After visiting Foxes Academy in Somerset last year, Penny Mordaunt, the minister for disabled people at the time, praised it for “showing employers across the country how they can make the most of the huge pool of untapped talent that disabled people offer”.
The academy is a specialist provider and training hotel that aims to give young adults with learning disabilities the skills, knowledge and confidence to shape their own futures. Its mission is to change the way society perceives people with learning disabilities.
Striving for excellence, staff at the academy continually reflect, review and make changes to meet a variety of needs – a process that starts with the learner in regular one-to-one tutorials.
All learners achieve nationally recognised qualifications in hospitality and catering, and develop their English, maths and ICT skills in functional skills courses leading to a range of English Speaking Board and City and Guilds qualifications. Independent living skills, including home economics, are taught in structured sessions as well as being embedded throughout the learners’ personal development, health and welfare time.
Foxes Academy achieved 100 per cent pass rates in all formal examinations and assessments in 2016-17, with its 73 learners achieving 247 qualifications. Working with over 50 regional employers, it also sources and develops work-experience placements for its learners so they can transfer their learned skills successfully into the workplace.
As a result, 77 per cent of its 2015 leavers have been employed since graduating. The judges paid tribute to the provider’s “tremendous employment outcomes and employer engagement”.