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Most Inclusive Practice Across a School

Most innovative intervention

Inclusion in Further Education

Inclusion in Employment

Most Inclusive Practice Across a School

Lyndhurst First School

What the Judges Said

What strikes us is that this school is constantly looking to improve at everything it already does. There were parts that suffered due to lack of data, but a thorough submission showing the engagement with school, pupils and families.

Context

“This is a very inclusive school. Staff know the children and families well and have an inclusive approach.

It does all that it can to develop children’s academic and social education.” WSCC Inclusion Review Feb 2018

We are an inclusive 4 form entry urban coastal school in an area of deprivation (lowest 10%) with an SSC for children who have a diagnosis of ASD. The aim of the SSC is to enable children to explore their potential without limits, in a caring and empathetic environment. The children are from a wide surrounding area and work with dedicated staff with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of social communication conditions/ASD. The children that attend the SSC are not able to cope with the full time social demands of mainstream schooling, so their learning expectations are met in Bumble Bee class.

Ofsted said of Lyndhurst (Feb 2018):

“You are supported by hardworking, caring staff and active, knowledgeable, governors. You are all highly reflective, know your pupils individually and are constantly looking to improve learning for the children. You are committed to fostering a love of learning in your pupils through a creative and practical curriculum. Your pupils enjoy learning and find school fun. They are proud to be part of your school.”

Children enter school from a variety of settings (approx. 24) and there is a 3 year trend of a low EYFS baseline – 2017 – 98% working BELOW for Prime and 100% BELOW in Specific. Yet learners attain above National for Y1 Phonics and above National for end of Year 2 ARE.

In mainstream, we have 16%+SEND, EAL 30%+, 20%+ PP and we work in partnership with Children’s Services or Early Help with 60 families. We have high levels of mobility because of families living in temporary housing, EAL families and those staying in the Woman’s Refuge. Parent/carers choose Lyndhurst because of its inclusive culture embedded in an ethos of our school values – ‘We Can, Respect and Learning For Ourselves’. We are also a Level 1 Rights Respecting School.

We have an inclusive ethos and corporate responsibility for all our learners – we are highly inclusive and all adults take responsibility for all children. SEND children are included in all curriculum activities and are supported to access extra-curricular activities i.e. a Bocca team events, reading with a sports coach, attending a week-end residential at Lodge Hill. All SEND and PP children are identified on all planning by name. Their progress is tracked very carefully and appropriate interventions put in place to make good progress. Inclusive practice includes receiving extra beach and Forest school sessions so that these groups of children become the leaders and experts, building self-esteem and confidence. Children from the SSC are included in all school events and are encouraged to participate alongside their peers. Integration into mainstream learning ensures that there is a good level of understanding and respect for all.

Our staff believe that all children can achieve. Our after school clubs and Breakfast club are inclusive. Equal opportunities for all children is promoted through our creative and inspiring curriculum, including our Beach School and Forest School curriculum. One SEND child said after returning from a week-end residential at Lodge Hill run by staff volunteers

“I think that Lodge Hill was the best thing. I liked the camp fire and den building. I got more confident sleeping away from home.”

Entry

Our School Community are winners because ‘above and beyond’ is our ‘every day’!

The staff work as a team to support all children. They have high aspirations for all learners and we all have a Growth Mindset – the ‘not yet’ attitude. Children with SEND are supported by all staff, very able and trained SEND Teaching Assistants and an extremely professional SENDCo/Inclusion Leader. The Vulnerable children are also supported by our Pupil Premium funding – we are the South East Champions for Pupil Premium 2017.(Dfe)

2 years ago we took the decision to appoint a full time Family Engagement Support Officer – FESO (now trained to L2) who supports any family who is in need. She also works with children in groups that promote positive mental health. The school’s two Learning Mentors, Family Engagement Support Worker and externally funded Play therapist work closely with children and have a profound effect on the whole school by enhancing inclusion. All staff provide care and support for children experiencing emotional difficulties such as, bereavement and attachment difficulties. The FESO has had some of our case studies published in a book. Parent/carers have found the support we offer invaluable.

We have excellent transitions both from pre-school to next placements. Children with SEND are taken by the SENDCo and SEN team for extra visits before they transition. They have their own transition book with photos of key people and places so that they become confident in knowing what to expect. Children attend regular talking groups so that they can share their worries and fears. These are addressed through contact with key staff. Communication with parent/carers is paramount. Children in the SSC have daily diaries and phone calls. Parent/carers are invited to come into school each half term to look at their child’s books and comment on how well they are doing. We have an open door policy where parent/carers come into school each morning and the SLT chat/greet parents on each playground every morning. Our FESO (Kim) meets and greets each morning – giving out free fruit and vegetables. She also organises food parcels and hampers at times of need. Kim also supports families through their diagnosis and in agency/professionals meetings. Children who have undiagnosed SEND are supported by Kim and the SENDCo – working with the children and parent/carers in putting strategies and routines into place. Together the SENDCo and Kim ensure that children are supported holistically. Kim runs meditation, yoga and time to talk (mental health) sessions for children. One supported parent recently commented “All I can say is I’m glad my children were allocated this school as they have flourished. The communication between the teachers and parents is next to nothing!”

Early Identification – at Lyndhurst we have strong early identification processes. All new children are quickly assessed and a form is completed ‘Early Identification Form’. This is completed by the class teacher and parent/carers and then passed to the SENDCo, EAL leader and Pupil Premium Leader. These leaders then meet with the parent/carers and observe and work with the child. They set up interventions or support and any issues or concerns are quickly addressed. A Provision Map for the child is started. This is reviewed by the Deputy Head Teacher each half term’s data capture. Information about children is triangulated and provision and practice adapted. ILPs are monitored in the same way by the SENDCo.

In our commitment to all children achieving well academically, socially and emotionally, all staff have received training on dyslexia, sensory difficulties, de-escalation, ASD, working with families with mental health issues. Our school organised locality mental health training for staff and parents last year. Adults working within the SSC and mainstream school have attended the Autism Aware course. All staff working with children with specific needs attend regular training i.e. supporting children with Downs Syndrome or learning Braille to support sight impaired children. Lyndhurst has a centred approach towards parent partnership e.g. the SENDCo arranges training for parents/carers and staff to attend SEND training sessions together e.g. Early Bird (ASD course).  There is large emphasis on co-production with parents/carers and teacher’s meeting regularly to discuss each SEND child’s outcomes, which are recorded and monitored in their Individual Learning Plans. We continually refine practice and provision and last year have included attendance information on ILPs so that parents know that good attendance is important and that SEND attendance is one of our focus improvement targets. Impact has been that SEND attendance is improving term on term – up 1% last half term and in one year group up by 1.25%.

Provision and practice is adapted regularly and an individualised curriculum is put into place. We adapt learning topics so that all children can access learning by knowing their interests. We have improved reading skills by adapting practices such as SEND boy readers reading with the football coaches, the Reading with Dogs programme, setting up writing intervention clubs ie in the Forest areas and through a school ethos which believes that everyone is responsible for everyone being the best they can be. We also proactively link skills to everyday life and aspirations ie Engineer week. All children had the opportunity to link DT, Science, Art and Maths to real life skills and famous, inspiring people.

“Your training for staff and additional support for pupils has resulted in improvement in the standard of reading for all pupils. It has made the most difference to disadvantaged pupils, pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and pupils who speak English as an additional language. These pupils are now making accelerated progress and are catching up with other pupils.” (Ofsted 2018)

Most Innovative Intervention

Batchley First School

What the Judges Said

An intervention that should be standard in many areas across the country, clear evidence of impact.

Context

Batchley First School is a mainstream school for Nursery to Year 4 in Redditch, Worcestershire. We have always had a very inclusive culture and reputation and work with children and their families. We have many staff who have expertise in many areas of inclusive practice, as well as being commissioned by Worcestershire to provide Early Years SEN provision for Redditch and Bromsgrove and Early Years Speech and Language for Redditch, Bromsgrove and Kidderminster.

‘An inclusive and very welcoming culture has been created and is at the heart of the school’s ethos. The school’s motto of pupils as ‘VIPS’, where everyone is ‘valued, inspired, progressing and secure’, ensures a nurturing environment where pupils thrive and develop as learners. Pupils who have special educational needs or disability receive close support from adults to ensure that all are secure in their learning. Pupils with particularly complex needs benefit from working within the nurture group or small support groups.  OFSTED 2016’

Our Early Years classes:  Redditch, Kidderminster and Bromsgrove Early Years Language Classes and Batchley Nursery Plus currently provides support for 75 children and families aged 3-5 across Worcestershire and around 40 nurseries.  Working alongside Speech and Language Therapists,  these settings aim to provide early intervention in order that as many children as possible go onto attend a mainstream reception setting or provide the support so that a plan is in place for a specialist provision if necessary.

Entry

We have set up an outstanding and cost effective service for young children with learning difficulties and Speech and Language difficulties.  Upon setting up Redditch Early Years Language Class in 2016, we were asked to consider the other geographical areas and agreed to do this.

Our outcomes from September 2016 to July 2017 enabled 90% children to go to school on School SEN Support.  This means that there was no requirement for enhanced support or Education Health Care plans in these cases.

We quickly discovered that many nurseries were unable to afford the support for their children and decided to set up ‘Batchley Boat’ in  2017 in order to offer cost price training and network groups.  This is evolving gradually, with a consistent number or around 30 attending our training and network groups.

The online public support we offer is also offered to parents through our facebook groups (Batchley Nursery Plus Families) and our school website.

The language classes have shown that more than 93% of the 60 children have made accelerated progress in their Communication, Language and Literacy in the EYFS this year:

Early Years Language Class Children’s progress September to December 2017:

When it is considered that the primary area of need is Speech and Language and that the remaining progress is expected, it is a result we are proud of.  Similarly, we can report that all children made progress towards their targets.

A Typical EYLaC Case Study to show qualitative impact of our service

(Note: This is an adapted case study, some minor details have been adjusted)

Pupil: – Joe*

Aged on entry: 41 Months

Setting Attended: Early Years Language Class

Area of Need

Joe* was referred to Early Years Language Class  via NE Worcestershire Preschool Forum.  Joe*’s needs were identified as presenting with delayed communication skills and developmental delay.  It looks likely upon entry at EYLaC Class that Joe* will need to attend a specialist language class for his reception year.

Joe* attends the EYLaC for 6 hours – a total of 6 hours per week.  Joe* attends another setting  for 18 hours.

When attending EYLaC, Joe* is with 5 other children.  Joe* receives individual therapy from a Speech and Language Therapist or staff each session.  Joe* also has access to group therapy on both sessions he attends via our Busy Bee group.  During this group the children take part in activities based on their Speech and Language targets.  These activities are delivered and planned to the individual needs of the children present.

External Agencies Involved

Speech and Language Therapist

Preschool Forum

EYLaC

Community Paediatrian

Joe* has had developmental delays, crawling at 16 months old and walking at 24 months old.  Joe* has hearing issues, due to glue ear.

Family History

Joe* lives with both of his parents in Worcestershire.  He has 2 older siblings who have no additional needs.

How the skills of the staff are developed to address needs

The staff at EYLaC all had excellent training to maintain the highest of standards to support the children with their speech and language needs.  Training that has been undertaken is as follows: speaking and understanding, listening and attention, signalong, letters and sounds and every child’s a talker.  The manager regularly emails staff to identify any training needs so that these can be met.

The speech and language therapists within EYLaC, both support the staff on a daily basis and provide any resources or information required to further the EYLaC staff’s knowledge.

Regular meetings are also conducted by the manager to discuss any issues that the settings are experiencing.  This is an invaluable part of the speech and language classes progress, as the information discussed and shared enhance all of the settings practice and is an ideal communication tool.

Progress Summary

When Joe* started at EYLaC, he made hardly any sounds and was reluctant to play with the adults or peers present.  Joe* made occasional sounds.

Joe* rarely made eye contact with adults or peers during the first few weeks at EYLaC.

When Joe* first started at EYLaC, he was very nervous during Busy Bee and was quiet.  Joe* joined in the activities on his own terms and any speech was at a one word level.  After attending for a month, Joe* was able to make good eye contact and had good listening skills when in a group of up to 6 children.  The adult conducting Busy Bee always goes through the ‘good listening’ rules which are good looking at the person talking, good listening to all of the words, good sitting and being quiet.

Joe* has continued to make good progress during his time at EYLaC and his confidence levels are now much improved.  Joe* is now a happy, content and confident child when he attends and confidently plays with peers.  We have progressed from one word interactions to short sentences.

Joe* is able to follow the routine of the setting really well and enjoys the familiarity this brings.  Joe* will gesture to the adults present if he needs help through signing.  EYLaC provide visuals in the room to support Joe* with toileting and daily routines so that Joe* always has a way of communicating his requirements.

Joe* moves around the room well and participates in all of the activities on offer.  Joe* is proud of his achievements and loves to share his work with adults and peers.

As of March 2018, Joe* development levels are as follows:

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

December 2017                      March 2018

Making Relationships              16-26 Emerging (E)                16-26 Developing (D)

Self Confidence & Self           16-26 (E)                                 16-26 Secure (S)

Awareness

Managing Feelings &              22-36 (E)                                 22-26 (D)

Behaviour

Communication & Language

Listening & Attention              16-26 (E)                                  16-26 (S)

Understanding                        16-26 (E)                                  22-36 (E)

Speaking                                 8-20 (E)                                   16-26 (E)

Joe*’s speech and language targets have been consistently met and there is no reason why Joe* cannot attend a mainstream school in September.

Family Comments

Joe*’s parents are happy with the service provided.

Joe*’s parents also are happy that we are supporting his other setting with our outreach meetings, especially the combined settings, EYLaC and SALT meeting’s to discuss Joe*’s targets and progress.

Impact on wider school practice and provision

Staff have conducted outreach visits to both of Joe*’s other settings, sharing the targets set by SALT.  EYLaC have gone through the targets and have taken resources to aid both settings, when they are working with his targets, so that the maximum benefits are achieved.  Joe*s other setting regularly communicates with the EYLaC staff, if they have concerns, therefore ensuring robust relationships are maintained.

Reviews

We review the settings using internal and external reviews as well as regular satisfaction surveys with parents…

‘The settings demonstrate the best use of time to extend children’s language, whether during therapy sessions, play time or snack, staff are always developing the children’s language.’

and

‘Staff are knowledgeable and passionate about speech and language difficulties.  They work well together sharing knowledge and skills.’

(External Review March 2018)

‘The staff team has been paramount in raising my daughter’s confidence and ability to form sounds and speak.  I can’t believe I can now hold a conversation with her’

(Parent’s Comment February 2018)

‘They are just simply excellent…’

(Parent’s comment February 2018)

*This Case Study is based upon a collection of children.

Inclusion in Further Education

Kirklees College

What the Judges Said

It was a delight to read your entry, you have backed it up with clear data. It would have been nice to understand more about your identified weaknesses and deficits and how you plan to address them too.

Context

Kirklees College in West Yorkshire serves an area of significant deprivation and offers a ‘second chance’ and typically ‘only chance’ to young people who have not achieved at school or who have been excluded.

The context of college is influenced by two outstanding 6th form colleges in Huddersfield and a high performing selective Grammar School in North Kirklees.  This has a significant impact on the profile of our students.

  • 75.8% of 16 year old students recruited on to study programmes do not have both English and mathematics GCSE at grade A-C, putting us in the bottom 25% of colleges nationally for English & Maths starting points.
  • 61.55% of all 16 to 18 year olds on study programmes do not have both GCSE A-C English and maths.
  • 86.54% of all 16-18 year olds on study programmes did not have English or maths GCSE at grade A-C upon completing key stage 4.

Using deprivation data it is clear that the college recruits predominantly from the areas of highest deprivation.  45.3% of our 16-18 year olds and 54.6% of our 19+ students are from bands 1-2.  This is markedly above the local population percentages and our student cohort is significantly more disadvantaged than their peers in surrounding institutions and in the sector as a whole.

23% of our students were eligible for free school meals against a secondary cohort figure of 18.8%.   More importantly those students who receive free school meal perform 27.8% below their peers in secondary school, both locally and nationally, once at college we ensure that the gap is significantly reduced to only 3% below their peers.

We have many ‘hard to reach’ students with specific vulnerabilities including significant levels of mental ill health, who are at much higher risk of early withdrawal. These cohorts typically ‘underperform’ in relation to their peers and include students with SEND, looked after children and care leavers, young carers, young parents, safeguarded students and students who face substantial challenges in complying with basic behavioural expectations and are at high risk of becoming NEET. The low aspiration sadly often evident across these groups leads to their own high expectations of failure.

In order to support these students effectively and ensure they have optimum and equal chances of success, Kirklees College has broken from the ‘norm’ and gathered data to identify the achievement gaps between these cohorts and their peers in order to take actions specifically targeted at closing those achievement gaps and increasing equality of opportunity. This has included a focus on staff development in a number of areas including the identification and support for SEND and mental health issues.

Given the unique, complex and significant barriers to education and learning that these students face, Kirklees College has seen noteworthy positive impact of its intervention strategies leading to young people who would typically not join or stay in an education settings,  being able to access and manage study programmes which lead to success and positive progression. The impact of our initiatives, which go ‘above and beyond’ the norm, is reflected in the outstanding outcomes for our young people and our significant narrowing of achievement gaps and 3 year upward trends. Please note when examining the data that these are high risk student cohorts.

Entry

Kirklees College launched several initiatives to ensure inclusion for all and successfully help students overcome barriers to accessing education and learning.

The following information is a brief guide :

  • Part of CYP Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing Clinical Network we haveagreed a set of core competencies for all staff to identify and support mental health barriers to learning. Includes a wide range of on line developmental programmes approved by NHS professionals.
  • Recruitment of a mentoring team specifically dedicated to apprentices (approximately 1,500) to offer emotional and mental health and pastoral support (99% retention).
  • Introduction of a wrap around support service for young offenders, 69 enrolments, retention 91%
  • Launch of a project which gathers pastoral information from schools to identify pupils at high risk of NEET, who fall outside typical alerts for early drop out. Launched a programme to ensure positive supported transition to college and ongoing support. 17 identified from 4 feeder schools, 14 still on programme (82% retention). For 18/19, 43 schools involved and identification of 392 at risk.
  • The establishment of Kirklees College as a ‘restorative justice’ institution, enabling mediation and restorative justice to be offered to manage conflict resolution, an area which regularly impacts on the most vulnerable students.
  • The VLE ‘toolkit’ has been subject to careful scrutiny and revision and includes a wide range of resources from a number of external sources e.g. the Samaritans, Mind ED, Mental Health First Aid, Wise Minds.
  • Counselling team created successful partnership with IAPT (Increased Access to Psychological Therapies) enabling IAPT to access clients within College, reducing missed appointments at external venues.
  • College achieved Breastfeeding Friendly status to ensure all young mothers have suitable environment and support to breastfeed.
  • Chaplaincy team launched Sept 2016 with excellent feedback from staff and students.
  • External Mindfulness mentor work with identified students at risk; 33 students in 15/16, 58 in 17/18. Excellent feedback from students involved. 100% retention.
  • Kirklees College Student Support department has made a significant contribution to an ETF project ‘Mental Health & Apprentices’ with interviews and case studies launched on the Excellence Gateway. The case studies detailed the introduction of the apprentice mentor team in September 2016, who have offered pastoral support to the apprentice cohorts for a wide variety of issues including mental health. Quote from Kathryn James Consultant: ‘Kirklees College is the first place I go to when I need to showcase outstanding support for learners with mental health needs. The thoroughness of the provision and the thought that goes into providing all learners with mental health needs is exemplary. The work to use resources and funding effectively and innovatively is fantastic and I was really impressed by the support that is clearly being given to staff to develop their professional practice
  • Introduction of new ‘Care Co-ordinator’ roles which are dedicated to specific vulnerable groups (SEND, Looked After Children and Care Leavers; Young Parents and Young Carers; Positive Behaviour Support) with specific training including Mental Health First Aid, SEND, anger management, stress and anxiety, depression and low mood, coaching, positive listening.
  • Wise Minds mental health support for 19+ students; research project led by College and Community Learning Trust.
  • Launch of Kooth online mental health service for children, young people and adults, commissioned by the NHS and Local Authorities, provides counselling and an emotional well-being platform, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and is free at the point of use.
  • Carers Federation quality standard achieved March 2018
  • Gained free consultancy from Learning Work Institute for QSCF accreditation for supporting Young Adult Carers. Significant impact
  • 15/16 Retention:77.61%  Achievement: 67.16%. (pre project)
  • 16/17 Retention: 87.65% Achievement :78.24% (post project)
  • Muslim Women’s Aid awarded college £3,000, offering support and advice on Mental Health, Anxiety, Domestic Abuse, Forced Marriage, Immigration and legalities. 14 self referrals in first week.
  • SEND support staff trained to offer tracheostomy care (from specialist nurses) to support a specific student, allowing him to remain in college.
  • All support workers trained in first aid (over 100 staff)
  • Support staff attended Stammering Awareness training to support 4 students with stammers in college.
  • Two Deaf Support self-funded on Interpreting Programme.
  • Visual Impairment support attended external training event to develop Braille expertise to support specific student with declining sight, who now adapt resources in braille for student.
  • Support team won national award for initiative in training staff to effectively support students with epilepsy.
  • IMPACT:

HIGH NEEDS STUDENTS:

HNS 2014/15 (276) 2015/16 (360) 2016/17 (427) WHOLE COLLEGE 16/17 3 year trend +/- whole college +/- NR
Retention 98.55% 98.61% 98.50% 89.51%      = +8.99% +7.5%
Achievement 78.26% 80.28% 93.81% 83.70% +15.55% +10.11% +12.31%
Pass rates 79.41% 81.41% 95.24% 91% +15.83% +4.24% +5.74
High Needs WHOLE COLLEGE 16/17
Retention (English and maths) 96.52% 87.31%
Achievement (English and maths) 86.07% 78.37%
Pass rates (English and maths) 89.18% 89.76%

 SUPPORTED STUDENTS (ALL): This cohort relates to all the students supported by the department for SEND

 Supported 2014/15 (2,239) 2015/16 (1,461) 2016/17 (1,394) Whole College 16/17 3 year trend +/- whole college +/ – NR
Retention 92.54% 89.53% 93.26% 89.51%  +0.86%  +3.75% +2.26%
Achievement 72% 73.85% 84.79% 83.70%  +12.79%  +1.09% +3.29%
Pass rates 77.8% 82.49% 91.00% 91%  +13.12%  = +1.5%

COUNSELLING SUPPORT: 

Counselling 2014/15 (361) 2015/16 (208) 2016/17 (302) WHOLE COLLEGE 16/17 3 year trend +/- whole college +/- NR
Retention 90.58% 82.21% 91.39% 89.51% +0.81% +1.88% +0.39%
Achievement 68.98% 68.75% 81.46% 83.70% +12.48% -2.24% =
Pass rates 76.15% 83.63% 89.13% 91% +12.98% -1.89% =

SAFEGUARDED STUDENTS: Significant growth in referrals, safeguarded students tend to be high risk of early withdrawal. 

Safeguarding 2014/15 (467)

317 referrals

2015/16 (803)

540 referrals

2016/17 (1,138)

824 referrals

WHOLE COLLEGE 16/17 3 year trend +/- whole college +/- NR
Retention 82.66% 79.83% 86.33% 89.51% +3.67% -3.18% -4.67%
Achievement 62.10% 63.39% 75.06% 83.70% +12.96% -8.64% -6.44
Pass rates 75.13% 79.41% 86.95% 91% +11.82% -4.05% -2.55

 LOOKED AFTER / CARE LEAVERS

LAC/ CL 2014/15 (176) 2015/16 (193) 2016/17 (195) WHOLE COLLEGE 16/17 3 year trend +/- whole college +/- NR
Retention 79.55% 83.94% 82.86% 89.51% +3.31% -6.65% -8.14%
Achievement 60.23% 69.95% 76.41% 83.70% +16.18% -7.29% -5.09%
Pass rates 75.71% 83.33% 92.55% 91% +16.84% +1.55% +3.05%

YOUNG CARERS

Young Carers 2014/15 2015/16 (67) 2016/17 (170) WHOLE COLLEGE 16/17 2 year trend +/- whole college +/- NR
Retention n/a 77.61% 87.65% 89.51% +10.04% -1.50% -3.35%
Achievement n/a 67.16% 78.24% 83.70% +11.08% -5.46% -3.26%
Pass rates n/a 86.54% 89.26% 91% +2.72% -1.74% =

Inclusion in Employment

Weston College

What the Judges Said

It was impressive to read about a setting putting their money where their mouth is and employing their former students. The judges were impressed with the use of apprenticeships, the support and sustainability of the model. It will be interesting to hear how a new leader changes this programme.

Context

Weston College is an Ofsted outstanding college of further and higher education in Weston-super-Mare. It provides education and vocational training to nearly 30,000 learners across the country.

When the College began its provision for learners with SEND in 1981, it lacked visibility, being disconnected from the main site with just eight enrolments. This has grown to 1078 Further Education learners (502 with High Needs) and 153 Higher Education learners receiving various levels of learning support within the College. Currently, the College is the largest provider of Additional Learning Support and High Needs funding in the country.

In 2013, the College was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. In 2015, the College was judged to be both the College of the Year and Overall Further Education Provider of the Year at the Times Educational Supplement Further Education (TES FE) awards.

The ethos at the college is to put the learner first, staff are entrepreneurial in approach and innovative in thinking. As a college, staff are ambitious and aspirational being responsive to the needs of students, staff, businesses and the community.

The College has created world class facilities delivering aspirational provision to over 1000 learners that require additional support. Results are consistently above national benchmarks, with an impressive 92% of all learners with SEND progressing into employment or further learning including 17% who have transitioned into higher education.

Driven by strong leadership from the very top, empowerment and personalisation of learner journeys is at the heart of the strategic plans. The college has received national/international recognition for its pioneering provision and its success has also contributed to new revenue contracts being won, enabling its best practice to be extended to improve outcomes for other disadvantaged/disaffected learner groups e.g. NEET, offenders, the long term unemployed.

The college is particularly proud of its innovative “specialist support model” and person-centred ethos; its ground-breaking autism work; its holistic approach with learners with profound and complex need and its foundation degree development (inclusive practice) to future proof “talent” and upskill its workforce. It is exemplar practice which demonstrates how staff, learners and stakeholders (including employers) have worked together to “value people” and to create inclusive social mobility for learners.

Entry

The “Into Work” programme has one primary aim which is to support young people to move into paid employment. There are currently 10 learners within the “Into Work” programme and the course is expected to be 1 year long.

The college embeds the core values from the National Occupational Standards for Supported Employment and aims to:

    • Equip interns with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace
    • Where interns do not transition into paid work, ensure relevant agencies are able to continue job searching and employment support
  • Work in close partnership with all partners to ensure optimal opportunity to paid employment

The inclusive programmes of study are delivered by professionally qualified and specialist LDD staff which aim to instil self-belief and confidence in interns. The staff work in partnership with families, interns and employers.   All programmes are inclusive and sessions or work placements are differentiated to meet the individual needs and learning level.

Evidence to support our “above and beyond” delivery:

A learner centred approach uses the college setting and disability confident employers to allow an intern to reach their potential within work placement, towards paid employment. The college operates a flexible approach to meeting individual needs.  A student may follow elements from more than one course or spend time outside his or her own year group.  The College uses a computerised register system that tracks intern’s attendance to their college sessions and a time sheet for the intern to use to log their attendance to their internship placement.

Throughout the year learners gather a portfolio of evidence by completing a vocational profile, development plan, work placement diaries, CV’s, employability and vocational assignments. This can then be used as a transition pack when they finish their internship for future job searching and supported employment work.

Central to the delivery of English and Maths development is to embed these essential day-to-day skills into their work placement and for interns to realise the relevance of these skills. Initial and mid-term assessments focus on how learners are practicing their English and Maths development sessions and the levels they are working towards. These skills can then be reinforced and embedded in their work placements and any vocational sessions they may do. Regular meetings are also held to review the effectiveness of individual’s targets and strategies.

The college assesses learners against non-accredited learning using the 5 stage process for Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA including):

  1. Clearly stated aims appropriate to an individual learner or groups of learners
  2. Initial assessment to establish the learner’s starting point
  3. Identification of appropriately challenging learning objectives: initial, renegotiated and revised
  4. Recognition and recording of progress and achievement during programmes (formative assessment): feedback to learners, learner reflection, tutorials
  5. End-of-programme learner self-assessment; tutor summative assessment; review of overall progress and achievement

The college offers a positive experience to an employer – even with Work Experience. We treat them like a customer. We want them to continue to work with us.

Using the repeat business motivations and unique features when working with an employer, we can begin to build lasting relationships.

The college works hard to recruit and train job coaches to ensure that they are using specific supported employment techniques. Every learner is assigned a skilled and trained job coach that both understands the learner’s needs and the employer’s requirements. The college has a rigorous job matching process ensuring learners vocational profile and employer requirements can create a job match – we then fill the skills gap with our training programmes and job coaching model.

Case Studies and Impact 2017:

The college builds and maintains strong relationships with employers, this is integral to the successes seen.  “We have been impressed with the transitional support offered by the College for students with additional needs entering employment with us – the College recognises that it is not just getting the job, we are all interested in sustainable careers and the College will always offer advice and guidance on inclusive strategies to help our employees develop – long after they have started with us.” Tesco (employer locally).

The ‘Into Work’ programme for 16-24 year olds with SEND, (through extensive relationship building with supportive employers) has been incredibly successful with 100% success rates – 55% progressing into higher level work based learning and 45% of learners securing paid employment, which dramatically exceeds the national average of 6% of people with learning disabilities in paid employment.

Ben                                       

When Ben started on the Into Work Programme two years ago, he had a very limited social network,  low confidence, limited independent living skills and was very anxious about being alone in case of a seizure. Throughout his time at college he worked extremely hard with college staff to develop the skills required to achieve his dream of working with young children and gain a GCSE English grade C. Ben completed internships with Dunelm and Castle Kids Club where he gained long-lasting confidence, lifelong friendships and sustainable paid employment opportunities. Through his hard work and determination to overcome his barriers Ben successfully achieved a grade C in English, a paid job at Dunelm and a Level 2 Apprenticeship with Castle Kids Club.

“I Have gained long lasting confidence, lifelong friendships and sustainable paid employment.”

Kyle

Kyle started college with the Westhaven Post 16 Link Programme, then progressing through Preparation for Work and Life and Extension Studies to begin the Into Work Programme two years ago. When he first started his confidence was low, communication was limited and ambitions were unclear. However, through multiple placements Kyle showed a passion for practical work and gained an Internship with the Weston College Facilities Team. After 18 months of hard work and specialist job coaching Kyle’s confidence and communication skills have developed significantly and he has been successful in attaining a Level 2 Apprenticeship position within the Facilities Team.

“My confidence and communication skills have developed significantly and I have succeeded in becoming an apprentice”

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