A student from a specialist SEN school is excelling with us at Bread & Beyond, the on-site bakery at Prior’s Court’s.

Bread & Beyond has been welcoming Lawrie from Brookfields School, in Reading, on a weekly basis since the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, as part of a new work placement arrangement.

Since starting his placement with us, Lawrie has been developing his skills in food preparation and associated key knowledge, such as hygiene and food safety.

During the festive season, Lawrie was helping the to create Bread & Beyond’s Christmas range, including taking on many of the processes in producing Bread & Beyond’s signature muffins (which had a Christmas pudding flavour for the festive season).

Alongside Lawrie’s weekly work placement, Bread & Beyond is currently hosting weekly sessions with four young people from Prior’s Court.

Working with Brookfields is in line with Bread & Beyond’s ambition to work with young people from other SEN schools, as well as from Prior’s Court, to tackle the employment gap for autistic adults in the UK.

Artisan Bakery Manager Dylan Needham said: “Lawrie has been a welcome addition to the Bread & Beyond family and we are extremely pleased with the progress he is making so far.

“This is a new partnership with Brookfields, welcoming their students into our bakery as we do with young people from Prior’s Court, and we are encouraged with how the partnership has worked so far.

“It is vitally important that we work with other SEN organisations as Prior’s Court has the skills and experience to successfully support people into the world of work.”

Brandon Mills, Headteacher at Brookfields School, said: “At Brookfields School, we have developed partnerships with local businesses and organisations to support our students’ journeys into adult life and into the world of work. We are thrilled to be working with Bread & Beyond. Through this committed partnership, we are all able to make a positive and sustainable impact on the lives of young people with learning difficulties and additional needs.”

Only 32% of autistic adults in the UK are in any kind of paid employment, despite over 80% stating a clear wish to work. Just 16% are in full-time employment.*

Baking is an activity which suits the strength and skills of people with autism; highly process driven, practical, and with an end product which is rewarding and motivating. 

While the bakery shop is not open to the general public, Bread & Beyond products are available at a number of outlets across the West Berkshire area, including Hog & Hedge, in the centre of Newbury; Casey Fields Farm Shop, in Ashampstead; and Yattendon Village Stores. We also supply all the bread and baked goods on the Prior’s Court site, catering for around 90 young people and 500 staff members, as well as supplying bread to nearby Downe House School, in Hermitage.

*Figures from National Autistic Society research in 2016.