Ambitious College was London’s first specialist day college for autistic young people, set up by Ambitious about Autism in 2014. The college serves autistic young people aged 16 to 25, including those with learning disabilities, from across London and the home counties. Ambitious College has two campuses based within the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and West Thames College.
We are aspirational and ambitious for our learners and believe that with the right support, many of them can have a place in a mainstream educational setting. That’s why our campuses are co-located within mainstream further education colleges. This allows us to offer a much wider curriculum and provide learners with a broad range of mainstream vocational learning, and social and work experience opportunities.
Using our Ambitious Approach to education, we focus on the individual at all times. We offer a highly personalised curriculum and positively support our learners to acquire new skills and take part in everyday life. Ambitious College is registered as a specialist day college and inspected by Ofsted as Good.
London and Home Counties.
Ambitious College’s mission is to stand with autistic children, young people and their families to champion rights, campaign for change and create opportunities.
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) plan and work towards positive destinations.
Because our learners’ skill levels vary, we take an individual, person-centred approach to teaching, learning, and assessment. Throughout our entire curriculum we include functional skills such as English, Maths, Communication, and 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.
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 the best match for each learner. Our community partnerships with Saracens Rugby Club, the London School of Economics, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum and more 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.
The curriculum is designed 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 practicing skills in real-life contexts. Learning is carefully planned and structured, in order to develop skills and competence and to promote independence. Learners are 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.
English and Maths is integrated throughout the curriculum; 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.
Find out more about our curriculum.
Our curriculum has been designed to ensure our learners gain all the skills needed to be successful once leaving us.
Our curriculum is designed to give our learners the skills they need for their identified destination (North Star). As soon as learners come to us we begin work to ensure they gain the skills they need to be successful after Ambitious College.
All our curriculum courses promote 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.
Engagement and Interaction: For learners who have a high level of sensory need and occupational therapy input
Maximum independence: Learners on this course will develop their independence in a range of life skills both in college and in community settings
Vocational studies: Learners can follow a mainstream vocational programme that matches their interests and/or career ambitions
Preparing for employment: Preparing learners in all aspects of gaining and maintaining employment
The curriculum is delivered through class teaching, community learning, and one-to-one work. Learners are supported by Learning and Behaviour Specialists (LaBS) and support levels are reviewed termly by the Trans-disciplinary Team (TDT). Class teachers devise and deliver the sessions and targets for learning are set by the whole TDT. Each course has specific sessions that have ten key skill areas that are baselined against in the first six weeks. The baselines are revisited every term and progress tracked to ensure that learners are working on the skill areas where there is most need to develop.
Community learning and travel training make up an important part of our curriculum. Learners are supported to learn in functional ways in environments that are appropriate to the skills being taught.
We have high aspirations for our learners and we strive for the impact of our curriculum to be the attainment of positive destinations, and the skills they need to be successful in them, for all our young people post Ambitious College.
Within Ambitious College there is access to quiet rooms and a multisensory room.
We offer supported internships for young people who want to work in competitive employment. The unpaid supported internships form part of the intern’s education and equips young people with special educational needs and disabilities with the skills needed for adulthood and employment.
The programme takes place in a business setting. Learners are totally immersed in the workplace, learning through continuous feedback, and gaining real employability and competitive work skills.
How to apply
Candidates must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible to apply for an internship:
- aged 16-25 years old with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
- have autism or a related learning difficulty
- have an interest to move into employment
- interested in spending a year learning new skills or developing existing skills in the workplace
- be an independent traveller or working towards independence.
If you are accepted through the first stage, you will be invited to attend a selection event with the programme tutor and job coach. Find out more about our supported internships programme.