External Providers used by The Acorns School.


Apple Cast

Apple Cast offers a safe environment for young people to achieve through a wide range of alternative education options. Apple Cast includes indoor and outdoor angling, the now developed horticulture, conservation, fish breeding, aquaponics, agriculture and bespoke woodwork shops complement the existing fishery management qualifications and angling tuition.

All the education stems from the angling aspect of the program and allows young people to make options on the desired learning direction. All literacy and numeracy is embedded into the portfolio work completed and compliments the practical side of the projects.

This enables young people to complete tasks to develop work base learning skills along with a good work ethic. In addition to the various qualifications and accredited certificates the young people have the opportunity to gain, they will also learn key life skills including confidence, respect, patience and perseverance.

This excellent team have a proven record of working with hard to reach pupils, pupils who may struggle for a variety of reasons and have in many cases been able to turn around the pupils whole experience of education. 

Link to their website by clicking here Apple Cast (castnw.net)



BDS Training is an alternative educational training establishment with full City and Guilds approval since 2006 that offers pupils the opportunity to gain awards, certificates and diplomas. They provide training in hairdressing (inclusive of barbering) and Beauty Therapy and Health and Social Care.

BDS is a great environment for creative pupils who enjoy working with their hands, get on with people, or those who aspire to work with children. For more information on what topics are covered in each course please check out their website.

Link to their website by clicking here BDS Training, 31 Greenhey Place, Skelmersdale (2022) (beautynailhairsalons.com)


Creativity Works Preston (CWP)

CWP was founded in 2014 to provide work-based learning opportunities to people in the Preston area. Through our learning programmes, we empower people to develop skills that will help them find their place in the world of work. Our opportunities are aimed at people who need or prefer to learn in a different way to the traditional education system that is predominantly academically based to one that is project-oriented and provides individualistic tuition.


We offer a wide variety of qualifications and programmes which are tailored to each individual student, re-engaging them into education and sparking a passion for learning. A practical work based training approach to learning ensures students have lifelong skills alongside their accredited qualification that can be taken straight into the work place and put into practice. We also offer a number of enrichment activities that are open for all students to engage in.

Link to their website by clicking here Creativity Works Preston | Learning Through Creativity at CWP.



The aim of Fix It (UK) Limited is to improve the life chances, career choices and opportunities of young people who prefer to learn by doing things rather than an academic route into employment via further education.

By working closely with a wide range of educational settings Fix It (UK) Limited has developed a training and personal development programme that helps young people to find a place where they fit, something they are good at and something that builds their confidence and self-esteem, so they can find a place in society.

Fix It (UK) Limited looks and feels like a 'garage' workplace, young people quickly respond to this setting and enjoy the learning experience.

At the end of their studies they have a Motor Industry recognised qualification to show for their efforts and importantly, gain the confidence to sit in front of a potential employer or go further, enrolling at a college to continue their studies. Additionally, Fix It (UK) Limited can provide students with a meaningful work related job reference to help their search for employment.

The organisation began life in 2002 as a Wigan Community Safety team pilot project. Following the success of a two-year pilot, Fix It (UK) Limited was established as an independent charity enabling it to widen its scope and thereby support a greater number of youngsters.



Pathways in Learning is a Community Interest Company offering alternative education to young people under the age of 16 for whom full time mainstream education may not be suitable due to social, emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties. These difficulties often impede their ability to take part in sustained and active learning so our first priority is to enable learners to re-engage with education in a caring and enriching learning environment.

Learning groups are kept small so that learners feel safe, secure and valued whilst providing tutors with the opportunity to deliver tailored teaching and support suiting the needs of each individual learner.

They offer a range of Level 1 and 2 accredited vocational qualifications including:

  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Childcare
  • Construction
  • Hair & Beauty
  • Health & Social Care
  • Hospitality & Catering
  • Mechanics
  • Retail
  • Travel & Tourism

They also offer Functional Skills qualifications in English, Maths and ICT from Entry 1 to Level 2. All their courses are accredited through Open Awards and learners will complete initial assessments using BKSB software to ensure they are working towards levels of qualifications suitable for them. They can also offer GCSE support packages for Maths and English as well as accredited Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications (GCSE equivalents) in Science.

They work with learners and local businesses to secure work placements that enable the young person to familiarise themselves with the world of work, gain hands on experience and help them make decisions on the further education and career paths they wish to pursue. During year 11 we liaise with local colleges, apprenticeship providers and employers to ensure each young person secures a suitable next step and feels confident and secure in their decisions.

Click here to view their website Pathways in Learning - Home


PNE(Preston North End)

The programme is designed for hard-to-reach Key Stage 4 students who are disengaged with their school-based studies, lacking in confidence or self-esteem or displaying poor attendance in the standard school environment.

The Trust is now offering a range of courses that help to keep students engaged in their work and maintain their focus, also providing opportunities to learn new skills, too.

Please view their website by clicking on this link Secondary School Provision at Preston North End - Preston North End (pnefc.net)


PVC (Preston Vocational Centre)

PVC have a mission to deliver the highest quality construction based vocational training and support to enable young people and adults to gain skills, qualifications and confidence to enhance their full potential and build positive future. They aim to build upon the success of the centre, particularly focusing in on school provision, funded programmes, community engagement and strength and governess. 

The aim of our alternative education programme is to take a holistic approach for tackling social exclusion by supporting young people who are disengaged with school. We do this by offering opportunities outside the classroom and working on pupil’s personal and social development. Our programme engages some of the hardest to reach by using construction techniques that combines prolonged focus, personal interest, sense of achievement and self-confidence. This programme can deliver a City and Guilds Level 1 Qualification in Construction Skills (QCF).

Please view their website by clicking on this link Home | Preston Vocational Centre


My Future Counts 

My Future Counts offers two courses; "Foodwise" and "Living Independently" to support learners with life skills and gain recognised qualifications. Foodwise helps young people to develop practical cooking skills as well as personal, social and work related skills. Living independently is aimed at young people to develop skills that will support them during adulthood. For example; earning and spending money, making financial choices, cooking on a budget and basic food safety.

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