Bath College’s Foundation Learning Programmes are designed to meet a range of needs for learners with SEND, SEMH or other barriers to their learning. Learners are generally 16-19 years old without an EHCP and up to 24 years old with one.
From September 2018 there is provision for learners who are ‘Pre-Entry’ at our new SEND Centre at the Somer Valley Campus. These learners will follow a curriculum designed around Pathways for Adulthood and making life choices.
The Life and Independent Living Skills (LILS) programme is designed for SEND Learners and offered at Entry 1, Entry 2 and Entry 3 levels. Learners are assessed before joining the college and are able to progress through the levels for up to three years, if appropriate. The curriculum for the LILS programme focuses on the ‘Preparations for Adulthood’ agenda, which aims to equip young people with SEND with the skills they need as they move into their adult lives.
The programme promotes independence wherever possible with a greater focus on tracking progress for all sorts of skills (not just English and Maths) as students learn. The curriculum is also informed by work with the Speech and Language Therapist, seeking to embed essential communication strategies into the projects the students will undertake.
Group size is kept to a maximum of eight and each class is supported by a member of the Learner Support Team. Extra support is available outside of lesson time, which includes lunchtime and breaks. This course can be used as a progression route to Project SEARCH (see below).
Step Up is a programme offered at Entry 3/Level and is designed to help young people develop skills through emotional, social and educational support and development in order to progress to other levels of programmes. Students undertake a wide range of activities including volunteering, cookery and sport. Students are likely to have left school with ‘spiky’ profiles meaning they may have far greater levels of ability in some areas than others. We develop individual learning plans with some learners, so that some students may be re-taking GCSEs while others are working on lower levels of literacy and numeracy. Each class is supported by a member of the Inclusion Team.
Pathways to Progression (P2P) is a year-long, standalone course that could also be taken after completing the Step Up course. It is aimed at young people who have some idea of the area in which they want to study but are unsure of what they would like to do for a career, for employment, or who need more time to develop their confidence in the learning and practical skills. The course offers the chance to gain experience in different areas as students undertake rotations in three different areas throughout the year, as well as improving English and maths, IT and employment skills. Possible pathways upon completing P2P would include progression onto L1/L2 programmes or employment. Support is also given to students who have additional needs.
Project SEARCH is a supported internship programme to help young people with learning difficulties or disabilities secure and keep paid permanent jobs. It is a unique, business-led, one-year, college-to-work programme that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and relevant job-skills training through strategically designed internships. Project SEARCH is delivered as a partnership between the college, B&NES Council and Virgin Care.
The Supported Routes to Employment (SuRE) Programme has been devised to offer supported internship opportunities for young people with special education needs and disability (SEND) for whom Project SEARCH is not appropriate. The aim of the programme is to help people find, get and keep internships, traineeships and/or apprenticeships and ultimately secure paid employment.
Beyond the Foundation Department, Bath College has a wide variety of study programmes and opportunities available from Entry levels right up to Higher Education (HE). For example, for those interested in a future apprenticeship, College offers a Traineeship Programme, which consists of a 6-month work experience placement with time at college to brush up employability skills, work on English and Maths and build confidence.
B&NES’s Local Offer (www.bathnes.gov.uk) also has links to opportunities both within college and county wide.
Types of Support available
There are three levels of support, Bronze, Silver and Gold, depending on a learner’s, or an apprentice’s, additional support needs. These could be identified on application, at interview or on programme. Learners or apprentices may be aware that they have additional learning support needs before joining us but for some, teachers and assessors might need to help to identify specific issues if they are struggling. This might be particularly applicable to adult learners or apprentices. The different levels of support are as follows:
Bronze level of support would be the additional strategies employed by teachers or assessors to provide the reasonable adjustments that a learner might need. It is expected that part of the support provided to our learners is that all prospective learners receive the appropriate advice and guidance to be studying on the course most suited to their ability and interests. Other adjustments might include:
- Provision of teaching and learning materials on Moodle
- Where possible, electronic versions of reading materials and clearly identified links
- The opportunity to record teaching sessions
- Encouragement to use alternative ways of working and assessment to meet individual needs (e.g. visual ways of recording information such as mind-mapping, recording or filming conversations or activities, etc.)
- Communication in the most accessible way for each individual learner/apprentice (e.g. some people prefer email or text rather than speaking on the phone, or vice versa…)
- Referral to the Mentoring or counselling service
The Silver level of support would include everything described at the Bronze level and would also include support provided by the College’s Inclusion team. This might include:
- Limited 1:1 sessions for additional teaching from a Link Tutor for learners with difficulties such as dyslexia
- Support for using Assistive Technology (Text Help, voice recognition software, Dictaphones, reading pens, etc.)
- Screening and/or assessment for Access Arrangements if exams are to be taken
In addition to the support provided as described at Bronze and Silver levels, the Gold level of support would usually be for learners, apprentices and trainees who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This might include:
- Transition packages
- In class support
- Support outside of class time
- Quiet space at lunchtimes
- Social clubs to improve skills like social communication, cooking and independent travel
- Personal Assistant (PA) support for personal care
- Job Coaching for learners on work placement
- External therapists (Speech and Language Therapy SALT)
Please note: Where a support package is required, applications to Bath College are invited as early as possible. This is to make sure that sufficient time is allowed for consultation and appropriate transition. Learners and their supporters are advised that guarantees for places and support can only be guaranteed if the application has been made before 1st June in the preceding academic year.
These are arrangements for learners who would otherwise struggle in exams as a result of medical problems, anxiety, sensory sensitivities or other issues. These could include:
- 25% extra time (more in some cases)
- The use of a word processor
- A digital reader or scribe
- On-line or modified papers
- Rest breaks
- A separate room
The tight regulations that govern EAA mean that a certificate from the examination awarding body only lasts for two years. Therefore, eligible learners coming into college will either have an ‘in-date’ certificate, a lapsed certificate or require a new one. The process that college follows is in line with JCQ regulations and looks like this:
- If Learners indicate that they had EAA at school (via form at enrolment), the Inclusion Team contact the learner’s previous schools and colleges to gather relevant information with the learner’s consent
- If learners have not had previous EAA at school but either self-refer or their teachers refer them, then we start with a screening appointment to identify whether EAA would be applicable
- In both cases, the Inclusion Admin Team create a ‘Personal History’ file, which is both an electronic and physical collection of relevant paperwork including evidence of need for all those learners where EAA may be required
- For those learners who require an update or a new certificate, Link Tutors work with learners to gather evidence of current need and a learner’s ‘normal way of working’, which is a requirement of the awarding bodies
- Bath College works with an external consultant who provides assessment of learners for EAA
- Once the evidence is gathered, the Specialist Teacher completes a ‘Form Eight’ and the college applies for arrangements from one or more of the examination boards
- Once the certificate arrives from the examination board/s, it is filed on SharePoint (the college’s intranet) and communication is sent by the Exams team to all relevant parties (learner, Link Tutor and ALS admin)
- Appropriate arrangements are put in place for the learners sitting their exams and this could include 25% extra time (more in some cases, up to 50%), the use of a word processor, a digital reader or scribe, on-line or modified papers, rest breaks or a separate room.
If parents or young people feel that they need additional support because they are not making good progress on their course or are not keeping up with their peers, they should talk to the Inclusion Team to see what adjustments might be possible. If they or the college feel that existing support is still not meeting need, parents and young people can make a request for an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan). Members of the college’s Inclusion Team can assist in making an application. This request then goes to ‘Panel’ at the Local Authority and the Panel decides whether or not there is sufficient evidence to carry out an assessment. If the request is agreed to then further information is gathered and this will include an assessment by an Education Psychologist. In deciding whether to take a request forward they would look at whether a young person was intending to progress at College or in an apprenticeship and also require additional support that would not normally be provided.
Education, Health and Care Plans were introduced as part of the SEND Reforms generated by the Children and Families Act 2014 and replace the old ‘statement’ of learning need and the associated Section 139a (the transition section of the statement). The plans provide a holistic plan for a young person from birth to 25 years of age. There is a statutory responsibility to review the plans annually and once a learner is enrolled at college then the college assumes the role of ‘lead professional’ and will coordinate the review meetings.
Local Authorities must consult the College where the young person with an EHCP has indicated a desire to progress onto a college course. The college must respond within 15 days to confirm that college can meet the young person’s needs or explain in detail why the young person’s needs cannot be met. If the support package indicates that someone qualifies for high needs (HNS) funding, the college will apply for it.
Different Local Authorities manage SEND in slightly different ways. In B&NES, there is a team of SEND Practitioners who take responsibility for each of the areas in the county. Someone’s SEND Practitioner will depend on where the young person lives and/or which special school they attend.
Bath College offers HE support through the Additional Learning Support Team and is largely funded through the Disability Student Allowance (DSA), which is a part of Student Finance England and applied for by learners at the same time as applying for their HE course. DSA provides additional funding for individual related support, resources and/or equipment (https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/what-youll-get). HE, and prospective HE, Students are expected to manage their own support and the Inclusion team are happy to offer advice as appropriate. Students with DSA are asked to declare this to their tutor as soon as possible, either at interview or when they receive notification of their entitlement.
Where DSA funding and a support package has not been put in place before the start of the course, the ALS team provide screening for dyslexia and support for DSA applications alongside the library who offer study skills sessions.
Links to contacts that might be helpful are:
- Student Finance England for information about student loans – https://www.gov.uk/contact-student-finance-england
- Disabled Student’s Allowance DSA – https://www.gov.uk/contact-student-finance-england
Where HE Learners have concerns or queries, they should contact their tutor in the first instance. This would apply to anyone who received Exam Access Arrangements at school and would like to enquire as to whether they can apply for similar arrangements via their awarding University. Please note this is not something that can be decided by Bath College and the Inclusion Team can only offer advice to HE Learners.
In addition to a learner’s personal tutor and their teachers, there are a number of people who may be involved in a young person’s support in college.
Head of Inclusion