MORE than 400 people attended the graduation ceremony at Foxes Academy.

The Minehead-based school held its end of year celebrations at the Crazy Horse venue at Butlin's on Friday, July 19.

Foxes Academy, Selbourne Place, trains young adults with learning disabilities, preparing them for employment within the hospitality industry and helping them to live as independently as possible once they leave the specialist school.

Around 460 people, including students, friends and family members, attended the ceremony.

Guest speaker with Great British Bake Off 2018 semi finalists Briony Williams.

Briony gave a moving speech inspiring Foxes’ students to overcome any obstacles to become stronger individuals. She stressed how they could overcome those challenges with love and support from their family and friends.

Briony also shared her biggest Bake-Off challenge had been planning, baking and presenting a biscuit chandelier. She said that being born without any fingers on one hand was a huge challenge to being able to tie the biscuits together with ribbons but she had overcome this by using a stapler instead.

Her speech closed with the words “be the best that you can be and believe in yourself.”

Foxes' 2018 graduates Harry Roberts and Luke Northmore also attended to tell this year's cohorts about their success in finding employment.

Each year awards are given to three students who deserve special recognition.

The third place winner was Alexander Warman, aged 20 with Down syndrome and speech difficulties. Alexander has made excellent progress with his communication and loves to swim and play football.

Second place went to Alex Edwards, aged 19 with Down syndrome and development delay. Alex has achieved level one in her speaking and listening exams and excels in swimming. She has long and short course mosaic records in 50m fly and is the European mosaic champion.

The overall winner Stephen Lethaby joined Foxes from Selworthy School in Taunton, he is 20 and has hydrocephalus with speech and language problems. Despite these huge daily challenges, he travels independently on the bus, is always polite and well-mannered and has a great work ethic. He is moving on to a paid job as a commis chef with The Castle Hotel in Taunton.

This year Foxes Academy students and staff have become more integrated with the local Minehead and Taunton community. The students have taken part in Park Run, volunteered at The Regal Theatre, worked with Channel Adventures for their Duke of Edinburgh awards, worked at Hinkley Point and served West Somerset College students at their Prom at The Beach Hotel.

The day before graduation they joined forces with Year 10 students from West Somerset College and Magna Housing to raise funds for local charity Elliot’s Touch.

Local National Citizen Service team leader, Ashleigh Potter, organised a pick’n’mix sweet stall and hand print board on the beach to coincide with Foxes’ end of term games. Magna provided the materials for the board and the stall was staffed by the Year 10 students.

Interim principal, Emma Spry, said: “We were delighted to get involved with Ashleigh’s idea to raise money for such a worthy cause.

"The community of Minehead and Taunton are so fantastic at supporting our students with work experience and also visiting Foxes Hotel. We are grateful for their input as it helps our young people enter the world with the confidence and skills required to lead successful lives.”

Somerset County Gazette:


Somerset County Gazette:


Somerset County Gazette:



Somerset County Gazette: