Vocational Skills - Work Experience

Vocational Skills - we have a sustainable enterprise approach to work-based learning at Saxon Hill Academy.

Work based learning is a key aspect for students within ‘Towards Independence' dept. and these opportunities form the basis for our accreditation ensuring that students understand the importance and relevance of their valuable contribution to work in the community.

Community Work Experience Placements

Saxon Hill has established several community based work placements in order to provide real work environments for our students to develop work and employability skills. This enables our students to work within real business environments, and develop a range of vocational skills while developing their functional numeracy, literacy and communication skills. Their work at these venues provides evidence of skills that are then accredited to gain Awards, Certificates and Diplomas in Living Independently, Employability and Development Skills, and Skills for Life and Work.

Saxon Hill Craft Barn

Saxon Hill Craft Barn was established in 2012 originally named “Lichfield Scrap Barn” We are a craft store that uses clean business waste and donated items from the public, as arts, craft and play resources, making use of items that would otherwise have gone to landfill sites. Saxon Hill Craft Barn is based in the beautiful location of Chasewater Country Parks on the edge of Burntwood and Brownhills.

The store has a large customer base with many returning customers looking for crafting items at wonderfully low prices. The Craft Barn has a thriving Facebook page crammed with ‘make and do’ suggestions and all the current offers. With new deliveries being made all the time, we never know what interesting items may be added to the offers next week, check our Facebook page here.  

The academy students access the two Craft Barn units several times per week. In the workshop unit, students learn skills to help manufacture and assemble craft packs ready for sale. In the retail unit, students price up and face up stock on the shelves, operate the till and learn about customer service during opening hours. The store has recently received extensive refurbishment and as a result there will now be more opportunities for the community to visit the shop and access this work based learning with their service users. We are currently developing partnerships with other organisations and schools to broaden our work based offer at this venue.


Saxon Hill Community Café 

The Saxon Hill Community Café was established in 2013 and is based on the site of Saxon Hill Academy. It is open for the use of pupils, staff and invited visitors to the academy and also during ‘out of school’ hours, the café is open to the community for booked events. The café serves a variety of hot and cold food and drink in an attractive, warm and friendly environment. Students in the Towards Independence department are based in here 2 mornings per week where they make lunches for themselves and staff.


Dobbies Garden Centre, Shenstone

We had established a close relationship with a local garden centre.

It was agreed that we could build our very own class base at the Dobbies, Shenstone site. This provided a warm, comfortable base for students to make their own drinks and lunches during their visits. This enabled students to stay on site for much longer periods and the work opportunities increased rapidly.

Now students use this work base three days per week and learn valuable work skills such as unpacking deliveries, stacking shelves, facing up products, designing displays, pricing up products and scanning purchases at the tills. This project is a huge success as students benefit enormously from the expertise of the corporate retail world.

Saxon Hill community work placement opportunities  were established as we wanted to expand the range of work based opportunities available to our students. We had previously identified a lack of local work based learning opportunities for young people and adults with physical and learning difficulties. Saxon Hill decided to take a pro-active approach and looked to develop opportunities that current pupils could access as part of their curriculum whilst also offering opportunities for our former pupils to return to in order to learn new independence and work related skills. As a result, two opportunities were created; Saxon Hill Craft Barn and Saxon Hill Community Café.

Lichfield Food Bank

The Lichfield Foodbank collection centre is based in the grounds of the Academy; this enables learners to identify and sort foods in the classroom, deliver dated foods to the Foodbank, to record sell-by dates and weights within the collection centre itself and to package collections of food packs ready for families. In addition, learners support the Foodbank by taking part in the collection of foods and donations in local supermarkets.

Rotary Interact Club

Towards Independence learners have recently become an Interact group, supported by Tamworth Rotary. The Interactees - 'Saxfieldians' have an elected President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. The Saxfieldians have established their community based projects as part of their criteria and these are; The Lichfield Foodbank, SANDS, St John's Hospital and their overseas project Aqua Box.


It is imperative that we support our young people to understand that the community is theirs and that they have a very important contribution to make to it.