Natspec Network | January 2019 Highlights

A monthly roundup of stories from the specialist sector

Natspec Network | January 2019 Highlights

Welcome back to all our members, associates and wider network. We’ve had a brilliant year so far working on new CPD opportunities for members, planning the Natspec National Conference in April 2019 and attending consultations and a parliamentary reception to raise the profile of issues relating to SEND in FE.

Members of the network have also made exciting announcements and are getting involved in new projects and initiatives; including multiple award nominations, updated student success stories, and physical activity initiatives.

  1. Five Natspec colleges shortlisted for specialist provider of the year at TES FE awards
  2. Triple award nomination for National Star
  3. Learning Disability Charity are named Lincoln FC Charity Partners
  4. Updated: Students at work
  5. Visual impairment no obstacle for college students’ Dartmoor challenge
  6. Rewarding adventurous students thanks to lasting legacy
  7. Kidz to Adultz Middle | Free event for children and young adults up to 25
  8. Latest Natspec News and Transform Training and Events newsletter
  9. Natspec National Conference 2019

Five Natspec colleges shortlisted for the 2019 Specialist Provider of the Year at TES FE awards

We’re pleased to see the recognition of the great work our colleges do to support young people with SEND to develop personally and socially, provide specialist learning programmes and support work-life aspirations. Five Natspec colleges have been nominated for TES FE’s Specialist Provider of the Year award for 2019, with the winner to be announced at a gala award ceremony in London on March 22. These are:

  • Coleg Elidyr
  • Derwen College
  • Foxes Academy
  • National Star
  • Queen Alexandra College

Triple awards nomination for National Star

Aoc Beacon shortlist promo image

National Star, a specialist college for young people with complex disabilities and learning difficulties, has been shortlisted for three national awards.

In addition to being shortlisted for the specialist provider of the year for the TES FE awards 2019, they are a finalist in two other categories for AoC Beacon Awards: British Council International Award and RCU Support for Learners Award.

The winners will be announced at the ceremony in London on March 22.

“To make the finals of three categories in the most prestigious education awards in this country is a tribute to our multi-disciplinary team and their incredible work,” said David Ellis, Chief Executive of National Star.

National Star last year supported 647 people with disabilities. It shared its expertise with more than 2,800 professionals and people in the sector.


Learning Disability Charity is named Lincoln FC Charity Partners

linkage chosen as charity partner to local football clubLinkage Community Trust, a local learning disability charity, has been chosen by the public to become Lincoln City Football Club’s Charity of the Year for 2019. The partnership with Lincoln City FC will help Linkage further its work in ensuring that people with learning disabilities receive the support they need to achieve their aspirations.

Valerie Waby, CEO of Linkage said “Linkage has been doing amazing things for people with learning disabilities across Lincolnshire for 43 years. However, beyond the learning disability community we’re not hugely well known, and like most charities, we are not blessed with huge financial resources. This partnership with Lincoln City FC will make a massive difference to us, helping us build our supporter base and raise money. We are rightly proud of what we do, but we need more people to know just how amazing Linkage is, and the difference that we make to the lives of those with learning disabilities. Thank you to every single person who voted for us.”

As Lincoln City Charity Club Partners, Linkage will receive priority for fundraising support and profile awareness. The Club will also assist the charity with fundraising activities, including match day bucket collections.


Updated: Students at work

We’ve updated our students at work series highlighting the accomplishments of young people with SEND excelling in their work experience and achieving full and part-time employment opportunities. Read student stories here.


Visual impairment no obstacle for college students’ Dartmoor challenge

9 students with visual impairment participating in ten tors trainingNine visually-impaired students from WESC Foundation’s college in Exeter, Devon, have begun their training sessions for the annual Ten Tors outdoor challenge, which each year attracts teenagers from all over the south-west to the relative wilderness of Dartmoor.

Taking part in the training alongside teachers and other support staff, many members of the WESC Foundation team will be hoping to complete their second or even third “Jubilee Challenge” later this year. The event is aimed at young people with a range of challenging conditions including sensory impairment and physical disability, and participants aim to complete routes of up to 15 miles, with the terrain, distance and climate all conspiring against success.

Ten Tors training is one of the highlights in a busy programme of enrichment, community engagement and work placements. Students have access to retail, horticultural, tourism and business opportunities delivered through a network of local businesses and WESC Foundation’s own social enterprise department.

Organised by the Army’s Headquarters South West, Ten Tors brings together around 2,500 young people from schools and further education colleges across the region.


A new award in memory of a remarkable young woman

arran hands award over to steveDerwen College, near Oswestry, has been given the honour of delivering an award – which will be presented every year by The Kirstin Royle Trust to one of Derwen’s students who has challenged themselves through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

The Kirstin Royle Trust was set up in 1993 in memory of Kirstin who died aged 22. The trust began with the aim of providing opportunities for young people to participate in challenging activities that give them a real sense of adventure. Kirstin was a kind and compassionate teacher who loved the outdoors, so it seemed natural that the trust provided opportunities for young people to participate in activities that would otherwise be very difficult for them.

The trust has also made a contribution to the Raymond Priestley Centre in Coniston where Derwen College students spend time as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

Derwen College, in Gobowen, is a specialist college for young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. The college offers students the opportunity to learn new skills in real work environments and to learn life skills which will enable them to live as independently as possible. Last year, 60 learners from the college completed their D of E awards at Bronze, Silver or Gold levels.


Kidz to Adultz Middle | Free event for children and young adults up to 25

Take advantage of a free event aimed at young people with SEND who are 25 and under on Thursday 21 March, 9.30am – 4.30pm. This event is also open to parents, carers, guardians and professionals who work closely with young people with SEND. With 120+ exhibitors attending, there’ll be plenty of information, advice and guidance available for visitors to benefit from.

Learn more and book your place.

disabled living promotional image


Latest Natspec News and Transform Training and Events newsletter

Read more on the latest from our member colleges and their community partnerships by viewing our latest Natspec News: January 2019 edition. The newsletter covers great stories and examples of specialist FE colleges working with organisations in their communities to raise awareness about important topics or provide employment opportunities to young people with SEND.

Interested in the latest CPD opportunities from Natspec? Our latest Natspec Transform: Training and Events newsletter lists our upcoming workshops, networks and conferences.


Natspec National Conference 2019

The national conference for SEND professionals working in post-16 education is taking place on 2 and 3 April 2019. The conference will be packed with useful information on best practice, insights and experiences on the different aspects of working with young people with SEND. In addition to the workshops, keynotes and hot topics that are taking place on issues ranging from managing local authority relationships, assistive technology to learner’s voice and more – you’ll also have the opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and engage in discussions about your shared experiences.

Learn more about the event and book your place.