The voice of specialist further education

Ascent autism specialist College

Ascent autism specialist College is a non maintained day special college for young people with autism and associated neuro diverse needs.
Students' celebrating achieving their Yellow Belts in their Health and Fitness session
Ascent autism specialist College logo


Ascent autism specialist College
449 Wargrave Road
WA12 8RS


  • Ascent College Pre Loved Project
    Vista Road
    WA11 0RN
  • Course Length (weeks):
  • Residential or Day:
  • Start Time:
  • Maximum Number of Students:
  • Age Range:
    16 – 25


General Description

Ascent autism specialist College is situated in the market town of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside. Ascent Autism Specialist College’s multi-disciplinary team has expertise in supporting social communication, sensory integration, behaviour and emotional needs within a life and functional skills-based core curriculum. 

Ascent autism specialist College is dedicated to providing expert specialist education to autistic young people aged 16 - 25, our focus is upon achieving the very best outcomes. Ascent college supports autistic young people to fulfil their own unique potential, we provide this through safe and nurturing education environments that meet the full range of young people’s needs.

ASC Specialism

Ascent College specialises in education and preparation for adulthood for autistic young adults with associated difficulties. We provide:

  • Personalised curriculum pathways around a deep understanding of young people’s challenges.
  • Bespoke access to social skills programmes
  • Well-equipped education and therapeutic facilities
  • Pathways that tackle the difficult transitional journeys from childhood to adulthood

Catchment Area

We are a regional provider accepting learners from across the North West.


We offer a range of student centred accredited educational pathways between Entry 1 - Entry 3; Level 1 - Level 2 and Level 3 Access To HE.

Our non accredited PfA (Preparation for Adulthood) pathway is qaulity assured through RARPA (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement)

Ascent College multi-disciplinary team has expertise in supporting social communication, sensory integration, behaviour and emotional needs within a life and functional skills-based core curriculum. Education and care services are supported in house by a large therapy team (speech and language and occupational therapy). In addition, students will follow a range of vocational programmes and access community facilities to promote development of functional, personal and self-help skills. There are good opportunities to develop employability skills through partnership with a wide range of local community businesses and services.

We offer a range of accredited qualifications from; City and Guilds, Open Awards and BTec.

We offer a non accredited Preparation for Adulthood curriculum around; Independent Living Skills, Health and Fitness, Community and Relationship, and Employability.

We are a licenced Duke of Edinburgh provider:

Through the Duke of Ed award we aim to provide students with an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding programme of personal development that helps and and supports our students in developing key skills for life.

Students take part in various trips, visits and challenges as well as work built into our curriculum that helps us to complete the four different sections. These four sections are tailored to your interests , ensuring everyone has the opportunity to take part.

Volunteering: Working in College and out in the community we will make a difference to other people’s lives.

Physical activities: We will offer various activities to give you the opportunity to work towards a healthy lifestyle and contribute to your physical and mental wellbeing.

Skills: From E-Sports to Cookery, whatever strikes your personal interest, we will explore it with you while building practical and social skills along the way.

Expeditions: Be it camping or an indoor accommodation we will take part in overnight stays of various lengths, preparing meals, travelling across countryside, reading maps and learning more about the outdoors.

Residential: This is for Gold Level participants only and involves five days and four nights away from home. The residential is all about having new experiences, in a new environment and gaining new life skills.


Specialist Facilities

Ascent autism Specialist College provides a range of facilities and resources to support our students’ diverse needs.

We have our inhouse therapy team who provide support and services othrough direct and indirect therapuetic strategies.

We have a specialist college site that is designed to meet the needs of autistic young perople.

We have a Print Shop; Originally, the Print Shop began as printing for clothes, hoodies, t-shirts only. Since its inception the range or produce includes mugs, pillow cases, money boxes and now fridge magnets.

The students learn a multitude of skills throughout the process:

  • Making and researching the designs for the items
  • Uploading the designs to the in house software program
  • Ensuring the vinyl is sized up correctly on all the items being made
  • Setting the machine to cut the design
  • Weeding the design including removing the backing from the vinyl
  • Placing the design on the item and pressing.

The work that goes on in the Print Shop is part of our curriculum as the students work towards their Design Project through Open Awards/BTec

We have our onsite Cosy Corner Cafe:

The Cosy Corner Café team offer table or a takeaway service each week, serving up a menu of toasties, bacon/sausage sandwiches, teacakes and much more at low prices.

The café team run a variety of themed events throughout the year for all students and learners across the school and college to enjoy. In addition to this the team have also welcomed visitors on several open mornings. 

Students gain skills in:

  • Food Preparation
  • Taking food and drink orders
  • Serving food and drink
  • Clearing and cleaning
  • Customer service
  • Communication skills
  • Basic money handling
  • Teamwork

Knowledge of:

  • Food hygiene certificate
  • Correct PPE required
  • How to store food correctly
  • How to work in the Kitchen safely
  • How to use kitchen equipment safely
  • How to control stock
  • How to manage time

We also have our off site Pre Loved Project:

The Preloved Project is a multifaceted project – primarily a learning hub for students at Ascent College with a focus on embedding a range of employability skills and experiential learning opportunities for students who work on the site. Such as, but not limited to:

  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Woodwork
  • Furniture restoration
  • Horticulture
  • Planning, preparation and delivery of workshops

As the name suggests, The Preloved Project aims to promote sustainable ways of living through informational and practical workshops in areas such as furniture upcycling, horticulture, reducing food waste and home composting. The site also offers a shop which sells various preloved, zero-waste, plastic free and/or sustainable products in addition to a small cafe area which is open to the public at designated times throughout the week (during term time). Students work alongside staff to run and manage the various areas across the site.

We have an off site Animal Care Centre:

Here at Ascent we have our own mini zoo. We have built up our collection of animals over the last year. It has been an exciting process for the students as they have helped research the animals and how to care for them. The students have even helped in building and safe proofing the enclosures. Our students learn how to safely handle and care for our animals, whilst gaining the therapeutic benefits from handling, brushing them and checking them over on a daily basis.

We have seen first-hand the therapeutic benefits for the students as the animals help them to self-regulate and allow them to have an additional calming space to use during the day. The students also learn from being able to complete personal care for the animals as they are able to develop a range of skills, understand the responsibility of caring for others and work as a team while they learn what is involved in caring for each animal.

Other Information

Community Participation:

Students collaborate with local community groups to support development of wider skills and knowledge.The students from Ascent College gain valuable team building and problem solving skills working alongside adults in general daily life and community situations which help develop their confidence and social interaction abilities whilst contributing to enhancing real local environmental projects. 

We have a very proactive Student Council

Our student council members take part in the Natspec Student Parliament which comprises of Natspec member colleges from across the country. The Student Voice Parliament meets twice per year, with the agenda set by the Parliament members. This addresses important issues that affect our students such as Government Disability Strategy and a need to increase understanding in the wider community about our skills, abilities and accessibility needs.

Student Council

Our Student Council includes a representative from each of the Ascent classes as well as other interested students. The council meets once per month to discuss a range of issues such as lunchtime activities, the college environment and any worries or concerns the students may be having. The agenda is issued before each meeting and the minutes are published and available to access in college.
The student council has asked for new equipment, such as a football goal for lunchtime activities which has been provided. They have also made suggestions for lunchtime clubs to support students with their regulation and social skills and to have a positive impact on wellbeing.


In our student council meetings, we follow an agenda which covers a range of different topics including actions from the last meeting to check what has been put into place. Each member is also given the opportunity to bring forward issues from their own classes. Students take turns to write the minutes, and everyone is given the opportunity to give their opinion on each topic raised. Our students have come up with some amazing ideas for how our college could be even better and we aim to put all of these into place.

We offer Pre Internships and Supported Internships:

Students on the Pre Internships spend 1.5 - 2 days days a week on work placement and the rest of the time in college. Students on Supported Internships spend 3 days per week on work placement and two days a week at College developing employability skills such as CV building, job applications, interview skills and English & maths. Specialist on site therapy services are available to enable the intern to further develop their personal coping strategies and enhance engagement with preparation for adulthood themes.


A Supported Internship is a partnership between Ascent autism specialist College and host employers. It is tailored to the individual needs of the young person to develop skills in order to gain paid employment.

Supported Internships are programmes that offer people with a learning disability, or difficulty aged 16-24 years old, the opportunity to get practical work-based learning experience providing a smooth transition from education to paid employment.

Supported Internships offer a range of benefits, helping people with learning disabilities or difficulties to raise their aspirations, build skills and confidence, gain a better understanding of employment, show employers what they can do and progress towards paid work.

> Our expertise

> Our curriculum

> Our specialist services


Students' celebrating achieving their Yellow Belts in their Health and Fitness session
Students accessing travel training
Student preparing and cooking own lunch as part of Independent Living Skills
Students working together at one of their work placements maintaining a local country park.

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