The voice of specialist further education

Case study 3 – transition into social care from Chadsgrove Educational Trust Specialist College

A student sitting in a restricted movement chair whilst a tutor assists them in using a set of wind chimes for sensory stimulationChadsgrove College focuses from the outset on securing a successful progression to an appropriate social care provision for each of their students, all of whom have learning disabilities and physical and/or complex health needs. Their local authority, Worcestershire, commissions three-year placements with the young person attending college for four days per week in their first two years and three days in their third year. On the remaining days, most are accessing social care provision, funded by social services.

In the first year, the college takes each student to visit different social care providers and observes them interacting with staff and peers in situ. They explore settings based on locality, taking into account their needs, interests and preferences. In their second year at college, the young person spends their non-college day trying out different social care provisions. By the third year, most will be spending three days in college and one or two days in the provision that they will move onto after college.

Collaboration between the college and social care providers means that when the time comes to leave education, the students can make a positive next step. They do not experience the cliff-edge that so many young people and families describe where on one day they have access to a full range of familiar provision and the next it’s either all change or worse – there is nothing available to them.

This transition-planning is entirely led by staff at Chadsgrove College. While they have the support of their local authority, it is the college that

  • advises the young people on what’s available and the differences between different types of social care provision
  • secures the visits to the social care provision
  • invites the social care staff to the young person’s annual review from their first year in college onwards
  • brings in the social care staff from the receiving provision to observe the young person engaging in learning at college, to find out more about particular techniques or use of equipment relevant to the individual
  • sends in specialist staff, including physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, to advise and train staff in the receiving social care setting – all without any additional funding.

All local authorities need to work collaboratively across the LA SEND team and adult services in the way that Worcestershire is doing. Planning for young people’s transition from college into social care provision should be local authority-led, begin well in advance of the young person’s last term in college, and involve both education and social care teams. Closer working between these two different parts of a local authority will also enable better planning of adult services, based on a knowledge of the young people coming through the system. Both teams need to be resourced to enable this essential collaboration.

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