Independent Living- A Core Subject

Through teaching Independent Living, now a core subject in Secondary, we hope to give our learners the tools to live a happy, safe and independent life for the future.

Through developing their skills, on and off site, we hope to provide them with a rich and interesting learning experience  while they build their confidence in the environment surrounding them.

By building up the various learning units, our learners will be given the opportunity to leave school with a Diploma in Independent Living which will hopefully inspire our younger learners coming up through the school.

This year we concentrated on planning a journey and, as a group, we enjoyed many trips on public transport, visiting a wide range of locations. We travelled from our school in Hayes to the Tower of London to see the poppies and we happened to meet Boris Johnson during our travels! We’ve visited China Town, High Elms Country Park, Downe House, Crystal Palace Park, along with many local parks and shopping centres. By the end of the unit, learners were able to keep themselves safe while travelling, understand timetables and able to buy their own train tickets.

We also completed a Choices and Decisions unit during which we took learners shopping in a variety of locations for food, production props and art supplies.

We have also visited many cafés for lunch where the learners have chosen their own food and drink and within a £5 budget. They are learning to be more confident in their choices when out in the real world or while planning an outing. They are now all super shoppers who can write and gather food supplies from their personal shopping lists and they always enjoy the social side of our outings.

Some of our learners have also completed a Food Preparation and Serving unit and have made and catered for many lovely community events including Production day MacMillan coffee mornings, Quiz Night, Afternoon Tea Party and they will be catering for our upcoming Vintage Fair where they will be making a 40’s style afternoon tea.

Our learners are master bakers in the making and are hoping to open their own onsite café/tea room in the near future!

Our current unit is an Introduction to Animal Care. We are lucky enough to have three Shetland Ponies onsite, therapy dogs and plans for more chickens. Our learners practise practical animal care and have plans to develop an onsite community farm.

We have also visited several local farms and rescue centres to help the learners understand the needs of caring for animals and understand their individual need for shelter, food and water.

If there is one overall lesson the learners have learnt, it is that animals help! The therapeutic effect of just having animals around teaches us empathy and love.

A quote from one of our learners: “I enjoy socialising with other people and going out on trips. I like ordering my own food and giving good eye contact, which I find hard to do” – Harry P.

Fiona Treadaway & Belinda Hopkins