational pathways available.


  • Hospitality and Food
  • Horticulture
  • Performing Arts
  • Retail and Enterprise
  • Sports and Fitness
  • Business Support


These have been developed to prepare students for the work place. Our accessible learning environments are designed and operated to industry standards. Students gain authentic work experience in our public-facing commercial outlets, including: garden centre and gift shop; Walled Garden Café; Station Café; The Vintage Advantage charity shop; The Orangery restaurant; and our very own hotel! We are also proud to offer our students a well-established network of high-quality employer partners in the wider community. We work closely with each of them to provide tailored and relevant work placements.


Students are encouraged to choose one main and one secondary pathway, but they don’t have to. We work with every student to build a programme bespoke to them that fits their needs and interests. Come and talk to us about what would suit you.


Not looking for a vocational route?


Learning for Life pathway

The Life Skills / Preparation for work pathway is designed for students not yet ready for a full-time vocational pathway. You will gain the necessary skills that support you in all aspects of life. This could be additional support with communication, personal development, interaction, team work and problem solving, or self-regulation. What you explore within this pathway is personalised and tailored to meet your specific needs.


Nurture Programme

Nurture Programme is a bespoke Life Skills and Sensory programme, offering day and residential provision for students with Profound and Multiple Disabilities.



What else will I learn?

Alongside your chosen pathway, we will work with you to develop an individualised programme, which will include: Functional Skills (English, maths and ICT); Employability Skills; Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE); and Independence Skills development including travel training to increase your potential to live independently once you have graduated from college.


What else can I get involved with?

Your timetable will include opportunities to join in with sports and/or leisure activities depending on what you like to do. Many students discover new interests at college – we have lots of options for you to explore, including:

  • Access to our renowned Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme at Bronze, Silver and Gold level, at its dedicated base on campus
  • Our extensive sports programme taking full advantage of our fantastic facilities and location, e.g. canoeing, football, swimming, Boccia, dance, cycling, tennis, gym, running, yoga, basketball and more.
  • Wellbeing clubs such as;
    • Gardening
    • indoor cricket,
    • drama, dance and music,
    • craft
    • Pray and Praise
    • Forest skills
    • Photography
    • Chill out sessions
    • Acts of kindness
    • Bee keeping

And many more.

  • Trips, such as horse riding, theatre, museums, shopping
  • Student Union Board


Student support

You will have wraparound support, e.g. Personal Tutor, Key Worker.


Learner Voice

Learner Voice at Derwen College is very strong and student views influence everything that we do.

We have a thriving Student Union (SU). The SU Board is very active across the college and beyond, helping to drive forward change for people with SEND.


Students participate in the NATSPEC parliament twice a year, in which they work with other SEND specialist colleges from around the Country to highlight issues specific to them.  In 2021 we worked on the rights of people with disabilities, and received a letter of thanks from the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson, for our contribution to the National Disability Survey, which was collated during the Parliament session.




An extensive range of therapies and wellbeing support is available including: Positive Behaviour Support; speech & language therapy; occupational therapy; counselling; and physiotherapy and Learning Disability Nurses.


Many of our therapy services are integrated across all aspects of college life including care, work and the social settings, to ensure student needs are met. Individual therapy sessions, e.g. hydrotherapy, are also available dependent upon funding.


You will be able to join in wellbeing sessions of your choice – such as mindfulness, relaxation Lego Therapy.


Visit to see our virtual tour and begin your Derwen College journey!

Who to contact

Contact Name
01691 661234

Where to go

Derwen College
Whittington Road
SY11 3JA

When visiting Derwen College’s main campus in Gobowen use entrance C on Whittington Road to register at main reception.

Derwen College's main campus is located in a village setting in Gobowen, near Oswestry with satellite sites in Telford, Walford, north Shropshire, and Ludlow, south Shropshire.

When is it on?

Time of day
Session Information
Derwen College operates termly
over 37 weeks of a year
offering day and residential placements.

Other Details

Cost details
Please contact Derwen College directly to find out more about costings for placements.
Referral required?
Referral and availability notes

Derwen College accepts referrals direct from a young person, their parent or carer, or via supporting professionals. Applications are welcomed from young people across the United Kingdom. Please complete an Admissions Enquiry Form, links to which can be found on the Admissions pages of the website; Please return completed forms to

Autism, Behaviour and learning, Behavioural, emotional and social development, Learning difficulty, Physical disability,

Local Offer

Local Offer Disabilities
Learning difficulty
Physical disability
Behavioural, emotional and social development
Behaviour and learning
Local Offer Age Bands
Transitions to Adulthood (16+)
Needs Level
SEN Provision Type
Special school

Special Needs Support

Derwen College is single storey throughout within electric push button doors


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