Learners say that coming to Fircroft transforms their lives.

As a residential college we undertake action research to understand how that transformation happens. Our findings suggest that these are the key factors:

The Space

The beauty of the buildings and grounds make learners feel valued. Fircroft offers a retreat from ordinary life and a safe space to take the risk of changing.

“at least for a few nights every so often I put my head down and think I’ve just got to do this”

A Sense of Community

Fircroft is small. So individuals are recognised by staff and by each other. Our diversity exposes us to different experiences and opinions.

“almost like you’re part of a mini motivational team pushing each other to do well”

An Intensive Course

Residential courses are focused and fully immersive.  So short course and Access learners make a lot of progress in a very short time

Critical Thinking

Our curriculum and how it is delivered encourages debate and a critical examination of our frames of reference

“it has changed my perception of life and has improved my knowledge on society”

Tutors and Learners as Equals

Tutors value the experience of adult learners and relate to them as individuals inside and outside the classroom

they’ve come to an environment that gives them the opposite experience, i.e. affirmation, acceptance, acknowledgement, respect and value”


The college supports learners with complex needs. They also support each other and act as role models.

“even though you’ve got staff support, a lot of the time it’s good to get support off the students”

Click here to see the academic reading and reports that this is based on.