Ambitious College offers bespoke further education for its learners. We prioritise the development of communication, vocational and independent living skills our learners need to make a successful transition to adult life. Each learner has a highly personalised study programme, designed to develop the skills, attitudes and confidence that will support progression to positive outcomes.
We support young people with autism to live the lives they want. To do so, we devise and deliver personalised learning opportunities that help them achieve outcomes set out in their individual Educational, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Because our learners’ skill levels vary, we take an individual, person-centred approach to teaching, learning and assessment. We include, throughout our entire curriculum, functional skills such as English, maths, communication, information and communications technology (ICT). Our curriculum also reflects the four pathways of the Preparing for Adulthood Agenda and every course we offer includes aspects of all of the below on a weekly basis:
- Independent living
- Better health
- Friends, relationships and community
Copyright: Preparing for Adulthood.
Our curriculum promotes communication and social interaction. We have a speech and language therapist on site who uses a range of strategies to enable each learner to maximise their communication potential. This may include objects of reference including, Makaton, Proloquo2Go, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and the use of social stories to support understanding.
Developing work skills is a priority for all learners, although the focus will vary according to need and priority. For some it will focus on developing pre-vocational skills related to communication, independence and participation. For others, the aim will be to develop vocational-specific skills and qualifications.
All learners will have access to work experience in order to increase their self-confidence and ability to thrive in a range of settings. There is a full-time employment specialist on site who assesses learners employability skills in order to find a best match for each learner. Our community partnerships with Saracens Rugby Club, the London School of Economics, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum and Barnet and Southgate College ensure we have a good range of work experience placements to draw on.
The curriculum focuses on enabling young people with autism to build relationships and acquire the skills they need to manage their physical and emotional wellbeing. There is a strong overlap between personal development and the development of social and communication skills. Both have a profound impact on an individual’s ability to successfully navigate the world.
A key purpose of the individualised study programmes is to prepare learners for life both within and beyond the wider community of the college, and to equip them with the essential skills for living which will enable them to remain within their local community. These skills are best developed in natural settings and therefore much of this curriculum will be delivered within the community.
Young people with autism learn best through practising skills in real life contexts. Learning will be carefully planned and structured, in order to develop skills and competence and to promote independence. Learners will be involved in making choices about what they want to eat, cooking their own food, including shopping for groceries and keeping their environment clean and tidy.
All study programmes must include English and maths, but this will be at an appropriate level for the individual and in most cases will be functional and delivered in realistic and natural settings, with learners acquiring skills through doing, as opposed to a more traditional classroom-based model.