Setting up a cafe in a SEND school


The main objective of the project was to give students the opportunity to practice the skills of taking orders, handling money and preparing & serving coffee to staff and visitors, with a view to extending the enterprise project to selling cakes and sandwiches in the future. The project encompasses several benchmarks including BM2, BM3 & BM4.

How did you do it?

We used the external funding to purchase the barista machine. The Senior Leadership Team and Work Related Learning Co-ordinator worked with our Enterprise Advisor to arrange the purchase of the machine and supplies of coffee and also the provision of in house training for staff. The cafe was set up to run every Friday with students helping to organise and manage the order sheet and taking payment.

Challenges and solutions

One of the main challenges was deciding which machine to purchase as there are so many options on the market and we needed to ensure it was appropriate for our students. Our Enterprise Adviser introduced us to am amazing local company who really helped us to decide which was the best fit for our needs. As the company is local we are now hoping to continue the relationship to develop extra curricular or workplace opportunities for our students.


The project has given students the opportunity to run a pop up barista cafe which has hugely increased their confidence, taught them valuable management skills and provided an ideal in-house work experience opportunity when opportunities have been limited due to Covid 19 restrictions. The project has also given an unexpected boost to satff morale as there is a real buzz around the school on a Friday when the cafe is open for business!

Aoife Aherne Brook Green Centre for Learning Plymouth