Member Article

New name, new courses!

As the new academic year is upon us and one of the regions top specialist colleges is taking the opportunity to focus on providing greater opportunities for its disabled students to develop independence and enter into the world of work.

From the 3rd of September the college formally known as Northern Counties College, located in Jesmond Newcastle will be known as Percy Hedley College and will be offering its students, who have learning difficulties and disabilities, a new individualised curriculum with a wider range of education and training programmes leading to increased independence and employability.

The college, which has been part of The Percy Hedley Foundation, since it first opened its doors to students in January 2006, and has gone from strength to strength in providing tailored programmes to support for a wide range of individual needs culminating in variety of student’s achievements.

College Principal Caroline Smale explains the reasons behind the changes “The management team and staff at the college have been developing a new further education curriculum offer which we know will support our students to fulfil their personal objectives and make a successful transition from school to college and from college into employability. We have always provided high quality learning programmes but we are extending our offer to include access to the wide variety of specialist facilities and resources throughout The Percy Hedley Foundation.”

The college now offers a choice of four learning programmes which are tailored to meet the needs of individual students. Students have a choice of Vocational Pathways programme, Communication and Choice programme, Independence and Skills programme and the new Percy Hedley College apprenticeship.

Students at the college will be accessing some of The Percy Hedley Foundation specialist services such as the Employability Projects, the Academy for Disability Sport located in Killingworth, and the wide variety of Social Enterprise Centres which are located throughout North Tyneside.

Caroline continued “It seemed the right time to also look at the college brand. We are part of the region’s largest disability charity and it made sense to ensure that the college is acknowledged as part of the Foundation. It is a proud moment for all of us, staff and students to have The Percy Hedley Foundation logo above our entrance.”

In a recent Ofsted inspection the inspectors commented on the value of the partnerships developed by the college and the Foundation. They said

“The use of partnerships to develop provision is outstanding. An exceptional employability project provides learners with an extremely wide range of opportunities for work experience.” Ofsted, September 2011.

This statement is echoed by some of the regions top employers.

Louise Forrester, Funding Manger at the BIG Lottery Fund said “ Percy Hedley College have been a pleasure to work with and supported us all the way through the student’s placement, ensuring the experience is a positive one for the student and ourselves.“

Susanne Gutcher, office manager at Eversheds in Newcastle also commented on the value of working in partnership with the college, she said “ Working with the College has been an invaluable experience for us as a company as it has raised our awareness and has helped us to make some positive changes in the workplace.“

It is from this work that the college has gone on to develop its apprenticeship programme.

Carole Harder CEO of the Foundation said “Percy Hedley College is a Further Education and Training provider for young people with a range of learning difficulties and disabilities who require specialist support with an individualised programme to develop a range of independence skills to make a successful transition to adulthood in the North East region. After attending the last college Awards evening to celebrate the students many achievements and certificates I am eager to see the results of the new curriculum offer and of course excited about the new brand and what this will bring to the college.”

To find out more about the college or attend the next college Open Day taking place on Wednesday 26thSeptember contact the Transition Manager on 0191 212 7853 to book a place. Visit the website www.percyhedley.org.uk and click on Percy Hedley College.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Julie Calvert .

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