Learning Trades Ltd

Alternative Education Provision

Learning Ltd was founded in 2019 by Christine and Nick Barratt – Atkin to provide quality Alternative Education for students who struggle with the demands of mainstream school life. It is a sister company to Open Arms Ltd.

Based on a farm in the village of Escomb, near Bishop Auckland, it is a peaceful setting for students to learn and thrive.

As an Alternative Provider, we strive to deliver high quality, effective and inclusive provision, placing our students at the heart of everything we do. We offer AEP to young people displaying a wide range of complex behavioural issues, including those at risk of exclusion and those with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Our Curriculum

Maths and English are taught at Functional Skills Level and some students may be entered for GCSE level in English Language and Maths.

PHSE is delivered on a weekly basis encouraging debate and understanding of real world issues.

Careers Education is a focus for our older students.

AQA Qualifications are accessible for all our students to achieve.

Our Equine Students must have a passion for horses and being outdoors! The benefits of Equine/animal therapy are immense and it is lovely to see students interacting with our animals and building relationships as well as learning to care for their health and well being. Students work on the stable yard on an afternoon – as well as riding our lovely team of horses and ponies.

Students who attend our Forest school have the opportunity to work through the Wild Passport Scheme which is a nationally recognised qualification.

Forest School students are taken to the Forest School Site just a mile away from the farm.

They spend the day working outdoors and in the indoor classroom there – completing Maths, English and some Science based activities. They cook their own lunch and participate in many team building activities. This placement is most suited to students who have a passion for being outdoors and don’t mind being out whatever time of year it is!

Our Students

We welcome male and female students aged 11-16. Students are taught in small classes and work is differentiated to each student’s individual ability.

Students are referred by feeder schools and Education/Health Professionals.

We support our students to realise their full potential, to know their strengths and remove perceived limitations. We want them to connect with and succeed in the world around them, achieve academic and personal targets and progress into education, training and areas of employment they are passionate about.

Students who attend Forest School are typically young people aged 11-14 however, we do have some older students who are well suited to this provision.

Pictures of our activities can be seen on our Facebook/Instagram pages.

Introducing the team

Our staff: we have a fabulous team offering expertise in Equestrian and Outdoor Activities who really engage our students. Learning is fun and we are very impressed at what our students can achieve.

Christine Barratt – Atkin


BA (Hons) Education

Ben Durrans

AEP Manager

Maths Specialist

Safe Guarding Lead

Sjaan Close

Class Teacher – Learning Trades Equine

Vince Spensley

Forest School Teaching Assistant

Graeme White

Forest School Leader F.E.R.N Outdoor Education

Emma Fryatt

Teaching/Support Assistant

Learning Trades Equine

Paddock Lodge

Naomi Batt

Teaching Assistant

Learning Trades Equine

Paddock Lodge

See our Gallery for more pictures


£95 Equine Studies per day
£95 Forest School per day

£2.60 for lunch and breakfast if required.

Transport is arranged by feeder schools.


9:30am -2:30pm


Open Arms Ltd
Three Lane Ends Farm,
Bishop Auckland,
County Durham

For Referrals and Safe Guarding

Ben Durrans

AEP Manager

Email: ben@open-arms.org.uk

Telephone: 07845527780