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Strathmore College

Strathmore College provides bespoke study programmes for young people aged 16 to 25 years old with a range of learning difficulties and/or disabilities, including:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Social, emotional and mental health issues
  • Communication difficulties
  • Other health related, mental or physical difficulties.

What makes us different is that each of our learners work on a completely individual programme which is specifically structured to support them into employment and to gain an increased level of independence as they prepare for adulthood.

Who to contact

01782 647380

Where to go

Unit 7, The IMEX Technology Park
Bellringer Road, Trentham Lakes South
Stoke on Trent
Local Offer

Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
16+ years

Schools Extended Local Offer Response 

How does this setting know if their children/young person needs extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

Strathmore College provides individualised courses for learners aged 16-25 who have learning difficulties/or disabilities. The college is situated in a lively and diverse urban environment with most activities taking place in the community. We have our own college-owned retail outlets and factory unit to develop vocational skills and provide real work experience. Our students needs range from mild to severe learning difficulties and include • Social, emotional and communication difficulties who find engagement extremely challenging and who are often not in education or training. • We support learners who require an environment where they can be calm for periods to enable them to access and cope with demands reducing levels of anxiety. • We support learners who require a highly structured approach. • We support learners who have sexualised behaviour who may need small group or an individualised approach. We aim to provide every young person with an individually tailored programme of education, care, work experience, leisure and life skills and training within the community, to enable them to live as independently as possible. Our dedicated team of staff create a safe, secure and independent living environment where our learners have a sense of belonging within their group and a sense of ownership of their home. Our approach enables young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to progress towards adulthood, including further or higher education and sustainable independent living in the community. We have well established links with local employers to provide work placements in retail, catering and horticultural environments Strathmore offers day, weekly, termly and 52 week placements in our CQC registered homes in the community where students have the opportunity to experience independent living and social integration. We have a comprehensive pre entry assessment process, developing to transition arrangements when a placement is secured. Following an application to the college, a process to gain a comprehensive insight into the learners needs commences. All assessment information is requested in the form of, a section 139a / Education, Social and Health care plan, psychological, speech and language assessments. School reports, community care assessments, existing behaviour plans and risk assessments and any other relevant supporting evidence. Experienced staff will visit the learner in school or familiar environment to make an initial assessment. Ongoing contact and discussion is held with the family and relevant agencies throughout this process. Pre assessment meetings with relevant stakeholders are arranged to discuss and identify the programme outcomes, where felt appropriate, to ensure the needs of the complex learners are clearly identified and planned through assessment. An individualised approach is planned for the learner to visit the college for an assessment. Following assessment completion and funding agreement transition arrangements are made. An individualised approach is taken to this. Learners, families and other relevant stakeholders are invited to a transition meeting where initial outline of the programme is agreed and the timetable given. The most up to date information is shared to add to any draft support plans and risk assessments. The learner has opportunity to revisit the college and spend time before the commencement of the placement. Learners and stakeholders have the opportunity to ask questions and gather any other information required about the college. Key personnel from the college are introduced and or identified at his stage.

How will the setting support my child/young person?

We offer learners, families and prospective carers an individual approach to how they wish to be supported to understand what is on offer. We also take a more personal approach and offer people the opportunity to visit, discuss need and also experience aspects of the programme on offer. Frequency and pace of these visits is dependent on the learners need. The programmes are tailored to the individual and can be delivered in a personalised way, taking into account individual need and are delivered in small groups of up to four learners and one to one support. We offer high levels of support on the level of risk and need of the young person. The college is community based and staying safe in the community is an important aspect of the programme. We offer supervision at all times covering break times etc. We offer learners individual tutorial support throughout the programme. To ensure that the programme is meeting the needs keyworkers are allocated time to support learners and to make observations. Planned weekly tutor meetings can address any areas of concern. Half termly progress reviews ensure progress and achievement is monitored and programmes are meeting need. Actions are taken in instances where the programme or support is not meeting need. Formal reviews are held in line with requirements and more frequently if required.

How will teaching approaches and the curriculum be matched to my child or young person's needs?

Our approach is to support the learner to be more involved in every aspect and decision making. We ensure that learners are involved at an appropriate level in making choices and decisions. They learn to communicate their wishes and aspirations and learn that these are achievable given the correct support. We aim to develop the level of independence to reduce the level of support throughout the programme The programmes of study are personalised to meet the individual needs and are based from the pre entry and baseline assessment and planned in line with the learners aspirations, needs and destination outcomes. A holistic approach is taken to enhance the skills, abilities, self esteem and confidence of the individual to maximise their life opportunities. Qualifications are used in meaningful ways which focus on the progression routes to employment and pathways to further education. We use the pre entry and baseline assessment to form the approach to the development of English and Maths. The development of English and Maths is embedded in all aspects of the programme and where individual support is required, tuition is given. Learners are able to work towards qualifications progressing to a level 1. We support learners to focus on the development of communication skills which is a fundamental part of all learners development. We offer entry to level 1 qualifications in the following 1. Catering 2. Horticulture 3. Carpentry / Woodwork 4. Floristry 5. Business Admin / IT We also offer a general qualification - Skills for Working Life qualification. Additional programmes can be developed dependent on need.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support their learning?

Keyworkers communicate with families and other relevant others on planned regular basis. Reports on progress are shared and any other areas discussed. Families who request additional support benefit from input given by the therapy team. Advice and guidance is given to signpost families to other supporting professional if required. If required by the family the keyworker will support to access additional services. Learners also benefit from advocacy services and careers support

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall wellbeing?

We support learners’ health needs by accessing the General Practitioner and community health team. Staff are trained to administer medication and staff are trained in first aid. We have staff who are trained to deliver basic first aid. We offer a programme of independent life skills. This focuses on developing the learner’s ability to be more independent and aims to reduce the need for support and services. Learners work towards living in supported living or independently. We also offer support and an independence programme to learners who require ongoing support and whose aim is to increase their personal level of independence. We offer support to enable learners to understand their disabilities and how to become more responsible for their own behaviour and manage their own emotions. We offer support to develop and manage relationships and live a healthy life style and to become a more responsible adult. We develop learners understanding of health and fitness through a programme of physical and sporting activities. We provide emotional and psychological support to enable learners to successfully develop coping strategies, reduce anxieties and continuously progress to attain their long term goals.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?

We contract with a Speech and Language therapist who provides initial and re assessment, individual support and develops individual developmental programmes and communication support plans to meet need. Supports and enhances tutor skills and supports with moderation of communication targets. Individual communication targets and strategies are embedded throughout the programme, which includes the use of visual timetables, timelines, task cards, visual information to suit the learner. Makaton is used, with an ongoing programme for development of staff. We contract with Psychological services providing individual support to learners. The approach used is adapted to meet the individual need. Cognitive behaviour therapy can be used. Individual positive behaviour and de-escalation plans are developed and reviewed.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?

• Teaching qualifications as recognised by the governing body • Vocational competence in the specific subject area • Level 5 diploma in Literacy • MA in Autism. • Assessor and Verifier Qualifications • Learning support staff hold a first level teaching qualification and a N.V.Q level 3 qualification. • Staff undergo team teach training which is refreshed every 18 months. The training needs of staff are reviewed in line with learner need and a more advanced training can be accessed. • Makaton trainers. Staff undergo Makaton training annually. • All staff receive training in AS awareness, mental health/self harm, safeguarding and many other relevant subjects. In addition to this all staff are expected to work towards and achieve relevant NVQ’s/diplomas, level 3. All staff have received specific disability awareness training • Mental health awareness level 2 training.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

The college offers a wide range of community based activities through well established partnerships. Annual college activity challenge weeks, gives learners opportunity to experience varied sporting activities and social development with peers on residential weeks with the college. In addition, volunteering opportunities abroad enable learners to experience different cultures and give back to the community and others. A structured programme of sporting opportunities enables learners to develop skills, broaden social networks, improve general fitness and compete in tournaments. A variety of enrichment activities enable learners to develop social networks and skills to access activities as independently as possible.

How accessible is the environment?

The college has been made accessible to learners who use a wheelchair and DDA compliant residential accommodation available. We are able to offer transport in the local area. The programme focuses on independent travel training where appropriate to the learner.

How will the setting prepare and support my child/young person to join the next stage of education and life?

Transition planning starts at the beginning of the learner’s final year. It is expected that all stakeholders attend to agree actions to identify other agency support, complete assessments and to agree the programme pathway to achieve the destination outcomes. We have well established links with mainstream FE providers and work collaboratively to extend programmes. We are establishing a social enterprise with a local FE provider and local University, and voluntary services to enhance the work opportunities and outcomes for learners. The aim is to provide sustainable work opportunities for learners post college. We offer specific vocational areas, developing skills through practical community activities in horticulture, catering, business admin/ IT, floristry and carpentry. We are establishing a social enterprise with a local FE provider and local University, and voluntary services to enhance the work opportunities and outcomes for learners. The aim is to provide sustainable work opportunities for learners post college. We offer work mentoring on an individual basis for learners to follow their progression route into chosen employment and have links with voluntary agencies to widen the scope to work opportunities. We offer support to progress into higher level programmes to enhance qualifications and employment prospects.

How are the setting's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

Whilst on assessment, the specialist needs of the learner are assessed and information is collated to determine what resources and specialist equipment is required. This is continually reviewed and accessed by the individual leaner.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Levels of support are discussed with the young person, parents and local school or referring agency. The programme offered to young people will initially be set at admission days, but regularly reviewed during the first term and termly afterwards.

How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?

The college encourages parents to be involved with all aspects of the learning experience, including signing up to the support and risk assessments. Parents are encouraged to attend progression reviews, held in the first term of the 1st year and subsequently at the end of each academic year. Keyworkers and personal tutors regularly liaise with parents regarding Learners are fully involved in the review of all aspects of the college through the learner voice council.


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