FE Apartment / Life Skills (Kitchen & Bathroom)
The FE Apartment is a Life Skills space within the school that has been designed to reflect an independent living space or ‘apartment’. The room has been recently refurbished by the students themselves who planned and executed the redecoration, taking trips to IKEA and B&Q in order to consider their options and make choices as to what their ‘home from home’ should look like. The students have taken ownership of the space by getting involved in the painting of the walls and the selection of furniture in order to make sure it no longer looks like a classroom but their own relaxing home.
The Apartment is fully equipped with a kitchen area, dining area, lounge area, ensuite cloakroom, and garden. They are currently fundraising in order to replace the existing school dining tables with a homelier dining set from IKEA. There is currently no sleeping area, although plans for the future would hope to include provision for this in order to enable the students to practice their bedmaking skills and, ultimately, be able to stay over and utilise the space as a genuine apartment. This aspiration would build on the other residential experiences of the FE Students across the year and help prepare them for life outside their family homes as they progress much further into adulthood.
The kitchen has all the necessary facilities of a home, fridge freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, kettle, microwave, hob and oven. Students utilise their kitchen daily to make themselves drinks and snacks, whilst also using it at least weekly to prepare their own meal for lunch. Life Skills sessions every Wednesday have students planning, shopping in Tesco and then preparing their own meals as a group… followed by cleaning up after themselves. The cupboards and fridge/freezer are stocked with food which they need to check when writing their shopping lists, just like you would do at home. The kitchen is also utilised for the FE Café the students run every Friday, where they prepare bacon rolls for school staff as part of their mini-enterprise and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The lounge is the ideal place to relax during break times, or socialise with others. The SMART TV gives access to a huge variety of television channels, and students learn how to access their chosen programmes as well as utilising it for more active pursuits such as the Nintendo Wii. It can also be used for watching demonstration videos or as a presentation board in addition to the one available in the FE Classroom. One of our favourite uses of the lounge is when we have a family and friends event. We like to invite family and friends of the students into school, at least once every half term, to join us for tea and cake in order for the students to host, and for everyone to have a catch up.
Students treat the apartment as their home and are expected to look after it accordingly. They are expected to maintain the space and have cleaning products and a vacuum cleaner to ensure they can learn how to keep the apartment clean. There is even a ‘visitors’ book’ for others from the school to complete if they make use of the room when the FE Group are out of school.