This ‘Local Offer’ section details information about the services Furness College provides for learners who have additional needs.
How does the college know if young people need extra help and what should I do if I think a young person may have special educational needs?
If someone is thinking of coming to Furness College, but they want to talk to someone before applying about courses or specific support needs they may have, they can contact Helen Sharples, the Inclusion Manager on 01229 844759 or contact the college on 01229 825017 and ask for an appointment to see or speak to Helen. Alternatively you may wish to e-mail Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Jennifer Philips, the Inclusion Coordinator and/or Julie Cooper the Learning Support Coordinator. Julie can be contacted on 01229 844737 and Jenny on 01229 844835. You can also contact them by e-mail:
If someone applies to Furness College they are asked to complete an application form. On that form we ask if the person has any additional needs. Once someone ticks the box on the form we will contact them and invite him/her in for a discussion about their individual needs. They can bring along a friend, relative or carer to this meeting.
Inspira personnel will also help you to arrange a meeting, or a visit to the college, to help you decide if you want to apply to us. Alternatively the SENCO at the young person’s school or provider may contact us on their behalf to discuss options.
How will college staff support my young person?
This question will be discussed when we meet as our learning support is organised on an individual basis and may change according to the needs of the individual; however the type and amount of learning support the young person receives is based on their individual needs and/or what is recommended on their ECH plan(if they have one).
We would discuss with the young person their individual support needs, this discussion may also include all relevant parties such as support or key workers parents/carers, previous support staff from schools or colleges. We will also discuss various career paths for the young person, with regard to the type of vocational course they wish to pursue. Typical support models used in college are to provide in-class learning support assistants; a quiet room for breaks and lunch times; extra tuition in maths and English (depending on level of need and suitability); loan and/or acquisition of suitable assistive technology; liaison with any other named agencies who are recommended in the ECH plan or by key workers or medical and/or care staff who know about the young person’s needs.
Every student with a recognised support need will also have regular sessions with the Learning Mentor attached to their vocational area. These meetings may be to provide purely pastoral support or to help with completing coursework for example.
Other support measures we may put in place may include: access to a suitable curriculum appropriate to individual needs and academic levels; access to work experience or supported internships or work placements.
We also have access to college counsellors who students can arrange to see via the Inclusion Manager; learning mentor or specific staff in Student Services.
The Inclusion Department produces an annual Impact Report which measures the impact of providing learning support across the college. This is presented to the College governing body who will them decide what action, if any, may be required to improve the department.
Ofsted also ensures the college meets the standards required by educational providers.
You can view Ofsted reports and the Ofsted ‘dashboard' which gives statistics about the college's performance on the Ofsted website. You can also access the latest Ofsted inspection report on the college which graded the college as GOOD with OUTSTANDING provision in Engineering.
We also publish the results of the questionnaires we ask all students to complete three times a year.
This gives us the feedback we need to ensure we are providing a service which is fit for purpose to the students.
Students are also requested to complete a survey by OFSTED.
How will the curriculum be matched to my young person’s needs?
We have a wide variety of vocational courses some of which lead onto degree level study at the Barrow campus.
Visit our website to see the full range of courses www.furness.ac.uk
All our courses at the moment lead to nationally recognised accreditation and there are specific criteria which we have to follow and which students have to complete to attain an achievement. Within the class setting tutors will differentiate to enable greater access to the syllabus, such as: extra time for completion of assignments; extra tuition to help with completing assignments, access to assistive technology which may help when completing assignments.
We have a specifically designed Entry Level course to help those who are vulnerable or lacking specific levels of skills. The course is the Diploma in Skills for Working Life and you can contact Jenny Phillips on 01229 844835 to discuss if this is the right course for you. We also run an entry level course in construction and you can contact Graeme Shaw on 01229 844764 to discuss this course.
At the moment Furness College does not provide specific programmes of study or training for an individual. We also do not supply in-house accommodation or boarding.
How will I know how my young person is doing and how will you help me to support my young person’s learning?
Every student at Furness College has an individual learning plan with appropriate targets based on their individual needs. Every year two progress reports will be sent to you and the young person.
You will also have the opportunity to attend a parent/carer evening in February. Those students with LDD also have an Education Action Plan (EAP) which gives further details about their specific learning difficulties and needs.
Those students who are supported by a learning support assistant have a class record for each module /subject which records what they have done; if they have made appropriate progress in the class for that session and the student also has the opportunity to record their own thoughts and feelings about the class session that day.
Every student at Furness College has an individual learning plan with appropriate targets based on their individual needs.
Parents/carers also have the opportunity to attend a parent/carer evening after receiving the progress report.
At the end of every term there is a review of the support provision and progress by the student, support staff and tutor.
You may also contact the Inclusion team (see contact numbers above) if you have any concerns or queries. We will also arrange a course meeting at any time throughout the year which will involve vocational and support staff and you and the young person and any other advocate or person who you, and the young person, may want to be present to support you in this meeting. You can contact us to discuss the young person’s future plans at any time throughout the academic year; however we will conduct more formal meetings regarding transition and progress in the Spring and Summer terms with the young person and any other persons necessary to this process, including advocates and/or parents/carers.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the college?
We do not offer any specific training or learning events for parents/carers at the moment.
The Inclusion manager, Helen Sharples, is a full member of the Professional Association of Teachers for Student with Specific Learning Needs (PATOSS). She is fully qualified to carry out assessment for dyslexia and to provide evidence according to SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC ) guidelines for students wishing to apply for Disabled Student Allowance when progressing to a Higher Level course. Helen also has a degree in English, a Masters in Inclusion and Special Educational needs and an AMBDA from the British Dyslexia Association.
She also has sixteen years’ experience of working and teaching students with specific support needs. Helen also carries out staff training on the Certificate in Education and Post Graduate Certificate in Education on matters relating to Inclusion and supporting students in the vocational areas.
Jenny Phillips has a PGCE qualification, a degree in English and is currently taking a post-graduate course on Autism and Asperger’s with Sheffield Hallam University.
The Inclusion Team currently has six Learning Mentors spread across all vocation areas and 25 learning support assistants who work closely with students with specific learning difficulties and disabilities.
All new applicants to the role of Learning Support have to have level 2 qualification in English and maths and a recognised qualification or appropriate experience in providing learning support for students and clients over the age of 16 years.
All college staff carry out an appropriate number of hours training every year. Learning support staff also receive job specific training such as: Supporting 16+ students or clients with Autistic Spectrum Condition, Safeguarding training, Disability and Equality training or more individually targeted training to help support those who may have specific medical needs or learning differences. If we feel that we do not have the expertise required to support an individual with a specific need we will contact other agencies such as SAFA, CAHMMS and the National Autistic Society for advice and guidance. We may also employ staff from other agencies within the college such as occupational therapists, visual impairment specialists and/or nursing practitioners.
NB: All college staff carry out continuous professional development throughout their employment at the college according to their personal needs and the needs of the department and college. It would not be relevant to include all staff training for all members of college staff here owing to restrictions on space and confidentiality issues.
How accessible is the college environment?
The building is fully accessible for wheelchair users and has a fireproof lift to help with emergency evacuations. The college also uses EVAC-chairs in the event of a lift being out of action owing to a fire or other incident.
The college has access to portable loop systems which can be placed around the college depending on where the individual will be taught.
The new design of the college results in having large quiet areas for those who may feel anxious or stressed by a lot of noise or activities.
The college has access to full personal care facilities such as an electronic hoist and accessible toilets and changing facilities.
We have links with the multi-cultural organisation in Barrow-in-Furness via our ESOL tutor, Jan Parkin, and they help us to supply interpreters. If necessary we would use outside agency staff to provide this facility on an individual need basis.
How will the college prepare and support my young person to join the college or to transfer to a new college or the next stage of education and life?
Initially we would talk to the young person and any other relevant people involved with the young person who he/she wishes to be present. After consultation with the young person and others we would create a transition plan, about the best way forward for him/her. For example, it may be useful for the young person to visit the college regularly, as a ‘visitor’ and use some of our facilities like the cafe or hair and beauty salon or gym. They may wish to be accompanied by an appropriate adult at this time or we can supply an Inclusion member of staff to accompany her/him.
We can also arrange specific taster sessions to help the young person become familiar with the environment and to meet the staff who they will work with when they start their course.
How are the college’s resources allocated and matched to young people’s special educational needs?
The budget of the college for special educational needs is allocated on a needs basis. We are also able to request more funding from the local authority if we are notified that it may be required or the programme of study we are arranging for the young person requires additional support funding.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my young person will receive?
The decision-making process will be a joint decision based on individual need and course of study. It will involve all agencies, individuals who have a relevant involvement with the individual young person and most importantly the young person.
Funding is delivered via the local authority so they have the final decision on allocation of funds based on an individual’s needs and the plans for their educational needs, health needs and social needs according to the ECH or other information on the individual support needs of the young person.
The Inclusion Department produces an annual impact report which measures the impact of providing learning support across the college. This is presented to the Governors who will then decide what action, if any may be required to improve the department.
On an individual level the learning targets produced for each individual are reviewed continuously and three times formally throughout the academic year.
Every student at Furness College has an individual learning plan with appropriate targets based on their individual needs. Two progress reports will be sent to the home address of the young person over the academic year. Parents/carers also have the opportunity to attend a parent/carer evening in February.
Those students with LDD also have an Education Action Plan (EAP) which gives further details about their specific learning difficulties and needs. Those students who are supported by a learning support assistant have a class record (Individual Learning Plan or ILP) for each module/subject/lesson which records: what they have done; if they have made appropriate progress in the class for that session and if any targets have been addressed or achieved. The student also has the opportunity to record their own thoughts and feelings about the class session that day on the ILP.
At the end of every term there is a review of the support and progress by the student, support staff and tutor.
The final review indicates progress made and possible further targets for next year. In the case of a young person leaving to move to another provider, permission would be requested from the student prior to exchanging this information with another provider.
The learning mentor will also discuss continuing learning support needs with the young person and other vocational staff and personal tutors will also contribute to the final review.
Other relevant people may also request being present at this final review, subject to the agreement of the young person.