Coleg Plas Dwbl is located at the foot of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
The 100 acre biodynamic farm started as a retirement project for four remarkable women who spent their days working the land, creating structures and caring for their livestock.
The farm was passed on to Ruskin Mill Trust in 2010 and Trust staff and students have carried on the traditions. The site is located 2 miles from Mynacholg-ddu and 5 miles from Crymych, where there are local shops and cafes. Across from the entrance to the site is Gors Fawr Stone Circle, which is a historical landmark dating back to 2500 BC.
Coleg Plas Dwbl also operates Ty’r Eithin, a satellite provision in Carmarthenshire, located on an 80 acre biodynamic farm overlooking the Gwendraeth Fawr, with views to Carmarthen Bay and the Devon Coast.
“Coleg Plas Dwbl provides a broad and stimulating curriculum where learners benefit from a wide range of learning activities in meaningful and realistic settings, including a farm, horticulture area and forge.
The college’s extensive grounds and resources provide learners with valuable opportunities to develop a wide range of skills, including their independence, physical, creative and work-related skills”
– Estyn report, May 2023
The 100 acre site includes a market garden, woodland, larch woods, and fields. Students work on the farm year round in all weathers, caring for the cows, sheep, goats and chickens, and growing and harvesting vegetables in the market garden and polytunnels. Students are involved in all aspects of the animal care, including collecting eggs from the hens, moving the animals from field to field, feeding and checking their health. Through this work, they develop a sense of empathy and develop their own self care. The work in the gardens provides opportunities to learn about growing cycles, nutrition and working with the seasons. The seasonal rhythms, reinforced through the festivals, provide a connection with time and place. The food produced on the site is used in the canteen and the residential households, as well as in a box scheme and sold in local grocery shops.
“Being on the farm and working with the animals teaches compassion because we have to show the animals compassion”
Dylan student who is now training to be a biodynamic apprentice
Individual Student Development
Each student receives an individual timetable which is created by their Education, Health & Care Manager (EHCM) and designed to meet their needs and interests. Interwoven with the land and craft activities are performing arts, therapies, catering and work experience. Literacy and numeracy are embedded into the practical activities to provide contextual learning opportunities. Learning is supported by literacy and numeracy tutors who work alongside craft and land tutors.
Making a Home
Residential placements are available at Coleg Plas Dwbl, either in a team home environment or with a Shared Lives provider. Students will live in houses in the local community, with their peers and staff and develop their independent living skills whilst participating fully in the running of the household, including meal planning, shopping, planning social activities and household tasks. Staff will work closely with students to ensure they get the support they need to learn how to live more independently, and make safe decisions.
“During their time at the college, learners form strong working relationships with staff. This impacts positively on their well-being and attitudes to learning, and means that they engage happily and confidently in college life.”
– Estyn report May 2023
Coleg Plas Dwbl can provide a range of therapies to meet student need. Students can access therapy sessions either on an individual basis or in small groups depending on their requirements. Therapies that are available include Speech and Language and Psychotherapy. Therapists and counsellors work closely with teaching, residential and support staff to ensure a holistic and integrated approach to meeting students’ individual needs.
Through Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, students develop their self confidence and self awareness. As they develop these skills and engage in meaningful work in the land and craft, students also develop employability skills and increase their capacity for self generated conscious action. Staff role modelling helps the students understand their role in the college community, helping to look after the farm and woodlands and sharing meal preparation. Students at Coleg Plas Dwbl work in the on site social enterprises, including the community box scheme and can also participate in work experience in the local community.