Greatwood in Marlborough uses former racehorses to educate disadvantaged children and young adults with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Emma Cassidy is the Head of Education she has worked at the center for a total of five years, the small team of eleven look after thirty-eight horses, five goats, lots of chickens and one hundred and five acres! The center uses animal care and outside adventuring to develop young people’s skills and confidence.

We spoke to Emma about her pledges to Be Involved and what she has done to meet them, in early December 2018 Greatwood pledged to; support those with barriers to work and engage with local schools. Emma has also attended our Post 16 Careers Fair for looked after children.

Can you tell us about your engagement with Schools and what you enjoy most about interacting with students?

I recently attended Redlands Primary School careers week, I spoke to the whole School in an assembly and then worked with two classes more closely. I talked about working with horses and showed them some riding equipment such as jockey uniform, a riding hat and boots. Although the students were younger they asked a lot of questions and were very engaged which I found to be a positive experience.

I have also been to Pewsey Vale careers fair and will be helping at St John’s in Marlborough on their interview day, I hope to support students but also brush up on my own skills!

Another pledge area you are supporting is those with barriers to work, can you tell us about how Greatwood does this work?

We work with young people in a variety of ways for example the courses we offer are bespoke from one hour up to six weeks, we also deliver to post 16 over a full academic year. Students stay with us for as long as they are benefiting from the course or are able to return to education. We ensure we deliver in classes no bigger than eight which means those with anxiety cope much better and we have a real mixture of delivery in the classroom and outside exploring and getting hands on.

I have supported Employment and Skills with their Post 16 Careers Fair for looked after children which was one of the best I have attended, it’s great for us to get the message out there and support those that need a little more guidance. We have some great success stories with care leavers, Abdul came to us speaking little English and is now working with the Queen’s horses! Crystal is also another success for us, she is just starting a Diploma at the Northern Racing College in Doncaster after being inspired by her time at Greatwood.

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