The College offers bespoke programmes to students, which are designed specifically to meet their individual needs. We provide an approach that combines expertise in Education, Social Care and Clinical Therapy to ensure that each student has the programme and support that will maximise their learning and development.
The College approach is known as the 'Novalis Model'. This approach is based on many years of experience and draws on practice and research by contemporary leading practitioners and academics in trauma theory, attachment focused therapies, sensory integration and learning disabilities.
The model emphasises the importance of a trauma informed, relationship based, attachment focused and evidence supported approach, which promotes the creation of a low arousal therapeutic college and home.
Central to the College’s philosophy is the belief that establishing a sense of safety is vital to ensuring that students are able to make progress in their lives. With that in mind, the College adopts an approach that has been designed specifically to help those who have Learning Disabilities or experienced childhood adversity and trauma to feel physically, psychologically, socially and morally safe.
The College’s admissions process is set out in the College’s Admissions Procedure, which is available on request. A local authority/parent wishing to refer a student is required to complete an Admissions Form. The information provided for a new student is considered by the College’s Admissions Panel, which meets at least once a fortnight. Representatives from the education, care, clinical therapy and senior management attend the admissions meeting to consider new referrals and decide if the College is able to meet the needs of the student. The meetings are chaired by the Chief Executive who is a Registered Social Worker with over 25 years’ experience of working with students with complex needs. Requests for further information or clarification maybe sought at this stage, as well as later in the admissions process.
The curriculum has been developed to provide individualised bespoke programmes of study in vocational skills; independent living skills; functional skills, and Personal Development - that enable students to achieve their potential in all aspects of their lives.
Employment, Vocational and Practical Skills: Preparing students for work is an important aspect of the College’s curriculum. Students are able to choose options from a range of work related and vocational opportunities and qualifications according to their individual needs, abilities and interests. These are currently in the areas of:
- Creative Skills
- Technical Skills
- Personal, Social and Health Education
- Hospitality and Catering
- Health and Social Care
- Small Animal Care
Students are able to explore their choices through Independent careers advice at key points in the placement. Students are able to apply their learning in this area in a range of supported work experience placements.
Independent Living Skills: Preparing students to be as independent as possible is crucial in ensuring quality of life. The college supports learning in this area through the following sessions:
- Community Access
- Independent cooking / sensory baking
- Personal Tutorial sessions
Students are taught areas of domestic independence and personal care within the residential environment.
Functional Skills: Students are taught functional skills that support their future employment and independent living. Functional Skills are taught as discreet sessions for students participating in the Employability Pathway and are further embedded and targeted in individual session. For those following the Life Skills and Sensory pathways, functional skills are embedded in individual sessions.
William Morris College’s low arousal therapeutic approach provides an environment in which students can feel safe, supported and relaxed. The College and home environments play a key role in managing arousal levels, keeping anxiety, stress and sensory stimulation under control. Reducing sensory information in the environment such as noise, strong lighting and bold colour schemes enables students to remain calm, relaxed and free to engage in educational and leisure activities and to interact with other people. Providing an environment in which stress is reduced is, therefore, a core element of the College and home.
The college is well resourced and facilities include speicalised teaching rooms (Horticulture, Technical Skilsl workshop, Art, Therapy, Music and Drama space, Cafe, Media) plus a Cafe and independent flats/houses. The college works in partnership with local employers to provide a comprehensive programme of learning and work experience. Students have access to speech and language therapy and regular tutorials. Small group sizes mean students receive individualised attention to support their learning.
Clinical Therapy at Novalis Trust offers students the following:
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and Language therapy aims to support students with their communication, language and interaction skills. At the college, speech and language therapists offer support in many areas including social skills, emotional literacy, vocabulary enrichment,understanding and self-awareness.
Occupational therapy offers practical support for students to enable them to overcome barriers to both learning and everyday life. Targeted areas can include support with self-care, functional skills, independence and life skills, sensory needs and motor skills.
Family Work allows members of a family to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, whilst building on strengths to make useful changes in relationships and life.
Music therapy offers students the chance to explore and communicate through the use of music and offer a positive change in emotional well-being. It can help to develop and facilitate communication skills, self-esteem and improve concentration and attention.
Our clinical psychologist and child and adolescent psychotherapist offer support with talking through difficult feelings, experiences and work with the students to think of solutions to such difficulties. This can be in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling or psychotherapy.