Gateway Programme & Summerleigh Residential Provision (19-25 years)

The Gateway Programme is an innovative day and residential programme for young adults with additional needs to enable further independence and living skills within an accredited framework.

Who is the Gateway Programme for?

The Gateway Programme is aimed at young adults who have the potential to increase their independence levels through participation in post-school age education.

Young people enrolled in the Gateway programme participate in a bespoke programme consisting of  work, functional, and living skills that may involve sessions in woodland, gardening, horticulture, farming, retail, catering, and the wider community. The practical nature of these activities, and the inclusion of sensory and communication profiles as key components of the Gateway curriculum, results in learners making consistent progress towards their outcomes and aspirations.

The Sunfield Gateway programme works in line with the vision, values, and method of the wider Ruskin Mill Trust in the delivery of bespoke learning programmes aligned to each young adult’s special education, health, and care needs. Outcomes for learners include independent living, vocational, communication, and functional skills. The programme provides for each individual learner, a smooth transition from their holistic school curriculum, into a wide and fulfilling young adult educational programme that builds their confidence, self-esteem, and ability to work with support to keep themselves and others healthy, happy, and safe.

A central intention of the Gateway Programme is to support young people, within the Sunfield community, to develop a sense of connection to, and belonging in their community through participation in practical activities and projects, that enable them to meaningfully contribute to their environment.

There are four main components of the Gateway Programme that prepare young adults for their post-education life through the development of key transferable skills:

Learning Programmes and Qualifications

The Gateway program offers each learner gradual stepping stones towards adulthood and to overcome their barriers to learning.  These small steps are progressively adapted and modified as learners progress through the curriculum according to their developing needs in a wide range of subjects.  Learners in the Programme also have the opportunity to earn accredited qualifications according to their needs and intended post-Gateway destination.

Community Inclusion

Starting with the community of the household, young people in the Gateway Programme learn important social skills including home making, budgeting, maintenance, personal hygiene, relationship skills, and travel training. These skills are transferable to the wider society and allow Gateway learners to step further into world outside Sunfield and participate more fully in community life.

Social Enterprise and Work Experience

Gateway learners have the opportunity to interact with the community through a range of supported vocational activities that provide the young person with a sense of identity, purpose and motivation. Young adults can also work within our cafés and shops, such skills such as menu planning and food preparation, customer service, communication and handling money.

Seasons and Festivals

An integral part of any community is the annual calendar of festivals which gives all of us an understanding of the seasonal rhythm and nature’s impact on the household. Sunfield’s festivals provide Gateway leaners with the opportunity to celebrate the changing of the seasons and to participate in the wider cycles of the Sunfield community.

The Gateway Programme is delivered in both the educational and residential environments and involves close collaboration between Sunfield’s care, education, land and craft, and therapy teams.  This close working partnership allows greater understanding of each student’s strengths and barriers, which ensures planned programmes are designed to meet individual needs

Summerleigh (Gateway Residential Provision)

Summerleigh is set within the grounds of Sunfield Children’s Home, located on 58 acres in the beautiful Clent Hills in the West Midlands. The home provides accommodation for adults between the ages of 19-25 years that attend the local Ruskin Mill Trust College, Glasshouse College. The home is  operated under the CQC framework and led by a Registered Manager.



There is a strong culture of safeguarding at Summerleigh, it is at the heart of all that we do and the responsibility of each member of the  community. 

All staff are trained in Safeguarding and receive regular updates in line with the Young Person and Adult at Risk Safeguarding Policy. This policy is updated each year and all staff members receive annual training to ensure their knowledge about safeguarding remains current. All staff receive regular updates and briefings throughout the year to ensure their knowledge of specific safeguarding concerns is up to date. 

 Any issues or concerns about safeguarding issues relating to students and staff at Summerleigh are reported to the Homes Registered Manager. The Registered Manager is part of a wider safeguarding team within Sunfield and linking with Glasshouse College.  

Staff members and anyone with a connection to the home can report any suspicions, however small, of abuse, neglect or concern to the Registered Manager, DSL  or to any member of the Safeguarding Team. They can also make a report directly to the Local Safeguarding Partnership. 

The suitability of staff members to work with children and adults at risk is checked by the DBS before they start work. This applies also to volunteers and visitors who are at the provision for extended periods of time. 

All new staff are required to complete face to face safeguarding training delivered by the safeguarding team or the Trust Head of Safeguarding. 

Our senior staff have been trained in Safer Recruitment. This includes members of Senior Leadership Team, the relevant trustees, and members of the human resources department. 

In addition to this training, all staff members are required to read and abide by the Ruskin Mill Trust Code of Conduct, the most up to date version of Keeping Children Safe in Education, and the college Safeguarding and behaviour policies.

View the school’s Safeguarding Team poster.

Concerns and Complaints

Concerns and Complaints processes are made available to families on entering the provision. At Summerleigh we very much value the relationship with our stakeholders. We would hope that all of our staff are able to be approached to address any concerns both professionally and courteously

The staff team at Summerleigh work with a number of stakeholders, representatives and family members. Relationships are positive and stakeholder surveys are completed and analysed and feed into service improvement plans.

The residents within the provision are supported in understanding of how to raise a concern through the Purple Dragon through work with their key workers, SaLT and social stories. If any young adult feels unhappy about any aspect of their placement, they can communicate their concerns to any member of staff. There are also opportunities to speak to the Independent Visitor or Personal Advisor who can support the young adult throughout the complaint’s procedure. We have a complaints policy for young adults and to assist young adults in accessing and communicating their concerns, Ruskin Mill, Summerleigh uses the “Listen Up” pack promoted by MENCAP. This is a pack specifically designed for helping young people with learning disabilities complain about the services they use. As part of this pack, a purple dragon system is operated. A purple dragon mascot in varied communication forms (symbol, photograph, object of reference) is used. This is for young adults to use to indicate they have a concern and Augmented Communication tools are used to assist them in communicating their views.

Summerleigh supports young adults with their understanding of complaints procedures through keyworker sessions. Whereby the procedure is discussed, linking through to the complaints officer at Summerleigh. Young Adults are supported to make complaints to their local authority if required, or they are unhappy with the outcome from complaints made through internal processes at the provision.

If a young adult has complained, and is unhappy with the responses made then the complaint can be escalated to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman can investigate complaints about all adult care services, whether they are paid for by a council or by someone with their own money.


Staff are available Monday to Thursday from 9.00am to 5.00pm and Fridays from 9.00am to 4.30pm: Telephone: 01562 882253

For detailed information about Safeguarding in Worcestershire, please look at the Worcestershire Safeguarding Partnership.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a national charity which works to fight child abuse. Click here to visit the NSPCC website.

If you have concerns about online safety, you should report this to the safeguarding team. However, you (adult or young person) can report your concerns to CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre by visiting the CEOP website at

How to apply

Get in touch with our dedicated admissions team to discuss a placement at one of our schools or colleges, or enquire about an open day.

Find out more