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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: 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?

Our successful students have gone on to study animal behaviour, therapy and veterinary degrees in higher education and taken on apprenticeships with employers such as Medivet.

Our students have the opportunity to visit the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa to help with conservation efforts!

Looking for your next step after Level 3? We offer degree-level Animal Care & Management courses in partnership with Oxfordshire Brookes University!

At the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, our students manage the dog agility course and staff man our stand.


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.


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.


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 courses

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 and livestock. You will get to work with a range of animals including ...

9th Sept 2024 - 4th Jul 2025

Monday to Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

View course details
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...

9th Sept 2024 - 4th Jul 2025

Monday to Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

View course details
Animal Management T Level

School Leaver EFCV100P

During the 2-year programme, students will learn the core knowledge and skills that are needed for entry to a range of animal care and management occupations. This includes 9 weeks minimum working with an employer on an industry placement....

9th Sept 2024 - 26th Jun 2026

Monday to Friday

Animal Care & Management

Common Leys Farm

View course details