Courses for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Discover our programmes for learners with learning difficulties or disabilities.

We believe that everyone should have a chance to achieve their goals, so we offer a range of programmes and support interventions for learners who need additional support.

Activate Learning is proud of the outstanding and award-winning Supported Foundation Programmes which offer students the opportunity to develop in the exciting setting of a mainstream further education college.

Opportunities for learners

Activate Learning staff work on every campus to support, help and teach learners with SEND, regardless of their course or study programme.

Our students have the opportunity to develop in the exciting setting of a mainstream further education college.

Students may be on a cross-college programme, or be an apprentice, be taking an Higher Education (university-level) course, or on one of our outstanding and award-winning LifeSkills programmes. Students may come to college or might study online. There are many options available.

“The provision for learners with high needs is especially ambitious and meets the needs of the high number of these learners studying across the college campuses exceptionally well.” Ofsted 2022

“Learners with high needs make outstanding progress as a result of the highly personalised curriculum and specialist support that enables them to realise their ambitions, get jobs or live more independently.” Ofsted 2022

Courses and programmes for students with SEND within our LifeSkills Faculty

Our learners have the opportunity to learn independent living and self-care skills, employability skills, digital literacy, English and maths, and in some cases, take part in work experience—depending on the programme they choose.

We work closely with colleagues from across our colleges, offering learners the opportunity to progress into new vocational areas. Our partnerships with external organisations and employers are central to equipping learners for successful futures.

Examples from across our colleges include:

  • supported internships with Royal Berkshire Hospital, Mencap and Oxfordshire Employment Services
  • supported employment provision via specialist agency
  • work with two local authorities
  • more than 200 employers providing work experience
  • close links with special schools

An award-winning education

Activate Learning have recently been recognised for the work we do to inspire special needs students into employment with a coveted education award. The Association of Colleges' Beacon Awards 'Support for Students' prize 2019 recognises our innovative partnership programme for young people with special education needs and disabilities.

Supported Studies Programmes

We offer a variety of study programmes, however, we know that every learner is different. We will design the right blend for your individual needs.

  • Tier1: Pathway to Exploration

This programme provides for the needs of individuals with profound and complex learning difficulties including sensory impairment, physical disabilities and severe medical conditions. This programme will sup-port all aspects of your needs including health, care, therapies, medications, and educational development.

  • Tier 2: Pathway to Independence and Supported Work

This programme provides for the needs of individuals with severe to moderate learning difficulties who want to continue to build on essential skills for living, employment and community

  • Tier 3: Pathway for Progression

This programme serves as a stepping stone for you to progress on to further studies and prepare you for the world of work in a supported college environment. The programme will help you build confidence and further develop your social communication skills by providing opportunities for you to independently apply skills and knowledge learnt in a range of settings including external work experience.

Support for students with SEND

Depending on need, a learner may require different types of support. Our staff can support a wide variety of needs including profound, severe and moderate learning difficulties, English as a second language, learners who struggle with English and maths (including adult learners) and learners who need reengagement back into education.

Support services work closely with teaching staff, internal and external support services, and other organisations, to ensure that individual students get the support that suits them. For some students this might include:

  • mobility support
  • communications support
  • specialist resources, equipment and software
  • modification of resources where required
  • access to specialist areas at some college sites, including quiet rooms
  • access to specialist services.

If this type of support is required by you, or for your son/daughter/ward, then please contact the Group Learning Support team on the preferred campus.

Find out more information about learning support

There is also support on campus for students’ wellbeing, including mental health support, transition, counselling, faith rooms, student voice, careers, finance, young carers and so on. Safeguarding concerns are dealt with by a safeguarding officer in the Group Student Support team. There is a safeguarding officer on every campus.

Find out more information about support services

Our learning companies

In addition, we provide learners with the opportunity to develop vital employability and independence skills through our learning companies. These are social enterprises run by staff and students and include on-campus shops and delivery services.

Industry partners

We work in close partnership with a number of organisations to provide excellent teaching and learning for our students, including: Optalis choices for living, Project Search, Westgate Oxford, Oxfordshire Employment Service (part of Oxfordshire County Council), Big Lottery Fund and OxLEP.