The East Riding's first college for people with learning disabilities has opened in BeverleySat 10th October 2020
Beverley is now home to the East Riding’s first further education college for young people with learning disabilities.
Linkage College opened at Flemingate in September to meet the growing demand in the East Riding for high quality provision which prepares young people with learning disabilities for adult life in the most appropriate way for them.
Statistics from the Department of Education show that between 2014 and 2018 the East Riding saw a 49% increase in children or young people with a statement or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), compared to a 35% increase nationally.
However, until Linkage College opened, young people in the East Riding had to access out-of-county placements if they wanted to move on to post-16 specialist college education.
With three established campuses in Lincolnshire, Linkage College has worked in partnership with the East Riding’s SEND Commissioning Team to address that.
Linkage is an independent further education college offering a specialist learning experience to people aged 16-25 with a range of learning difficulties and disabilities.
Being an independent college means that it is able to follow its own curriculum based on the particular needs, aspirations and abilities of the learners. The new campus at Flemingate will provide learners with what Linkage College’s 2020 Ofsted report described as “experiences that are life changing”.
Assistant Principal, Sarah Boughen says “Linkage College is all about giving young people with learning disabilities a safe and happy learning environment where they can develop the skills and behaviours they need to transition into adulthood with a greater amount of independence.
“We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach so each learner has an individualised study programme which is completely unique to them. It combines of personal and social development, so things like social interaction skills, personal hygiene, managing money and travel safety, with vocational subjects, functional skills like maths, English and ICT, enrichment activities, work projects and a strong careers and employability programme where appropriate.
“With this mix we’ve seen Linkage learners, with varying degrees of learning disabilities, achieve academically and personally in ways they and their families could only previously have dreamed of. We’re really excited to be bringing this experience to the East Riding.”
The college’s position in Beverley means that it is within easy travelling distance for learners in Hull, the East Riding and wider Yorkshire.
The newly renovated facilities offer a safe and calm place to learn, just a stone’s throw away from the town’s plentiful opportunities for enrichment, community engagement and work placements.
Sarah continues: “Being in Beverley gives us shops, leisure activities, public transport and local businesses on our doorstep. From experience, we know that young people learn best through real-life experiences so access to these amenities is key for helping students gain the confidence, self-esteem and knowledge and skills they need for their futures.
“Whether it’s practising using money, travelling on public transport or getting them ready for employment through work experience and internships, learners are going to have so many opportunities available to them.”
The college welcomes new starters year round and tours of the new campus are available now by appointment. For more information visit the website here or call 01482 888305.