The voice of specialist further education

Freeman College

An independent specialist college offering a holistic approach to education for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Spoon Forging is the signature craft at Freeman College. Students hand raise the copper billet into a spoon
Freeman College logo


Freeman College
88 Arundel Street
S1 2NG
  • Course Length (weeks):
  • Residential or Day:
    Residential and day
  • Start Time:
    Referrals are taken all year round
  • Maximum Number of Students:
  • Age Range:
    16 – 25


General Description

Freeman College is an independent specialist college for young adults with learning difficulties, associated behavioural issues and disabilities. As part of Ruskin Mill Trust, our students receive our unique Practical Skills Therapeutic Education - a craft and land-based curriculum. We aim to teach our young people valuable, transferable life skills towards independence, which allows them to access further education, supported living accommodation, and/or work.

We offer day and residential placements to learners aged 16-25 and accept referrals throughout the year.

Gateway to Independence programmes are now available for leavers 19+ years of age.

Our staff teams have a wealth of experience of working with young people with learning difficulties, such as autism, ASD, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, as well as behavioural and mental health issues.

Catchment Area

Nationwide and from International students.


Course subjects include signature craft sessions focussing on traditional metalworking skills such as copper work, pewter spinning, jewellery and textiles, while music and the arts are undertaken at the nearby Merlin Theatre alongside land based vocational opportunities at the nine-acre, High Riggs Market garden where a thriving veg box scheme operates weekly. As with all Ruskin Mill Trust provisions, our market gardens and farms afford the young person the opportunity to develop their understanding of biodynamic farming, horticulture, animal husbandry, catering and nutrition by growing healthy food in an eco-friendly and sustainable environment. Once harvested, young people who engage in catering and baking sessions are responsible for co-producing meals for the college cohort and for Fusion café, which is open to the public. Situated on the doorstep to Sheffield Hallam University campus, Freeman College, Fusion Café and the Butcherworks Art Gallery offer work placement and qualification opportunities within a socially and culturally thriving community. This hands-on and ‘seed-to-table’ approach to learning, unlocks the individual’s potential to learn outside of the classroom environment, linking with themselves, to local community and world around them.

Bespoke Timetables are created to meet the need of the individual’s aspiration, providing progression and stretch, and are reviewed termly. For young people wishing to attain qualifications the college offers units across the curriculum and supports the individual to achieve a range of BTEC (Skills for Life) Open College Network (Skills for Living and work) GCSE, and Person Functional Skills qualifications from pre-Entry Level up to Access to HE Level 3 qualifications. A range of destinations are available to the young person following their time at College, from accessing further education, to voluntary and paid employment, while others make significant steps toward supported or independent living options. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulate Freeman College.

Specialist Facilities

Students at Freeman College work across three sites; one within Sheffield city centre, one in the countryside at Stannington, the other in the suburb of Nether Edge. 

A comprehensive onsite Therapies offer includes Speech and Language Therapy (SALT), Counselling, Eurythmy and Occupational Therapy, and by its very nature, the Ruskin Mill craft and land based curriculum affords the benefits of an embedded therapeutic offer to maintain reduced levels of anxiety.

Freeman College offers young people its unique learning style through meaningful real life activities in a safe environment. Our safeguarding team recognises the importance of stretch and challenge, whilst keeping our young people safe.

College placements are available to young people on a day or residential basis, 36 or 52 weeks per year. Our holistic curriculum includes transferable learning into the residential setting at evenings and weekends, and for 52 week provision during collegel holidays, providing further opportunities for learning and personal development. A range of bespoke residential provisions are available, providing flexibility to meet the needs of the individual, from team houses (no more than four students living in any one household) to solo residency houses or independent living flats. All of which are situated within local community and include support staff options, and are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Alternatively, young people have the option of living with Shared Lives Providers (SLP’s) who have been trained and approved via an extensive assessment process (CQC). Living within a SLP enables young people to learn new skills and become as independent as possible, while sharing in a safe, welcoming family-based environment.

Other Information

Comprehensive staff training and development opportunities will guide professionals through the Ruskin Mill Trust set of core values, vision, purpose and methodology.

> Our expertise

> Our curriculum

> Our specialist services


Spoon Forging is the signature craft at Freeman College. Students hand raise the copper billet into a spoon
Students are encouraged to develop skills through our social enterprises such as our onsite Fusion cafe which is open to the public.
The Merlin Theatre, enabling new opportunities for students in production and work experience
Spoon forging in the old cutlery factory which is now Freeman College. Students develop a number of transferable skills through a practical education method.

Prospectus Request

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