ESPA College

Autism Spectrum, Asperger Syndrome and associated difficulties
ESPA College
2a Hylton Park Road
The logo of ESPA College S41 status
  • Brief Description:
    Autism Spectrum, Asperger Syndrome and associated difficulties
  • Course Length:
    38 weeks
  • Residential or Day:
  • Course Dates:
    Courses start in September but we accept new students throughout the year
  • Maximum Number of Students:
  • Age Range:

General Description

ESPA College, based in Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle, provides residential and day education for young people with Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

We are committed to providing a high quality, autism specific educational experience to enable learners to maximise their potential for future life, well-being and work.

We offer a range of teaching strategies to meet the unique needs of learners with autism.

ESPA College - Raising aspirations and improving lives.

We Offer:

  • Expertise in meeting the needs of students with autism spectrum disorder
  • Expertise in meeting the needs of students with Asperger syndrome
  • Expertise in meeting the needs of students with autism spectrum disorder with associated challenging behaviour
  • Expertise in meeting the needs of students with behavioural difficulties
  • Expertise in meeting the needs of students with emotional difficulties
  • Expertise in meeting the needs of students with mental health needs


The curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs, interests and long-term goals of every student – All students follow the College Core Curriculum which focuses on 3 key areas: Social Communication, Emotional Literacy and Behavioural Self Management.

The curriculum also includes Functional Skills – Maths, English and ICT from Entry Level 1 to Level 2.

We also offer a range of accredited and bespoke courses such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Creative and Expressive Arts, Media studies, Independence and Leisure Skills. There are also good opportunities to develop employability through a wide range of work placements.
Students can also undertake Supported Internships or study for additional vocational or academic courses in local further education colleges with ESPA College staff support.
Our learners are well supported by a multi-disciplinary team including counsellors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapy, educational psychology and clinical psychology.

We Offer:

  • A programme to enable students to learn more about themselves and how to form relationships
  • A programme to help students to look after themselves more independently
  • Opportunities to attend local further education colleges with support
  • Opportunities for work experience
  • Opportunities to improve literacy, numeracy and/or communication skills
  • Opportunities to develop strategies to promote appropriate behaviour
  • A transition programme into supported or open employment
  • Opportunities to take part in a wide range of social, leisure and sporting activities

Specialist Facilities

The College has a number of well-equipped specialist rooms at each of its sites to provide learners with the opportunity to develop their skills and interests. We have workshops for Horticulture and Woodwork; a newly equipped gym; contemporary kitchens and independence areas and well equipped music and media suites.

We Offer:

  • In-house speech and language therapy
  • In-house psychology services
  • In-house occupational therapy
  • Specialist training to enable independent travel
  • Guidance and counselling services
  • Residential provision linked to the academic year
  • Residential provision extending beyond the academic year


College band, ‘Session Plan’, rehearsing for their first gig!
Affective Music –Exploring emotions through music
Creative Arts – Helping to explore different themes through learners’ skills and interests.
Learning new vocational skills in the workshop

Prospectus Request

To request a prospectus from ESPA College please fill in the details below and click submit.

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The S41 symbol next to most of the colleges in the directory means that they are on the Secretary of State’s Approved List.

This new list, developed as part of the Children and Families Act 2014, means that some parts of the Act apply to these independent institutions. This includes specialist colleges.