Skip to main content

Derwen College

Derwen College delivers exceptional programmes and a rich learning environment for young people, aged from 16 to 25 years, with special educational needs and disabilities, including: Learning and physical disabilities Autism Spectrum Disorder Behaviours of concern PMLD Our main campus is in Gobowen, near Oswestry…

Derwen College delivers exceptional programmes and a rich learning environment for young people, aged from 16 to 25 years, with special educational needs and disabilities, including:

  • Learning and physical disabilities
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Behaviours of concern
  • PMLD

Our main campus is in Gobowen, near Oswestry in North Shropshire, where we cater for both DAY and RESIDENTIAL students. We have a further three sites based around Shropshire for day students. These are located at:

  • Walford (Baschurch)
  • Telford
  • Ludlow


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; Walled Garden Café; Station Café; 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 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.


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

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
Derwen College Website

Where to go

Derwen College
Whittington Road
SY11 3JA

When visiting Derwen College’s main site using a Sat Nav it is advisable to use postcode SY11 3NB, which directs to the Agnes Hunt Village, next door to the college.

Time / Date Details

When is it on
Derwen College operates termly, over 37 weeks of a year, offering day and residential placements.

Other Details



Please contact Derwen College directly to find out more about costings for placements.


Additional Information

Providing services to
16 + years
Young people
Disabled children/young people


Derwen also offers Short Breaks giving young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities aged 18+ the opportunity to enjoy a break at Derwen.


Visitors can take part in a range of activities and trips, as well as making use of the campus facilities. Holidays can be a great opportunity to relax with friends, meet new people and explore local attractions.


Visitors will stay in bright, modern residences with single en-suite rooms and will have full use of a communal kitchen and lounge with TV and Wi-Fi. Meals are bespoke to individual preferences and needs.


Experienced care staff are on hand to provide support when required and ensure that visitors get the most out of their holiday.


 Visitors can choose from a range of daily activities, which may include: basketball; use of the gym; football; day trips to the beach, theme parks and local attractions; shopping; cooking; bowling; and visits to the cinema.


Short Breaks are available year-round apart from two weeks closure at Christmas.


For more information, follow the link to the website:

Supporting people with
Physical disability
Challenging behaviour
Learning difficulty
Autistic Spectrum Condition

Last checked on 11/04/2022

Record managed by Oxfordshire Family Information Service

This information has been collected from third party providers and Oxfordshire County Council cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of the information nor does inclusion represent a recommendation or an endorsement. Parents, carers, young people and professionals are recommended to check that organisations and services are appropriate and safe before they attend.
See: Help on how to choose services safely