We cater for young people with identified learning difficulties and or disabilities from the age of 16 with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).

If you would like your child to attend Sunderland College, you should discuss this with their current school or alternatively you may contact your local authority SEN department. They will then advise you on what steps should be taken.

Parents and carers are always welcome to visit Sunderland College before making a decision about a placement. Once a placement is agreed, we will work with you to support your child in this transition period.

Our SEND promise

Starting college

Guide for parents

Guide for teachers

Makaton sing-along

Speech and language therapist, Nicola, shares with you her fantastic Makaton rendition of George Ezra's Shotgun.

Nicola is just one of the inspirational, specialist staff in the Directions team who provide daily support and motivation to our learners.

Sunderland College caters for young people with identified learning difficulties and or disabilities from the age of 16 with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).

If you would like your child to attend Sunderland College, you should discuss this with their current school or alternatively you may contact your local authority SEN department. They will then advise you on what steps should be taken.

Parents and carers are always welcome to visit Sunderland College before making a decision about a placement. Once a placement is agreed, we will work with you to support your child in this transition period.

The transition into college for your child can start in their last academic year at school - this could be either year 11 or year 13.

Once an application has been made, your child would be invited to attend an admission interview to discuss their chosen course of study, their current support needs and enable them to see the facilities on offer to further inform their choice.

For those young people who require a more focused transition e.g. young people with more complex medical needs, arrangements are made with their current school for college staff to link with school staff to gather additional supporting information on both the academic and support needs of the young person. The information gathered would lead to an individualised and comprehensive transition plan.

Connexions, Social Care and Health also play an important role in the transition process.

If at any point during the transition procedure it is felt that other professionals may enhance this process, then they will be contacted. This usually takes the form of a multi- disciplinary meeting. This enables all those who are/will be involved in your child’s future placement to come together and discuss how best to make their transition as smooth as possible.

Your child may have had transport provided by the local authority to attend school, but this can be dependent upon the distance from home and whether the young person is capable of travelling independently.

If there is a need for this transport to be provided for your child to come to college, parents will need to liaise with the local authority education transport department to make a new application for transport.

For those young people who are able to become independent travellers, they may be provided with travel training either by their current school or college staff during their transition period or commencement at college to develop this skill.

The curriculum and students’ timetable will be individualised to the needs and abilities of the young person. Students will be given appropriate support in order that they experience success and feel safe.

Teaching staff will use a range of creative teaching strategies to engage all students in all areas of the curriculum.

Students follow a programme that enables them to achieve qualifications where appropriate for the work they are able to produce. For those learners with an EHCP, programmes can also be non-accredited and specifically produced to develop and progress identified skills.

Teaching staff review progress that the students make on a daily basis and communicate information to parents through a variety of means including:

  • Home/communication book (if applicable for individual need), telephone conversations, parents evenings, termly progress reviews and education health care plan review meetings
  • Teaching staff set focused targets, these targets are incorporated into the delivery of lessons

If teachers have any concerns about the progress a student is making they will develop a plan to identify the main barriers to learning and develop strategies to increase the progress made. As a college, we recognise the contribution that parents and families can make to improve the progress of students, through implementing homework, activities to be completed at home, and regular consultation.

Parents/carers are welcome to come into college to discuss their child’s progress at any point in the academic year.

Our Learning Support team are able to provide a range of specialist support to students with more complex needs, including those with:

  • Learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • Physical difficulties and/or mobility problems
  • Medical conditions
  • Sensory impairments (vision/hearing loss)
  • Specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia, mental health conditions, autism spectrum disorders, emotional and behavioural difficulties

All full-time and part-time students are entitled to (additional) learning support and there is a wide range of specialist support available, such as:

  • Access arrangements for exams
  • Learning mentors
  • Personal care
  • Teaching materials in alternative formats (e.g. braille, large print, audio, coloured overlays, specialist software and coloured paper)
  • Support from communicators/readers
  • Help with access and mobility
  • SPLD assessors
  • Specialist tutorials
  • Group support in class
  • 1:1 support outside of class

Depending on the need of the individual student, Sunderland College has access to a wide variety of services. These include:

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Autism Outreach team
  • Connexions
  • Children and young people's services
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Social care

All students have a personalised curriculum offer that gives them access to a broad and balanced curriculum.

Together with a range of other professionals, each of these teams work closely with our learning support staff to ensure the programmes they develop meet the needs of your child.

The specific needs of individual students are monitored on a daily basis by staff. If these needs change significantly, we will make adjustments through further personalisation of the curriculum, which may include access to a different curriculum model, an increase in staffing, or access to other professionals.

All staff have regular training to ensure that they can provide the very best education, care and support for your child. Qualifications and training include:

  • Visual and hearing impaired training
  • Makaton signing
  • Intensive interaction
  • Moving and handling
  • Medical (gastrostomy, feeds, epilepsy, diabetes)
  • PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
  • First aiders
  • Autism
  • Mental health
  • Challenging behaviours
  • Safeguarding
  • Team Teach

The partnership between parents/carers and the college is crucial to provide your child with a personalised curriculum that best supports their specific needs. Following admission there are many opportunities for us to continue working together, sharing information and answering any questions you may have. Formal and informal contact is actively encouraged.

The use of home to college diaries (if applicable to the needs of the learner) and phone calls are also helpful.

Below are some of the ways in which you can be involved:

  • Attend annual review meetings/multi-disciplinary team meetings/appointments when appropriate
  • Attend parents evening to learn more about the progress of your child
  • Complete surveys and to offer your views on how to improve your child's experience
  • Attend/support fundraising activities

Providing the college with information re appointments or medical updates can help us support your child.

Your child's attendance and welfare is paramount to us, so please let us know before they attend any appointments or if there are any changes to medication. This ensures that we keep records up to date and accurate and care for your child in the best possible way.

Attending appointments, parent evenings or meetings with college staff is also key to supporting your child at Sunderland College.

Information and assistance you can give is of great benefit and ensures we can do everything to care and support your child while at college. During these meetings, you can raise any concerns you may have and help shape future curriculum decisions for your child.

Throughout your child’s time at Sunderland College, we expect that you will take an active role in supporting their learning. You will always be made aware or your child’s targets and we hope you will help develop them in their daily lives outside of college. From time to time, the teacher will send activities home or ask for information as part of topic based work in college. We really appreciate your support in this matter.

Sunderland College offers students a range of enrichment activities that compliment personal development. Examples include table tennis, pool, games and crafts, as well as our LGBT group and our raise and give activities.

Students are invited to be involved in a range of health and well-being activities including sporting activities and using the onsite gym. Students are also invited to take part in community action/citizenship activities in the wider community.

Students are involved in employment and work experience opportunities; these can be based within the college or with local employers.

Taking part in a wide range of experiences and learning opportunities will not only make the students time at Sunderland College more enjoyable, but also it will also help them to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs and other career opportunities. These experience as also give young people and opportunity to demonstrate and develop their personal, social, communication and employability skills and also build friendships.

All staff take safeguarding of learners very seriously and have the required level of straining as well as a designated team of staff with more in depth training.

The individualised curriculum offer helps and meet the learner's needs.

There is a team of dedicated qualified first aiders.

Sunderland College also recognises the importance of working with all parents/carers for the wellbeing of your child.

The Learning Support team carries out a yearly survey where your child can actively participate and shape the future support provision at Sunderland College.

We have a ‘Student Voice’ that is made up of elected students who have the opportunity to voice concerns and ideas on behalf of their peers.

Sunderland College has a dedicated counselling service, providing impartial and confidential counselling to all students, including:

  • Personal problems
  • Stress/panic attacks
  • Loneliness
  • Course difficulties
  • Relationships/family difficulties
  • Depression
  • Trauma/crisis
  • Bereavement

Information, advice and guidance is available on all aspects of college life from financial support to course information. Please contact our Welfare team for additional information.

For further information with regarding the Sunderland College local SEN offer, you can Learning.Support@educationpartnershipne.ac.uk.