Thornbeck College - North East Autism Society

Learning for living and work, increasing social and economic inclusion
The logo of Thornbeck College - North East Autism Society S41 status


Thornbeck College - North East Autism Society
Cedar Drive
County Durham
  • Course Length:
    38 weeks per year
  • Residential or Day:
  • Course Dates:
    Intake throughout the year
  • Maximum Number of Students:
  • Age Range:
    16 - 25 years



General Description

Thornbeck College is an Independent Specialist College that offers personalised learning programmes for learners with autism and neurodiversity, including varying levels of challenging behaviour.  The College offers day placements.  Learners follow programmes that promote their social and economic inclusion.  The College offers supported internships and a post college Skills for Living and Work Programme.  Flexible start dates are available throughout the year.


Outcomes for learners focus on increasing their social and economic inclusion. The College offers a responsive and flexible curriculum which allows learning to be personalised within a broad and diverse learning offer.  The College believes that what a learner aspires to do after further education informs what they learn within their FE programme.  The curriculum continues to prepare learners for life and work in a multicultural society.   English and mathematics is contextualised and embedded within meaningful activities to promote confidence and independence.  The college has a range of innovative social enterprises such as bespoke wedding invitations, confectionary and a community based shop.

Specialist Facilities

A range of vocational workshops including; car maintenance, woodwork, textiles, hairdressing salon.  Access to speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.  Extensive community links with employers and housing associations that support transition and preparation for adulthood.  Links with local GFE Colleges and third sector providers. 

Highly effective Positive and Proactive Support (PPS) that is accredited by BILD. In-house PPS trainers and functional behaviour analysis to support learners to develop self-regulation strategies and minimise behaviour of concern.

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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 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.