Ruskin Mill College is the founding college of Ruskin Mill Trust. Located in the Cotswolds, the 140 acre site includes wooded valley, a trout farm, market gardens, sustainably managed woodlands, and biodynamic farm. Nestled in amongst the landscape are craft workshops including pottery, forge, textiles, and woodwork.
Horsley Mill is the administrative centre of Ruskin Mill College. Horsley Mill, like the Ruskin Mill building is an old woollen mill that has been transformed and now includes offices, meeting rooms and teaching space as well as a canteen. The courtyard outside Horsley Mill provides a social gathering space for staff and students of the college.
“Tutors demonstrate skills, produce visual aids and support students to achieve tasks, which become more complex over time. As a result, students produce high-quality work that they are proud of.”
– Ofsted, May 2023
Building on the heritage of the buildings, Ruskin Mill College signature craft is textiles. Students help care for the sheep in the farm, take the wool and process it ready for felting, spinning or weaving. Other craft activities include Iron Age Forge, Greenwood work, Pottery, Willow work, land work includes market garden, animal husbandry, horticulture, fish farm, woodland work.
Connecting to the Land
Ruskin Mill College has a 40 acre biodynamic farm that has a range of livestock including pigs, sheep, chickens, bees and donkeys. On the farm and in the market garden, students work to produce vegetables and crops to be used in the canteens, cafes, farm shop and households, and to feed the animals. Students are also involved in caring for the animals throughout the year. The farm and gardens provide valuable opportunities for students to develop empathy and an understanding of time, working with the seasonal rhythms.
Individual Student Development
Each student has an individual timetable that reflects their needs and interests. Staff work together to ensure that students have opportunities in a range of sessions to develop the skills they need. The land and craft activities are interspersed with performing arts, therapies, student council, and 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
Ruskin Mill College offers residential placements, 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, enabling them to do as much as they can, and make safe decisions.
Ruskin Mill College College 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, Counselling, Eurythmy, Art and Health, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, and Music 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. The work experience and transition programmes at Ruskin Mill College help students to find their role in the local community either through working in one of the on site social enterprises, including the café and shop or with a local community business.