A unique campus in the countryside

Set within more than 60 acres of working farmland and based in rural West Oxfordshire, Common Leys Farm is home to all our Animal Care courses and is a learning environment like no other.

Meerkats, alpacas, snakes and more!

Our Animal Care students work with a wide variety of mammals, reptiles and birds to gain as broad an understanding of caring for animals as possible, all within specialist indoor and outdoor units and enclosures.

Dream of working with animals for a living?

Our Animal Care & Management courses offer a practical, specialised route into a career for caring for animals of all sizes. A typical day could include feeding the alpacas, checking the nightlife webcam footage and camera traps, learning about livestock feeding habits, before finishing the day by helping to maintain the enclosures. No two days are ever the same here!

You will gain experience and insights into all aspects of looking after animals – biology, behaviour, welfare, conservation, retail management and more – to find out what really motivates you to go further in this industry.

Outside of lessons, learners help to run a dog agility arena at the Blenheim International Horse Trials, organise and run farm events for the public throughout the year, and have the amazing opportunity to go on a South African safari trip to study conservation.

Staff Profile: Emma Cross

Staff Profile: Emma Cross

Emma has lived and travelled all over the world, gaining a wide range of skills that she now puts into her teaching on the Animal Care & Management courses.

She was born in Sutherland, Scotland, where nearby osprey, otters, stag, and seals inspired her passion for animals. After completing her BSc in Animal Science at the University of Worcester, she worked in stables, kennels and vets to pick up important experience; journeyed around Uganda, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam; was an Animal Behaviour Lecturer at Hartpury College; and has since taught in Russia, Spain and Italy.

She has now been teaching at Abingdon & Witney College since April 2016.

"The opportunities the students have here at Common Leys are brilliant. We have excellent facilities across the whole site, and this means we can teach to the best of our abilities and the students benefit from that immensely.

Taking students on exciting expeditions and volunteering projects is also a massive draw for me, being something that I have a lot of experience in doing. We organise the trip to the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa every year and it never fails to inspire both the students and the staff, and it shines a light on what careers are out there for our students."

Staff Profile: Lee Boyes

Staff Profile: Lee Boyes

Lee's journey started with a Level 3 National Diploma in Animal Management, in which he gained a distinction. This was followed with a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Central Lancashire, an MSc in Animal Welfare and a PGCE teaching degree.

His background includes volunteering and working part-time in vets, kennels and catteries, and becoming a manager of 35-40 staff at Pets at Home. His teaching career started at a college in Shropshire for 4 months, gaining invaluable experience, before being offered the position to lecture on the Animal Behaviour and Welfare and Animal Therapy and Rehabilitation degree courses at the College.

He is also a Level 3 qualified small animal hydrotherapist and continues to learn and develop his skills by studying for a PhD.

"Working with great, ambitious and funny people, staff and students alike, is what makes teaching these courses so enjoyable.

As a group we are always learning from one another, as everyone has their own specialist areas and anecdotes from their various careers, and you can quickly develop your skills in so many areas.

I get a lot of satisfaction helping and watching learners achieve and develop skills for the industry, as you know in will stand them in good stead for the future."

Did you know?

Chloe

Previous school:
Henry Box School


Even though it was a huge change coming here from school, everyone has been so supportive, and I’ve changed for the better.

The campus is amazing and I’ve always wanted to work with animals – being here has really helped me focus on what I want to do in the future, which is to follow the conservation career path.

Having just finished my course, I’m going stay at Common Leys and do the Animal Behaviour and Welfare foundation degree with Oxford Brookes University.

Emma

Previous school:
Larkmead School


Working with a wide variety of animals like reptiles, birds and livestock has been a great experience, and working with different people on different projects – this is something that has improved my confidence and communication.

The variety of what we do on the course is excellent and has helped me to discover what I enjoyed most. In the future, I am planning to do a degree in Wildlife Conservation.

Alice

Previous school:
Henry Box School


I really enjoyed working with the wide variety of animals here at Common Leys Farm.

All the teachers were supportive, friendly and they organised fantastic trips, such as going to Crufts!

College is a great way to meet new people and develop your skills in your chosen area of study. It helped me understand what's needed to go far in the animal care industry.

My future plans are to work in a zoo or safari park.

Your future career

Animal Nursing Assistant

Animal Scientist

Animal Technician

Catteries/Kennels Assistant

Dog Groomer

Dog Trainer Uniformed Services

Pet Shop Manager

RSPCA Inspector

Zoo Keeper

Animal Care & Management Course Listings

An Introduction to running a successful smallholding

Part Time ESCR008P

This course is designed for those thinking of taking on farm livestock for the first time or who already have a smallholding but want to learn more. The course will be held at the Common Leys Farm Campus. You will take part in theory and practical se...

8th May 2022 - 8th May 2022

Sunday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Behaviour and Welfare, BSc (Hons) - Top Up

Undergraduate EHCM102P

The BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare Top Up programme can be studied full-time for 1 year or taken part-time across two years, with classes and practical sessions taught at the College's Witney and Common Leys Farm campuses.At Common Leys, you...

13th Sep 2021 - 24th Jun 2022

Wednesday & Thursday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Foundation Degree

Undergraduate EHWE103P

The FdSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare combines contemporary scientific principles and practical, hands-on training, ensuring that our graduates are successful in both vocational and academic settings.The diverse range of teaching methods and asses...

13th Sep 2021 - 23rd Jun 2023

Thursday & Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Care Level 2

School Leaver EFCM101P

This one year, full-time Level 2 course combines both theory and practical animal-related work to cover the key areas of routine management and welfare for animals. You will get to work with a range of animals including reptiles, alpacas, meerkats an...

6th Sep 2021 - 1st Jul 2022

Monday to Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Care, Level 1

School Leaver EFCM112P

This one year, full-time Level 1 course combines practical animal-related experience on the Common Leys Animal Unit along with theory to cover the key areas of the care of animals. You will get to work with a range of animals including rabbits, alpac...

6th Sep 2021 - 1st Jul 2022

Monday to Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Management, Level 3

School Leaver EFCM125P

This 2 year course combines both theory and practical work. The course covers the scientific aspects of animal care as well as the advanced aspects designed to give you a broad spectrum of knowledge and the opportunity for progression into higher edu...

6th Sep 2021 - 7th Jul 2023

Monday to Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Therapy and Rehabilitation, BSc (Hons) - Top Up

Undergraduate EHCR103P

The BSc (Hons) in Animal Therapy and Rehabilitation promotes an understanding of contemporary aspects of complimentary therapy and underpinning science, and their application in present-day situations. In this top up year, students continue to undert...

13th Sep 2021 - 24th Jun 2022

Wednesday & Thursday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Animal Therapy and Rehabilitation, Foundation Degree

Undergraduate EHCP101P

The FdSc in Animal Therapy and Rehabilitation promotes an understanding of contemporary aspects of complimentary therapy its underpinning science, and their application in present-day situations. A key feature of the FdSc programme is the emphasis on...

13th Sep 2021 - 23rd Jun 2023

Thursday & Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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City and Guilds Certificate in Dog Walking Level 2

Part Time EPCP104P

Do you have your own or are you thinking about setting up a professional dog walking business and would like an offical qualifcation to give you the competitive edge? Or do you want to know more about your own dog's behaviour and gain some tips for a...

29th Oct 2021 - 30th Oct 2021

Friday & Saturday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants

Part Time EPCN201P

This level 2 course is an excellent introduction to the art and skills required to become a professional dog groomer. You will work with a variety of dogs in our well-equipped dog grooming parlour, learning to correctly and safely restrain and handle...

11th Feb 2022 - 8th Jul 2022

Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants

Part Time EPCN202P

This level 2 course is an excellent introduction to the art and skills required to become a professional dog groomer. You will work with a variety of dogs in our well-equipped dog grooming parlour, learning to correctly and safely restrain and handle...

12th Feb 2022 - 9th Jul 2022

Saturday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Dog Behaviour and Training

Part Time EPCR206P

The short course is designed for dog lovers and owners. The course will be held at the Common Leys Farm campus where we have access to both classrooms and the practical facilities. These include a commercial dog grooming room and a dog agility arena....

21st Sep 2021 - 12th Oct 2021

Tuesday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Dog Behaviour and Training

Part Time EPCS100P

The short course is designed for dog lovers and owners. The course will be held at the Common Leys Farm campus where we have access to both classrooms and the practical facilities. These include a commercial dog grooming room and a dog agility arena....

3rd May 2022 - 24th May 2022

Tuesday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Horse Behaviour and Training

Part Time EPCR205P

The horse is a complex animal and to train them successfully whether for competing or hacking owners and handlers can really benefit from discovering how horse’s learn and how they perceive the world. This course will give you a genuine insight into ...

27th Sep 2021 - 18th Oct 2021

Monday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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Introduction to Lambing

Part Time ESCQ005P

Are you a new smallholder wanting to start breeding your own flock of sheep? Do you find the concept of lambing on your own scary? This day course is designed to give an insight into safe and efficient lambing procedures and aims to equip learners wi...

19th Mar 2022 - 19th Mar 2022

Saturday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

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