Inclusive Learning in GFE College specialist base centres
The re-development of provision for learners who have high needs/SEN has been highly successful in the last few years with over 180 full time high needs learners each year. The introduction of work placements and greater independence training have provided young people attending the College with opportunities to ensure successful progression into adulthood. This has been further enhanced through a unique investment partnership with the College and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) who agreed that the College’s ability to support independence and employment was a key strand of supporting these young people into local services and work opportunities. This led to the building and refurbishment of two specialist learning areas, known as our ‘Base’ based in both Worcester and Redditch campuses offering sensory facilities and a independence training flat. These curriculum developments have been matched by increasingly strong quality of outcomes for learners with achievement rate performing at 92% overall for the last academic year and pass rate of 97%. Additionally, the College has now supported over 60 young people who have accessed the Supported Internship programme since it began in 2013, with an average of over 70% each year now progressing into permanent paid employment.
Positive destinations into all types of positive outcomes such as further education, training, employment or voluntary work currently account for 89% of leavers from the total learners. Whilst 70% entering employment from the internships programme seems lower than ideal, it is worth noting that the equivalent DWP provision for individuals with SEN, ‘Work Choice’ employment outcomes for the same period was 64% Nationally (Work Choice Official statistics, November 2016).
The range of provision for learners in this category has been developed substantially over the last two years with curriculum changes to ensure that all learners on full time programmes undertake some form of external placement. For the majority, this involves individual placement with an employer and for those students with more severe disabilities, our approach has been one of ensuring that voluntary and community work as well as greater independence in the community has been the focus. Our Ofsted inspection in 2016 awarded our provision for high needs as ‘good’ overall, a significant achievement given we were only 17 months into a merged College formation and had seen growth of high needs learner placement of 40% in a three-year period. All of this at a time of significant change with the introduction of the SEN reforms, education, health and care plans whilst also seeing increasing pressure placed upon the economy and potential work opportunities for those with SEN. How College has used this success and scale to influence others to support young people with SEN who wish to enter employment and independence housing is driven through relevant networks (for example, the Worcestershire Inclusive Employment Charter) and in key strategic plans for the county council, and remains ambitious currently working alongside housing associations to explore the co-creation of transition housing which would form a unique partnership between education, housing, health and social care.
Name of person submitting information: Claire Heywood
Role: Assistant Principal Inclusive & Employer Learning
Age range: 16+
Number on role: 1,000+