Find out about Derwen College: an Ofsted Outstanding independent specialist college based in Gobowen, near Oswestry, Shropshire.
About our history
Derwen College was established in 1927 by Dame Agnes Hunt (pictured left) who also founded the world renowned RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital. Agnes developed a disability in her hip as a child and yet despite this – or maybe in spite of it – she travelled the world and later trained as a nurse.
Agnes’s passion was to treat physically disabled children and adults, and this was achieved through her work with Dr Robert Jones. Later in her life (at the age of 61) Agnes founded Derwen College. Her aim was to teach physically disabled children and adults to become “wholly self supporting” – a vision of independence that we still have more than 90 years later.
Find out more about Derwen’s history on our timeline.
About student life at Derwen
Derwen College now offers residential and day placements to students aged 16-25 with learning difficulties and disabilities.
With three satellite sites in Shropshire and Wales, and the main campus in Gobowen, near Oswestry, students have many opportunities to experience real work settings. Our satellite sites are based at Higher Penley (Ashdale House), Craven Arms and Walford.
Derwen College students have a choice of pathway areas for their learning programme:
Students have the unique opportunity to work in our restaurant, cafe, print shop or garden centre (depending on their pathway area). During these work placements they learn the work skills needed for the world beyond college.
Outside work, residential students live in the on-site student accommodation, working with staff and other students to learn independence and social skills. Leisure activities are on offer in the evenings and at weekends. There are many clubs, sports activities and trips that happen every week at Derwen College.
About Derwen College Charity
Derwen College has had charity status since 1963. We continue to fundraise to provide our students with opportunities to enhance their learning and independence skills, and reach their full potential. To do this we need to fundraise for transport, specialist tools and equipment, to provide experiences for students and to upgrade student accommodation.
We are currently fundraising to upgrade our student accommodation in the Agnes Hunt Village. The fundraising campaign aims to raise £1million over the next three to five years.
About our staff
Our outstanding staff are committed to help our students achieve their full potential. Students are supported every step of the way by staff to learn new skills in work, independence, and socially.
Derwen College employs over 300 members of staff. Staff expertise ranges from care to therapies, nurses to teachers, operational and support staff in teaching, housekeeping, hospitality, retail, administration, maintenance and many other areas.
With the support of staff students have the confidence and skills to move forward with their dreams and aspirations when they leave college.
About Visit Derwen
Derwen College is open to visitors seven days a week at our retail outlets. You can Visit Derwen at the Garden Centre, Garden Cafe and The Orangery Restaurant all year round (opening times vary). Aggie’s Art House and the Karten Print shop are open during term time weekdays only.
These outlets provide valuable work placements for our students. By visiting the college outlets you are helping to support our students on their learning journey at Derwen College.
For more detailed information about Derwen College please use the menu in the top right of the website.
To provide inspirational learning, development and care and enable the achievement of aspirations which transforms lives
Derwen College Mission Statement