Freeman College is located in the Sterling Works in the heart of Sheffield. The Sterling Works was previously occupied by CW Fletcher and Sons who manufactured silver cutlery, tableware and trophies. The area surrounding Freeman College has transformed from industrial factories into education and research buildings, including Sheffield Hallam University.
Freeman College extends through the city to Butcher Works, which is next door and houses the Academy of Makers and Fusion Café, Wentworth Factory, a short walk away and High Riggs, biodynamic gardens and woodlands, located in the greenbelt surrounding Sheffield. Merlin Theatre and Tintagel House are also used by Freeman College staff and students for the performing arts curriculum.
Sheffield has been famous for cutlery manufacturing since the 1800’s and therefore Freeman College has a strong metal curriculum, and the signature craft is silver spoon forging. Using traditional methods, students learn to hand forge spoons, forks and knives using copper at first and once they have developed the skills, they have the opportunity to work with silver. In addition to forging, students can participate in a wide and varied range of other craft activities including; Whittletang, Textiles, Copper Spinning, Pewter work, Jewellery, Iron Age Forge, and Green Woodwork.
Connecting to the Land
High Riggs is a 9 acre biodynamic market garden where students can grow and harvest healthy vegetables to use in the residential homes, cafes and canteens. In addition, a very successful community box scheme is run out of High Riggs, and students help with harvesting and preparing the vegetables and ensuring the boxes are ready for collection by the community. There are also chickens on the site and students help with collecting eggs and feeding and caring for the animals year round. High Riggs provides an opportunity for students to come out of the city centre and work on the land, experiencing the weather and the seasons. Through the seasons and the associated festivals, students develop a sense of rhythm and time and a deeper understanding of the natural world around them.
Individual Student Development
Each student receives an individual timetable which is created by their Education and Learning Coordinator and designed to meet their needs and interests. Interwoven with the land and craft activities are performing arts, therapies, catering and work experience. Fusion Café and the Academy of Makers provide an ideal space for students to undertake work experience in a supportive environment and still interact with the community. 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 Freeman College, either in a team home environment or with a Shared Lives provider. Students will live in houses in and around Sheffield, 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. Student have the opportunity to progress into training flats or semi- independent living where they are required to take greater responsibility.
Freeman College offers a range of therapies which students can access either on an individual basis or in small groups. Therapies include Speech and Language, counselling, Eurythmy, Rhythmical Massage, and Occupational Therapy. 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. Freeman College students have a wide range of work experience opportunities in the city and working in Fusion Café, the shop or through the box scheme.