Queen Alexandra College (QAC) is a national residential College and community charity that supports a diverse range of student abilities and needs.
Based in Birmingham, the College has been at its current location since 1903 and offers an innovative, holistic approach to learning and support. We welcome students who come to our College from all over the country – as well as many who are local to us.
In addition to supporting people who have a visual impairment, we offer support and guidance for students with autistic spectrum conditions, those with moderate to severe learning difficulties, students with physical and other disabilities.
Ultimately, we have a great mix of students which adds to the wonderful atmosphere here in College. Class sizes are small and support levels high.
The College has a team of specialists on site who are able to support students, including Speech and Language Therapists, a Visual Impairment Training Officer, Educational and Clinical Psychologists, Counsellors, Mentors, a Braille Tutor, Occupational Therapy and Sensory Support, a Dyslexia Tutor, Rehabilitation and Travel Trainers and Healthcare Professionals including a Physiotherapist.
We are a national provider, accepting learners from across England and Wales.
At QAC your learning is planned around your individual needs, interests and ambitions. Our curriculum is designed to maximise adult life opportunities, develop independence and work skills. Our Preparation for Life (PFL) programme is very popular and provides you with an opportunity to develop the skills that you would need to participate within your community and, where possible, the workplace. This programme is designed for students who are working at Pre-Entry to Entry level and offers a great deal of variety.
The LEAP programme (Learning, Employment and Progression) is a stepping stone for students from PFL into a more work focused environment. A supported internship study programme could also be followed which involves spending the majority of time with an employer in a real job role.
A range of vocational qualifications to level 3 can also be accessed. Subject areas include Art and Design, Creative Media, Health and Social Care, IT, Performing Arts and Sport. The Powerchair Football Academy, working in partnership with The Albion Foundation, is the first collaborative ‘study programme’ of its kind in the whole country. Ideal for students aspiring to be sports coaches or play for the national team. Employment skills are embedded across all areas of study.
If you need a phased transition back into education following previous difficult experiences, our Access to College programme provides bespoke specialist support initially away from campus.
Enrichment programmes help you to develop your self-esteem, confidence and independence. Our residential curriculum develops essential skills for personal development such as independent living and social skills. Upon completing your time at QAC, you might choose to progress to mainstream further education, higher education, day care opportunities, training or employment. Some students may also choose to move onto our ‘Independence Plus’ supported living programme or explore our growing community services offer.
Facilities include new buildings with the latest technology, a fitness centre, state-of-the-art sports hall, sports field, sensory room, onsite travel training area, library and student centre.
Pinewood Campus is a centre located in nearby Woodgate Valley. It provides a high quality and exciting stepping stone into the world of work and is more business-like than educational in its feel. It was purposefully designed to not feel like 'being at College' as Pinewood Campus supports students to move away from being in education to support them to become more confident with the working world. This supported progression into work is achieved within the ethos and values of QAC. Pinewood is where specific QAC Employment Pathways programmes are delivered such as our Supported Internships and STRIDES courses.
Located in Selly Oak, Umberslade Campus is a rural idyll in an urban setting comprising of a small retail outlet, tea room and various horticulture facilities that are utilised by College students.
Some students choose to move onto our ‘Independence Plus’ supported living programme. Clients on this programme still need support and the aim is to deliver a service that provides you with the means to live independently/semi independently into the future. Many clients are in education, voluntary work or paid employment not linked to QAC directly. Funding is usually provided through a Direct Payment Personal Budget in conjunction with housing benefit for accommodation.
As part of our 5-year strategy (2019-2024) QAC is developing a new range of services for young people with disabilities in the community. These will include support services to enable people to access community activities (including a PA/support worker service), social and/or peer support groups, leisure activities and the development of a QAC youth centre. All of these services will operate within the QAC ethos of developing learning and independence and will be open to young people who have previously been QAC students and also people who are contacting us for the first time.
We will also be developing consultancy and training services for other organisations starting with a comprehensive offer of Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) consultancy services including training, professional coaching and 1:1 direct work with clients.
QAC Enterprises consists of a range of businesses that raise money for the College. All Formats Transcription Services provide a specialist service transcribing documents into a number of alternative formats suitable for people with a visual impairment.
QAC is the UK distributor of Revolution Advantage Carbon Fibre canes and organiser of Sight Village – the premier event for blind and partially sighted people, bringing together leading providers of products and services all under one roof.