Life Skills - SEND Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the College have a Disability Statement? How is it implemented?
In line with the Equality Act of 2010 East Surrey College has a Single Equality Policy for Students that encompasses all previous equality and diversity policies including the Disability Statement. The policy is implemented through equality objectives which are reviewed annually.
2. How many students are there in the group? What is the staff/pupil ratio?
Group sizes may vary but for Entry Level it is usually between five and ten students depending on the individual support needs within the group. There is always a Lecturer and Learning Support Assistants allocated according to the individual needs of the students. This is planned at the transition stage and may be increased or decreased following reviews of progress. Some students may have high support needs in which case there is 1:1 support in the class and also at break times.
3. What is covered on the programme?
Each Life Skills - SEND programme is tailored to meet individual requirements, taking into account previous courses attended, qualifications achieved and progression goals. Programmes and qualifications are selected to develop confidence and independence and prepare students to access a further vocational course or employment with support. Students may be streamed for maths and English working at their individual capabilities, taking GCSEs or functional skills qualifications accordingly. For some students taking exams may not be appropriate but development of maths and English is a priority for all so these will be embedded in all lessons where possible. All programmes aim to build independence and equip students to make appropriate choices and decisions for their future.
4. Are students supervised at lunch/break times? What is the staff ratio?
Parents/carers routinely comment favourably on our inclusive environment.
Students are encouraged to mix with others in order to develop social skills and are supervised during all breaks and lunch times. Depending on the needs of the individual student this could be 1:1 or through group support.
5. Do students take part in work-experience programmes?
Students on full time study programmes will have the opportunity to take part in work experience or undertake a workplace project. Students will be prepared for this in-house through initiatives such as participation in an enterprise scheme, or voluntary work in the community. The progression route for a growing number of students will be a Traineeship or Supported Internship Programme in employment.
6. Are students able to access all the College facilities?
Individual needs are taken into account to assess which College facilities and events are accessed. The majority of our students are fully integrated into College life and benefit from using all our facilities. They take part in cross College activities and enrichment sessions, such as fun sports and social activities, charity fund-raising, College conferences and Freshers’ Week.
7. Is there access to Speech and Language Therapy / Physiotherapy / Occupational Therapy?
Based on the information contained in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), we will know which therapies students will need to access. We call upon our specialist services such as a Speech and Language Therapist to provide updated assessments and plans for implementation of the therapy with teaching and support staff.
8. Are any of the staff Makaton signers?
We have qualified signers in the department who are Makaton and Signalong trained. We also have staff members who can communicate using BSL. Our team are trained in Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
9. How many days a week is the course? And what accreditation do the students work towards?
Courses normally run over three days for 34 weeks. Most qualifications are one year in duration although many students will continue at College for up to three years. Individual needs are taken into account when advising which course is appropriate as well as a progression route. We use a variety of awarding bodies and qualifications depending on prior attainment and learning goals. Progression routes may include further courses in the Life Skills - SEND department, progression to other College departments or into Supported Internships.
10. Do the students access vocational courses within the College?
Our current Entry 3 Vocational course gives students the opportunity to study units of various courses across College e.g. Painting and Decorating, Construction, Horticulture, Hospitality, Hairdressing and Beauty therapy. These offer an excellent grounding to widen experience and assess areas of particular interest.
11. What types of community skills are taught within the programme?
A wide variety of skills are taught including enterprise, sport and fitness, employability, independence and travel training.
12. How long do the students stay on the programme?
Each programme runs for one year although, students who join us at age 16 routinely follow programmes for up to three years. Students will be given information, advice and guidance about progression opportunities within the College and even externally. Students continue to show progress of achievement and commitment to learning in order to move to another course within the Life Skills - SEND department or Level 1 in other areas of the College or onto a Supported Internship programme.
13. How are students encouraged towards extra- curricular activities? eg clubs, sports
All students are given details about enrichment opportunities during their induction at the start of their course and are encouraged to attend. Activities are run at lunch time and in the late afternoon. Some of the activities include Comic Book Club, Board Games and Touch Tennis (any more?). Staff will accompany the student to the activity of their choice to settle them in if they wish. Students also take part in the department and College councils and are active in making sure their voices are heard. This is encouraged and the whole College benefits greatly from this inclusive approach.
14. Can the College provide any equipment that the young person might need?
Each individual student’s needs are taken into account and students are asked during the interview process if they require any assistive technology or specialised equipment to support their learning. The College will endeavour to purchase what is needed for individual students.
15. What type of experience do staff have?
Our staff are knowledgeable and experienced in working with students who have learning difficulties and disabilities. Teaching staff have also taught in a wide variety of settings including with Mencap, PMLD, MLD and SLD schools and educational settings. All staff – whether teaching or support - take part in an annual commercial upskilling programme engaging with employers and other external practitioners. There is a well-respected observation and professional development programme in operation which was judged to be excellent by Ofsted inspectors in their report in 2015.
16. Do students have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)?
All students in the Life Skills - SEND Department have an individualised ILP which is planned in line with each student’s goals and aspirations and based upon outcomes written in the EHCP. ILPs include development targets which are regularly reviewed. These will be shared with parents/carers at Parent/Carer evenings but can also be accessed remotely on Parent/Carer Portal, details of which will be shared with you after enrolment.
17. What have students gone onto once they have left the course?
Each student is different so may move onto different settings. The majority of students progress through the Life Skills - SEND department and move onto Level 1 courses and higher throughout the College leading eventually to employment. Others may not stay so long and take up paid work, voluntary work or independent living. The College has introduced a Supported Internship programme that prepares and places students in work, either voluntary or paid.
18. If I have an issue with an aspect of the course or College, how do I take this up?
Our experience is that most students are very happy with their course, their teaching and progress and that any issue can be remedied informally; however, the College has a published complaints (feedback) procedure which is published on the College website.
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