• Creating a Community Where Everyone Belongs

My Life Learning

Welcome to My Life Learning

An Ofsted registered specialist further education college, we provide a bespoke and exciting curriculum for people aged 16-25 years with additional needs.

Situated in Standish, My Life Learning is located in its own dedicated area within 84 acres of green land. We even have our own farm! We provide an alternative and inspiring environment in which you can learn and make new friends.

As part of the charity My Life, we offer an innovative and person-centred approach to education, based on the skills, gifts and needs of every individual student. Because we have flexible staffing and facilities, we can tailor the curriculum to you, with group or one to one lessons available.

Work experience and internship opportunities

As part of your learning we can also offer you a wide range of work experience and work placements, both on and off site.

These result in meaningful outcomes for our learners, helping them to develop a wide variety of different skills for the future.

All take place with support from our experienced job coaches.

Term dates

Our courses are between 3-5 days per week and last for 38 weeks, starting at the beginning of the academic year. You can view our term dates here.

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Why choose My Life Learning?


My Life Learning is part of the charity My Life, which was set up as a result of a group of people with disabilities and their families wanting something different to traditional types of health and social care services, as well as more choice and control over their own lives.

Our staff have worked in education or the care system for periods of time, and we have seen that traditional approaches often fail the people we care about.

This is not usually because of a lack of compassion, but more often because things start with a focus on the question of “what’s the matter?” without giving enough thought to “what matters” to the person themselves.

Our firm belief is that if we do what we know works for people, if we really listen to them, if we see who they are and what they have to offer – each person different – if we walk alongside them, then we can go on to do great things.

Along with the charity’s innovative vision, mission and values, this belief is embedded deeply within My Life Learning.

Our vision

Our vision is simple – for people to have a good life. Our belief is if we all give a little, we all gain and grow together.

Our goals are based on the Citizenship Model and focus on the seven key themes below.

Our mission

We strive to work in a person-centred way with people of all ages who may need support to achieve a good life for themselves, and to enable people to feel in control of their own lives, have the emotional support to get through the tough times, and have all the information and help they need to work out their own solutions.

This is why, as well as focusing on the more academic aspects of learning, a key element of our teaching involves preparing learners for adulthood, to enable them to live a life of their choosing, both now and in the future, a life in which they have as much choice and control as possible.

Our values

Here at My Life Learning we firmly believe and follow the charity’s values, which underpin everything that we do.

As teaching professionals, we are one team, working in a collaborative manner, with no artificial or perceived boundaries;

  • We celebrate and value the contribution of all people to society;
  • We respect individual aspirations and needs; and,
  • We provide person-centred high quality, life-enriching services.

Through the provision of high-quality education and support, we aim to give all our learners a purpose, independence, and a sense of belonging.

Choose My Life Learning and you will be choosing all that and much, much more. 

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Our curriculum

Our curriculum is designed around the Preparing for Adulthood framework, creating individualised programmes that are focused on four key outcomes for young people: 

  • Employment 
  • Friends, relationships and community 
  • Independent living 
  • Good health 

We offer a varied range of courses, from Animal Care to Catering, through to ICT, Art, Horticulture and much, much more.

Your own personalised learning pathway

Key to your learning is the opportunity to reach your full potential through your own personalised pathway, where we help you to identify and pursue your very own life and career goals.

This personalised approach enables you to reach targets tailored to you, which we continually review and assess to ensure you’re achieving your own tangible outcomes.

English and Maths are embedded in all curriculum areas and can also be taught as stand-alone subjects on a 1:1 basis or in small groups, alongside cross-curricular activities. Many of our courses lead to a mix of accredited learning and non-accredited outcomes, which are personal to each learner.

We believe that every individual should be supported to achieve their full potential. As a result, a key focus running throughout our courses is that of preparing learners for adulthood, with as much independence as possible. We’re proud to provide our learners with a learning journey that leads them to meaningful opportunities in adult life.

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Meeting your needs

Our unique facilities and flexible staffing allow us to provide a bespoke curriculum that meets the requirements of students with a variety of needs.

We have expertise in meeting the needs of students with conditions including but not limited to:

  • Severe learning difficulties
  • Physical disabilities
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Communication difficulties
  • Epilepsy and/or associated neurological conditions
  • Specific learning difficulties
  • Moderate learning difficulties
  • Emotional difficulties
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Our facilities

Learn in natural surroundings

Set in our own dedicated area within 84 acres of green land, we provide an alternative and inspiring environment in which to learn.

On site facilities include classrooms, an IT suite and indoor and outdoor activity areas. 

We are also fortunate to have our own farm, on which learners can become involved in animal care and horticulture.

Products grown and made by students are often sold at our many events, giving learners the opportunity to become involved in commerce and enterprise. 

Real-life learning

As well as offering work experience placements, we have access to café and residential chalet facilities, which provide learning in hospitality and catering, both front and back of house, providing opportunities for learners to experience real-world settings. 

As part of the charity My Life Legacy, we are registered with the Care Quality Commission. The My Life Learning site is entirely accessible with specialist healthcare support staff and facilities, including a fully accessible hygiene suite, also available to learners. 

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Our team

John Mitchell, Head of Education  

As Head of Education, John oversees every aspect of My Life Learning, working closely with the wider team to ensure that we offer a supportive and effective environment for everyone to flourish. He has developed a strategic role within the Senior Management Team, working in partnership with North West Specialist Colleges, local authorities and other bodies to bring about positive outcomes for our students.     

John has a strong background teaching in the post-16 Independent Specialist College sector. Starting his career as a Learning Support Assistant at a college in Yorkshire, he quickly moved into a teaching role in a variety of subjects including Performing Arts and Functional Skills, before leading an ICT and Media Department – which gave John a specialism in how to use Assistive Technology to aid learning and independence. Prior to joining My Life Learning, John was Head at another independent specialist college.

Sue Cadman, Deputy Head Teacher

Sue joined the My Life Learning team in June 2018 as Deputy Head Teacher and brings a wealth of teaching and management experience. She started her teaching career in 1990 in Essex and then moved back to the North-West, where she continued her teaching in a mainstream high school, becoming Assistant Head Teacher in charge of Pastoral Care.

At My Life Sue is the Designated Safeguarding Lead for education and responsible for the safeguarding of our learners.

Sue also holds a Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism, which supports her understanding of learners on the autism spectrum. Being a mother of two teenage boys, one with a diagnosis of autism, she understands the pressures and worries families have when it comes to ensuring that their children get the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Caroline Lamb, Data, Quality and Careers Lead

Caroline’s background is in teaching across all primary years, from Foundation Stage to Year 6.  While teaching, she carried out the roles of SENCo, Deputy Head and then Acting Head.  As SENCo, Caroline developed a whole school intervention programme to ensure positive outcomes for all pupils. She also delivered assessment training and moderation events for the local authority and led the school in the development of a creative curriculum.

At My Life, Caroline quality assures assessment and learning, to ensure quality and progression for all our learners.  She is passionate about learners being supported in undertaking quality and meaningful work placements, to empower them ready for the next steps into adulthood. Caroline is currently undertaking the Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Advice. 

Governing body

Our governing body draws from a wide range of backgrounds and includes educational professionals and people who have lived experience of special educational needs, through their families. 

Minutes of Governor’s Meetings can be requested by emailing mylifelearning@my-life.org.uk.

Kevin Massey, Chair

Kevin is an experienced education professional, with expertise in school improvement, leadership development, change management, complex data analysis and performance management.

This extensive experience has given Kevin a deep understanding of the challenges which confront schools and local authorities in current legislation, financial constraints and the political landscape.

Kevin currently works with a range of Multi Academy Trusts (MAT) and primary and secondary schools in a variety of contexts. He specialises in developing the leadership capacity in a MAT, particularly the key leader and MAT governance. 

Andy Pollard, Governor

Andy has wide experience and success in education, with a range of leadership roles and headships in secondary schools across the North West. The main focus of Andy’s work and expertise has always centred on enabling students to become “successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens,” and this has led to some remarkable results both for the students themselves and the schools they attend.

As CEO of the Mosaic Multi-Academy Trust, which includes Standish Community High School near My Life Learning, Andy is passionate about developing good leadership practice in education, encouraging a culture of high-performing staff and driving engaging, relevant and well-considered curricula.

Debbie Jones, Parent Governor

With her son a student at My Life Learning, Debbie has been a parent governor since 2020. She also has deep experience of the health, special educational needs and care sectors, having practiced as a nurse in mental health for 13 years – and a nurse in learning difficulties for a further seven years.

With a First Class BA in Applied Community Studies, Debbie has spoken at several conferences about what inclusion and inclusive education means to her as a parent. Debbie was also a Parent Representative on the Greater Manchester Person Centred Community Approach Learning Disability Innovation Programme.

Debbie therefore brings to the governance team a desire to ensure our learners continue to experience a person-centred and meaningful approach to learning, enabling them to gain the skills and confidence to lead fulfilled lives.

Sharon Ashcroft, Community Governor

As Sharon has herself experienced the incredible difference My Life Learning can and should make for people and their families, she is perfectly placed to be our Community Governor.

Her son grew in confidence while he was at My Life Learning and is now on an apprenticeship at My Life’s Stable Door Café & Ice Cream Parlour, using the skills he learnt to move towards the world of work. Sharon herself was so enamoured with the My Life approach, she first volunteered and now works as a Housekeeper at our Standish site.

Sharon feels that being a Community Governor is her chance to give something back to My Life, yet we believe her experience of how My Life works – and how it can maintain high standards – is hugely valuable to the governance team.

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My Life Learning is committed to supporting young people to achieve positive outcomes from their time with us. For some learners this includes progression into employment.

Through Careers Education and Guidance, our students:

  • Develop a positive self-image, in relation to future learning and work roles, based on an accurate assessment and recording of their abilities and aptitudes
  • Acquire aspirations for their future based on a sound understanding of the range of immediate and lifelong opportunities available through learning and work, and of career progression structures
  • Develop skills to form and implement effective decisions and a reflective approach to learning from experience

If you’d like to know more, please contact our Careers Lead Caroline Lamb on 01257 472 900 or email caroline.lamb@my-life.org.uk

Work experience placements

Many of our learners have enjoyed taking part in a wide range of work experience placements both on and off site in the community, with support from our experienced job coaches.

These are included in our review process through our application of The Gatsby Benchmarks. These form the basis of the Government’s new Careers Strategy and represent the very best practice in careers education.

At My Life we use the Benchmarks to review our Careers provision, plan for its further development and ensure that all aspects of Careers, including placements and work experience, result in meaningful outcomes for our learners.

You can read about our learners’ experiences below.

Sumaiyah makes light work of her placement at Barnado’s!

Learner Sumaiyah made amazing progress during her weekly work experience at Barnardo’s.

Despite initially being slightly hesitant to make decisions for herself, after building up good relationships with Barnardo’s staff and her support, she learnt to work more independently and showed a good level of confidence whilst completing her tasks.

Teaching Assistant Nichola Aspinall said:

“It has been lovely to see Sumaiyah develop and flourish within a real working environment – the positive attitude she now has towards work should be celebrated!”

Store Manager Helen Eccleston echoed Nicola’s praise, saying:

“At the start of the placement Sumaiyah needed quite a bit of support and prompting regarding tasks assigned to her, but over the weeks she has really blossomed.

Her confidence has grown and she has developed her skills and is now at a point where she uses her initiative to start new tasks without being asked.

Sumaiyah has also become extremely independent in undertaking any tasks assigned to her. Sumaiyah has a positive, friendly attitude and it has been a pleasure to have her working with us, she has become a valued member of our team.”


Luke shows he has green fingers during his work experience at The Grange Community Gardens

Learner Luke Unsworth performed brilliantly during his work placement at The Grange Community Gardens in Preston. Having been given a wide variety of gardening tasks to complete by manager Chris, including planting tomato plants, wildflowers, potatoes, peas, spreading manure(!) weeding and edging, Luke has thrived in his new working environment.

Learning Support Jane Crompton said of Luke:

“The Grange has proved a great placement for Luke. It’s a very welcoming and relaxing space that is used by many volunteers and has a real community feel about it. Luke has been enthusiastic about his placement. We have been working a lot on increasing Luke’s attention and independence when completing tasks. This is an area Luke is improving in and he had a great session re-planting 16 tomato plants recently, almost entirely independently (from sorting different varieties to making sure they were firmly bedded in). I was very proud of him.”

Liam demonstrates his passion for animals at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary

Learner Liam is passionate about animals and is studying towards a Level Two qualification in Animal Care, including Health and Safety in the Workplace.

As part of his course, Liam has been undertaking a work placement at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary, where he has developed the skills required to care for various animals, from rabbits and horses to hedgehogs.

Liam has developed his resilience whilst working or, in his own words, learnt “to go with the flow and get on with the job.” Whilst at the animal sanctuary, he has developed a good understanding of the world of work. This has included working alongside others, listening to instructions and being able to carry out tasks efficiently and independently.

Alex Fisher, Manager of the sanctuary, has spoken very highly of Liam and says:

“Liam has now learnt how to clean out the rabbits unsupervised, clean the goats, horses, donkey and duck houses. Liam always arrives on time and is well presented. He is friendly and gets on well with the staff and volunteers here at Woodlands.”

Luke is in pole position as he helps out at Halfords

Learner Luke has developed his confidence whilst learning new skills on the shop floor at Halfords.

Fitting in well with the team, he  has consistently demonstrated a positive attitude in the workplace and has been keen to learn new skills by undertaking tasks such as keeping the shelves ordered and stocked, as well as working in the bicycle department.

Halford’s General Manager Greg says of Luke: 

“Luke has been working really hard and we are happy to have him on board, well done Luke, keep up the good work!”

What our work experience providers say…

We’re so proud of our learners, who give so much through their work experience. Here’s what just some of our work experience providers have to say about them.

“The group have been a big help over the last few weeks. It’s often the case that while groups get a lot out of being here, we don’t necessarily get much in the way of work in return. But your group have done everything asked of them really well and seem to take a real pride in what they do. Thanks again.” 

Chris Taylor, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Let’s Grow Preston

“Bradley has been working with us since January and we couldn’t be happier with his progress. Customers and staff alike comment on how he has become so confident and content in his role.

Bradley greets all of our visitors and explains how Book Cycle works. He organises donated books, assists with small maintenance jobs and even creates posters and flyers. He makes a decent cup of tea too!

Bradley is a joy to be around. His pleasant demeanour brings visitors back time and time again and his work ethic has been a massive help to us.” 

Rachel Palmer, Book Cycle


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What learners and families say about us

Our learners are at the heart at everything we do. Here, they tell all.

“I have been learning how to do things for myself and by myself – I can now go to the toilet by myself, take my plate back to the kitchen, sort out my own lunchbox (putting it in the fridge and collecting it from the fridge). I am becoming more independent.” Nathaniel A

“I have got better at socialising.” Jacob B

“I have enjoyed Maths and I have learnt about pronouns and adverbs in English.” Thomas C

“I have enjoyed learning in my new lessons – Woodwork, Gardening, Media and Art. In Woodwork I have enjoyed making the wizards, witches and ghosts and I have learnt to use different tools in the workshop. I have enjoyed making stuff and getting creative!” Robert

“I enjoy all my learning and working in PSHE – I have been very busy learning about cyber bullying. I am happy at My Life.” James C

“I enjoy Fridays when I do the dog walk and Dance and Drama.  We do a quiz and karaoke. I love singing and answering questions.” Ryan

“I like working with the chickens and the pigs.  I like counting the chicken eggs! I learned how to count backwards like a rocket take-off!” Gareth

“I have learnt to be happier and more confident and cope with changes better.” Bradley M

“Everything has gone well! I’m really enjoying my work experience day at The Grange. I’ve learnt a bit of everything – how to pull weeds up safely in Horticulture and we even pressed our own apple juice. I’ve got better at reading and making sentences in English and doing sums in Maths. I enjoy the workshop as there is always something different to do….we made a pencil holder!” Luke O

“I’ve enjoyed Horse Care on Tuesdays and I’ve learnt how to health check the horses. I enjoy working with the horses the most.” Tilly R

We’re always keen to get feedback. This is what the families of our students say about us.

“My Life Learning have been brilliant with my child. It is the only educational setting he has been happy at. Not only has he interacted, he’s made friends and become a happier young man.”

“Thanks so much for giving them this opportunity, they are really going to thrive.”

“He’s so happy to go to college in the morning, he’s sleeping better and he’s loving his options.”

“He actually said and signed to me the other day that he saw the ducks having a bath in the water – before, he never told me what he did at school.”

“It’s wonderful to see the fab write ups in his diary and the meaningful and fun learning opportunities he is experiencing.”

“Just wanted to share a very proud moment with you and your staff. Last night when Gareth was at Duke of Edinburgh, they were learning map reading. Chris who leads the group came to me telling me how impressed he was with Gareth as he knew every sign. I told him that he had been learning about this at My Life Learning (Duke of Edinburgh). Can’t tell you how proud I was! Thought it was important to share this as I’m sure the staff would be very proud of Gareth too. Thank you for making Gareth’s learning meaningful and fun. This is the first time in years I have felt stress free about Gareth’s education, he’s just so happy!”

“Nathaniel has made fantastic progress towards his targets and outcomes and the provision that My Life offers, many opportunities to consistently work towards and meet his outcomes. We are delighted with Nathaniel’s development since September, particularly around his communication, independence and managing his anxiety. He is a far more relaxed and independent young man and the surroundings, provision and staff are bringing out the very best in him. We wish to thank the wonderful team who support Nathaniel each day and enable him to have the very best provision and opportunities and have supported and cared for him brilliantly – the achievements are amazing! Thank you so much.”

“Luke has enjoyed work experience which has extended his interests beyond his previous very limited interests i.e. Eurovision and football. He has particularly enjoyed working at The Grange and horticulture related activities.

I think that Luke has benefited most from the group work experience. His confidence has grown, and he is now happier conversing with people outside his usual small circle of family and friends. Moreover, I think that Luke can now envisage a future that includes gainful employment.”


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Here at My Life Learning we welcome learners from any location and any school.

We realise that choosing a college can seem like a daunting task, so we’re keen to make it as easy as possible for you.  

That’s why we recommend that you make an appointment to visit us, so that you can have a look around and meet our tutors. 

How to apply to My Life Learning 
  • Step 1: Phone to arrange to come and visit us here at My Life Learning. 
  • Step 2: Next, ask us for an application form, fill it in and send it back to us.  
  • Step 3: We will collect information from your current or previous learning provider. After this, we will use this information to carry out a pre-assessment. 
  • Step 4: If your application is approved, based on the pre-assessment, we will invite you to My Life Learning for a friendly and informal assessment session.  
  • Step 5: If, after the assessment session, your application is successful, you will be offered a preliminary place at My Life Learning until funding is confirmed with your local authority. 
  • Step 6: Once your funding is approved we will start your transition package, which will be tailor made to you. 

You can apply for a place with us at any time during the academic year, although we do advise that the earlier you do this, the better, so that time can be given to confirm funding with your local authority.

Welcoming new learners

We understand the emotional impact that new environments can have on new students and always put in place a transitional period when they join us, which helps smooth their pathway to learning.

Contact us 

If you’re interested in applying to My Life Learning or finding out more, you can call us on 01257 472 900 or email us at mylifelearning@my-life.org.uk

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We are committed to ensuring that the children and young people we teach are able to learn in a safe and nurturing environment and are proud of the fact that many of the testimonials we receive from parents and carers express how happy and safe their loved ones feel in our care.

As well as our dedicated Designated Senior Lead for Education, we have a Safeguarding Team and, as part of our proactive approach to safeguarding, an ongoing training programme for all staff and volunteers, to ensure that they are aware of and act upon the latest safeguarding guidance and legislation.

We also work alongside external agencies to ensure the safety of our learners and may need to share information with them if we have any concerns about the wellbeing of a learner in our care.

Our commitment to the safeguarding and welfare of the people we teach and support is underlined by our robust policies and procedures, including our Safeguarding, Prevent and Whistleblowing policies.

Most importantly, we place emphasis on listening to our young people and empower and support them to report any concerns they may have.    

Critically, to us, safeguarding goes beyond process. It is embedded in our college, throughout our curriculum and pastoral systems, enabling us to promote, develop and reward behaviour that creates a positive environment and one in which our students feel safe and happy to learn.

Safeguarding team

Our dedicated Safeguarding Team, led by our Designated Senior Lead for Education, work to ensure that all our students not only feel safe during their time with My Life Learning, but that any help and support is easily accessible to them.  

Sue Cadman, Designated Senior Lead for Education

  • 8 years’ experience as the Designated Senior Lead for Education at a previous school
  • Diploma in Designated Safeguarding Lead to QLS Level 5
  • Level 3 trained in Safeguarding and Child Protection



Scott Cummins, Safeguarding Officer

  • Level 4 trained in Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • Level 3 trained in Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and Children
  • Trained in Prevent with Lancashire County Council
  • Trained in Safeguarding Disguised Compliance

Scott has also trained in a number of other areas, including the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act.

Alison Greenhalgh, Safeguarding Officer

  • Level 4 trained in Advanced Designated Safeguarding Lead and currently completing Level 5 Designated Safeguarding Lead training
  • Level 4 trained in Adult Safeguarding
  • Level 4 trained in Child Protection
  • Trained in Trio of Vulnerabilities BISP, BISP Managing Allegations, BISP Multi Agency/Partnership Working and Point of Contact for Prevent and Challenge

Safeguarding policies

To ensure the safety of our learners, we follow key guidance and have a number of robust policies, including:

More of our policies can be found here.

How to report a concern

If you are concerned about the welfare, safety or rights of a learner at My Life Learning, please call our Safeguarding Team on 01257 472 900 or email either sue.cadman@my-life.org.uk or john.mitchell@my-life.org.uk.

If you feel that a learner is at immediate risk of harm to themselves or others, please call the emergency services on 999.

If your concern has arisen when My Life Learning is not open, please contact the most relevant organisation below.

  • Children’s Social Care 01942 828300
  • Adult Social Care 01942 828777
  • Wigan Safeguarding Children’s Board 01942 486025
  • Early Help Hub 01942 486262
  • NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000

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Contact us

If you and your family are making choices about your future, we recommend that you make an appointment to visit us so that you can chat with tutors and have a look around. 

Tel: 01257 472 900

Email: mylifelearning@my-life.org.uk


My Life Learning,

Thompson House Equestrian Centre,

Off Pepper Lane, Standish,

Wigan, Lancashire, WN6 0PP

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Wigan Council
Lancashire County Council
Shop 4 support
Care Quality Commission
NHS England

Registered charity number 1167858 - Registered office: Thompson House Equestrian Centre, Off Pepper Lane, Standish, Wigan, Lancashire, WN6 0PP

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