Glasshouse College is located on the site of a former Royal Dalton Glassworks in Stourbridge, the West Midlands. The glass cones and factory buildings have been transformed into a range of craft workshops, cafes, performing arts theatres, a heritage centre and spaces for community use.
In addition to the suburban campus, Glasshouse College has 46 acres of farm and woodlands nearby that offer farming, animal care, forge work, and greenwood work activities.
As Glasshouse College is set within the heritage glassmaking district, the signature craft at the college is Hot Glass. Students work with traditional methods, including using some of the original moulds from the site to create glass vases, dishes and glasses. In addition to Hot Glass, students engage in a range of other crafts including Glass Bead Making, Drama, Music, Green Woodwork, Iron Age Forge, Jewellery, Bow Making, and Textiles.
Connecting to the Land
The farm (known as Valehead Farm) and woodlands provide space and opportunities for the students to grow and harvest healthy biodynamic vegetables that they can then use in the residential homes, cafes and canteens. Students also participate in caring for the animals at the farm, collecting eggs, milking goats and day to day feeding and care throughout the year. Students experience the rhythms of the seasons, reinforced through the celebrations and festivals the college holds. Working on the land helps them develop a sense of empathy and concept of time.
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 music and performing arts, therapies, catering and work experience. The Glasshouse Arts Centre provides an ideal space for students to perform for their peers and local 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 Glasshouse College, either in a team home environment or with a Shared Lives provider. Students will live in houses in the 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.
Glasshouse 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, Art Therapy, and Equine 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. Glasshouse College work experience opportunities include working in the Glasshouse Café in the Ruskin Glass Centre, working alongside a master craftsperson, helping in the theatre at the Glasshouse Arts Centre and greeting visitors at the Glasshouse Heritage Centre. Students also access work experience off site with local businesses.