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Find out more about Derwen College

Derwen College offers residential and day placements to students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), aged 16–25.

With four sites based in Shropshire, students have many opportunities to experience real work settings.

The largest campus in Gobowen, near Oswestry welcomes both residential and day students. Additionally, our satellite sites which are located at Ludlow, Telford and Walford welcome day students.

Students at Derwen College have a choice of pathway areas, with subjects including:

  • Horticulture
  • Hospitality
  • Retail and Enterprise
  • Performing Arts
  • Work and Independence Skills

With an unique opportunity to work in our outlets in Gobowen, students learn essential skills needed for the world beyond college. Our restaurant, cafe, garden centre and charity shop all offer vocational experience opportunities for students at Derwen.

Outside work, residential students live in the on-site student accommodation. Here they work 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 taking place every week at Derwen College.

About our students

We deliver exceptional programmes to students aged 16–25 and who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

There are no ‘typical‘ students at Derwen College. We support students with a range of needs including:

  • Derwen student group January 2022Moderate, Severe, Complex or Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD)
  • Physical disabilities
  • Autism
  • Behaviours of concern

Find out more about the programmes we offer our students.

Our history

Derwen College was established in 1927 by Dame Agnes Hunt, who also founded the world renowned RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital.

Dame Agnes Hunt - nurse, and founder of Derwen College

Agnes developed a disability in her hip as a child. Yet despite this – or maybe in spite of it – she travelled the world, and later trained as a nurse.

Agnes worked with Dr Robert Jones for many years, and together they treated physically disabled children and adults.

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’. This is a vision of independence that we still work towards all these years later.

Find out more about Derwen’s history on our timeline.

Derwen Charity

The College has had charity status since 1963.Derwen Charity logo

Derwen Charity supports the college’s work and provides our students with opportunities to enhance their learning and independence skills.

We fundraise to ensure students have access to transport and specialist tools and equipment. Fundraising also helps to provide students with different experiences and to upgrade accommodation.

Fundraising events take place throughout the year at Derwen. You can support us by attending these events or volunteer to be a fundraiser.

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.

Find out more about Derwen Charity.

Our staff

Our dedicated staff are committed to helping our students achieve their full potential.

Staff at Snowdon summit

Students are supported by staff every step of the way to learn new skills in work, independence, and social situations.

Derwen College employs nearly 400 members of staff. Staff expertise ranges from care to therapies, nurses to teachers. Operational and support staff work 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 aspirations when they leave college.

If you would like to join the dedicated team at Derwen, visit our vacancies page.

Derwen Marketplace

Derwen Marketplace is part of Derwen College which is open to the public throughout the week.

Horticulture student at Derwen Marketplace, Garden CentreHere you will find the Garden Centre and Gift Shop and The Vintage Advantage (our charity shop). The Walled Garden Cafe, and the Orangery Restaurant. Students work at these retail outlets which provide valuable work placements.

Find out more about Derwen Marketplace.

Derwen College: A place of possibility. We are Dedicated, Diverse, Dynamic, Derwen.