The Local Offer

Our local offer tells you all you need to know about how we meet young peoples' special educational needs and disabilities.

How does the college know if I need extra help and what should I do as a parent if I think my child may have special educational needs?

Itchen Sixth Form College aims to identify all students with special educational needs and disabilities prior to starting college. If students have told us they have a need or disability on the application form they will be interviewed by the college's Learning Support Manager or another specialist interviewer. We ask school SENCOs for information about young people with special educational needs and how they have been supported. The Support4Learning Manager attends Year 11 annual reviews, and liaises with parents/carers, local authorities and other external agencies to gather relevant information.

At enrolment, all new students are screened to identify those who may need additional support or further assessment of possible needs. If a student has an EHCP or support plan, they will be enrolled by the Support4Learning Manager, to ensure the programme is appropriate for them.  If students have a specific learning difficulty, have had support at school and/or have had exam arrangements, they will meet one of the college's learning support teachers at enrolment, who will explain how they can access support at college.

Itchen Sixth Form College welcomes students with disabilities and special educational needs. We are a centre of excellence for visual impairment. We pride ourselves in providing students with a high standard of personalised support, to enable them to succeed.

If you think that your young person may have a special educational need or disability, please contact the Support4Learning Manager directly, come into college to see the facilities, and discuss their needs at an early stage.

How will the college staff support my child?

The Support4Learning Manager is responsible for the identification, assessment, monitoring and review of all students with special educational needs and disabilities.  Her role is to ensure that the best possible support is provided to each student, to meet their particular needs.

The centre provides additional study support to any student on any course. The support is personalised and closely linked to the student's courses.  It can include support to develop reading, writing, spelling and numeracy skills, as well as organisational skills and time management.  The support is very flexible. It might just be needed for one assignment, or it may be that a student needs a weekly lesson for all the time they are at college.

Study support teachers work with students on an individual basis to develop their study skills. Learning Support Assistants work alongside students in the classroom, where they need help to access the curriculum, or help to understand tasks and maintain concentration.

Young people with moderate learning difficulties, as well as those with sensory impairments, physical disabilities and other identified needs such as ASD, are likely to have support in the classroom. Students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyspraxia are likely to have support out of the classroom.

The centre is easy to access. Student can refer themselves for support, as well as teachers and tutors, by dropping in to the centre, or by using a dedicated email address.  Students are also contacted after screening at enrolment, for further assessment.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's needs?

When students enrol, advice and guidance is given about courses, taking into account any additional needs, to ensure the curriculum is appropriate for them.  The college aims to provide an individualized programme for all learners, with each element of the programme at the correct level, to ensure success. This is especially true at Entry Level and Level 1, where learners often have an uneven pattern of strengths and weaknesses.

For students with an EHCP, this process will be overseen by the Support4Learning Manager. Some students may require a reduced timetable because of a medical need or significant sensory impairment, where additional time for study is needed. Students who have additional support out of the classroom will have these lessons added to their timetable.

If a student has an EHCP or support plan, the Learning Support team uses all the information they have gathered prior to enrolment to produce an individual profile.  This describes what the student's learning and support needs are in detail. All the student's subject teachers will be given this profile, so they will know how best to work with them to enable them to succeed.

Where students have told us that they  have a specific need or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, this information is put on our student information system, Itchen Records and Information System (IRIS), so that all teachers are informed, and can make the necessary adjustments in the classroom, as well as take into account special exam/coursework arrangements, such as 25% extra time.

How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child's learning?

Subject teachers will meet with individual students and set personal targets for them, which are then reviewed, as part of the college's termly review cycle. The process is student-centred and all students are encouraged to be fully involved, and will be supported to do this, where appropriate.  These reviews are emailed or posted to parents and carers, just prior to parent/carer consultation evenings. At the consultation evening you and your young person can meet with their teachers, tutor and support teacher, to discuss how well he or she is doing and identify what you can do to support them. However, you can ring or email a teacher or tutor, or Support4Learning staff at any time, if you have concerns, or queries.

Where appropriate, additional review meetings will be organised by the Support4Learning Manager, with you and with any relevant external agencies.  We encourage students to come along with their parents and carers, and to take a full and active part in the discussions about their progress and in setting targets.

Students on the Foundation Learning programme at Itchen will be given a home/college book, which you can use to send messages and ask questions, and we will use to let you know how your young person is getting on, as well as any important messages about college.

What support will there be for my child's wellbeing?

All students with special educational needs and disabilities can access the full range of pastoral support which is provided at Itchen.  This includes counsellors, and personal mentors. Support4Learning provides specialist mentoring for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

We take the safety of all our young people very seriously. The college site is open access with a number of entrances/exits, but we have campus wardens, as well as cctv cameras , to ensure the campus is a safe environment for all young people. However, some students with particular needs can access a quiet space at break and lunchtimes, which is near Support4Learning, with staff on hand if needed.  Support4Learning staff can assist students at break and lunchtimes if they need help to access the college shop or canteen.

If a student needs to have medication during the day, or needs health care support whilst at college, the arrangements for this would be carefully planned and overseen by the Support4Learning Manager, in consultation with the young person and their parent or carer. If a student needs  personal care, this would need to be discussed with the Support4Learning Manager, to check that the college was able to provide what was required.

All students' attendance is carefully monitored and students are encouraged to use Student IRIS to check their own attendance. Tutors and the Guidance and Support Manager, alongside Support4Learning staff, will work with young people to address any behavioural or attendance issues.

What specialist services and expertise are available or accessed by the college? 

Support4Learning is staffed by a team of trained and experienced teachers and support assistants. There are two BDA accredited specialist dyslexia teachers, one of whom is also trained as a BDA accredited specialist assessor.  All the staff have had additional specialist training, which has included visual and hearing impairments, specific learning difficulties, ASD and Asperger's. Two members of the LSA team are also ELSA trained.

Itchen Sixth Form College is a Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment. This means that we are trained and experienced in enabling students with little or no sight to access learning here. We have a range of specialist equipment that enables us to modify learning resources. This includes a Tiger Embosser, for braille production. The college site has been specially adapted, and is regularly audited by experts to ensure this is maintained.

Our links with external agencies are well-established, and include: Toynbee VI Centre, specialist teacher advisers for sensory impairments, Children and Young People's Services within the local authorities, transition physiotherapists and occupational therapists, the RNIB, mobility officers, Adult Services, and specialist employment advisers at City Limits and Enham.

We have close links to local Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and have a mental health nurse, plus support workers from No Limits, working on site on a regular basis, supporting students here who have mental health issues.

What training have the staff supporting young people with SEND had or are currently having?

All teachers and support staff at Itchen take part in training to update their skills and knowledge. This includes regular updates on special educational needs and disabilities, such as dyslexia. Teachers and LSAs are particularly well-trained and experienced in supporting students with visual impairments.   Two LSAs have worked in special schools for young people with ASD.

Recent training for the Support4Learning team has included mental health and anxiety, Asperger's, and supporting transition into Higher Education for students with sensory impairments.

When a young person with a particular need or serious medical condition starts college, staff will receive specific training before they work with them. Also they will receive the student's personal profile so they will know the individual student's learning and support needs in detail and how best to work with them to enable them to succeed. The young person will also be consulted about whether he or she wishes to talk to their peers about their disability, as this can help to promote social relationships.

How will my child be included in activities including college trips?

All students at Itchen are fully involved in activities and trips that are an integral part of their learning.  Detailed risk assessments are carried out for all trips out of college. If your young person has a special educational need or disability they will be consulted to determine what support they feel they need. Where appropriate, we will consult with you as their parent/carer to ensure that the support that is provided is appropriate.  An example of this might be a dedicated LSA for a student with a visual impairment, or physical disability. We aim to ensure that each student is able to take part in activities and trips, unless there are medical or other reasons why it would be unsafe for them to do so.

How accessible is the college environment?

Our main building is fully wheelchair accessible, except for the first floor of North Block. If a student in a wheelchair had a lesson that was timetabled there, the lesson would be moved to a fully accessible room.  Two of the three main entrances to the college are wheelchair accessible and have automatic opening doors. Ramps are provided, where there are steps outside.

The college has disabled toilets and a shower that is accessible. The campus has been specially adapted to meet the needs of students with visual impairments. It is regularly inspected by mobility officers who advise where adjustments need to be made to enable students with visual impairments to move about the site independently and safely.

Support4Learning has a range of specialist equipment for students with visual impairments, such as magnifiers and Braillenotes.  Where a young person needs a specific piece of equipment, this would be funded through the LEA, if he or she had an EHCP.  Alternatively, some equipment can be loaned from schools and Sensory Services.

Communication with a young person or their parents or carers whose first language isn't English is usually supported, initially, by the young person themselves acting an interpreter for the parent or carer. This helps the young person to advocate for themselves. If necessary, the college would try to find an interpreter, by liaising with Southampton City Council, and other relevant agencies.

How will the college prepare and support my child to join the college, transfer to a new college or the next stage of education and life?

There are various ways in which Itchen facilitates and supports the transition of young people from school to college. In addition to the college's taster days for all students, those with special educational needs and disabilities can, if they wish, come to the college for informal visits in Year 10 or Year 11, where they can sit in on lessons and experience an ordinary day. This can help to allay fears about class sizes, behavioural expectations and noise. Parents and carers are very welcome to come with their son or daughter, so they can see the college, and meet members of Support4Learning.

In preparation for moving on from college, in the spring term each year, we focus on progression.  All students start to consider their next step, in discussion with subject teachers and tutors. They are guided and helped to plan for this by writing a CV, making job applications and applying to other colleges and to university. They attend events in college where they can find out about careers, and they can also visit local universities and attend transition days.  If your young person needs additional support with any of these things, this will be proved by Support4Learning staff.

How are the college's resources allocated and matched to my child's special educational needs?

Students with special educational needs and disabilities, who have an EHCP or support plan, are likely to qualify for high needs support funding. The Support4Learning Manager will use all the relevant information about the individual's needs to complete a funding request form, prior to the student starting at college. This form will detail the type of support, as well as equipment, that the young person will need to access the curriculum. This form is sent to the relevant local authority, and then the college is informed what funding they will receive for the young person. The Support4Learning Manager will then allocate the necessary support to the student.

Students who are taking the Foundation Learning programme at Itchen will be taught in a smaller group, with a learning support assistant for the group.

All students can access the support provided by Support4Learning. The Support4Learning Manager receives the referrals, and interviews students to assess the need and the type of support that will be most appropriate.  The student is fully involved in the process. We aim to support all students who wish to have support, and to provide the support in the way, and at the time that is best for them.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

The Support4Learning Manager is responsible for deciding how students with additional needs are supported at Itchen Sixth Form College.  This is a person-centred process and is done in consultation primarily with the young person, but also with their parents and carers. The information that is gathered prior to enrolment at college is used to inform the process, particularly focusing on support strategies that have been successful at school.

Once a student has enrolled the Support4Learning team will put together an IAP, or Individual Action Plan, which describes the type of support, eg in the classroom, one to one, etc  and also the purpose of the support, for each student who has high needs support funding.  This IAP is reviewed regularly, within weekly team meetings.

For students who receive one to one support teaching, the support teacher will put together an ILP or Individual Learning Plan, with the student. This will identify what the overall outcome of the support programme is, and also what short term targets the student will be working towards.

The impact of the support is measured by seeking feedback from students, and subject teachers. The overall achievements of all students with special educational needs and disabilities are analysed, in relation to those students who do not have an additional need or disability. The Support4Learning Manager is responsible for reporting the findings to the college's senior management, to ensure that the best possible outcomes are achieved for these learners, and actions are agreed for improvements, where necessary.

How are young people involved in the college? How can I, as a parent, get involved?

Students at Itchen are encouraged to take an active part in their learning, and to seek additional advice and support when they need it. As part of induction to college, all students are told where they can access support in college. They can refer themselves for study support, using the "support4learning" email address, or by dropping into the Support4Learning base, which is opposite Student Services. When they start support with an Support4Learning teacher, they will be setting their own targets for what they want to learn and how they want to improve.

The college welcomes parental involvement, to support their young person in achieving their goals. For example, we will text you if your son or daughter misses a lesson, so you are able to discuss this with them promptly.  We will involve you in discussing their progress and how they can improve. Through PIPS, the Parent Information Pages Service, you can see timetable, attendance and progress details, and can email teaching staff with a question or concern.

Who can I contact for further information?

If you are considering whether Itchen Sixth Form College can meet your son or daughter's special educational needs, please contact Lianne Wright, who is the college's SENDCO.

Tel: 023 8043 5636 ext. 323  or email:

Once your son or daughter has started at college, there are a number of people who you may need to contact.  They are: the lead tutor, the tutor team manager, the Student Services Officer, Debbie Finch, and the Student Services Manager, Steve Perkins.  When your son or daughter enrols they will be told who their lead tutor and tutor team manager are, and how to contact them.  The lead tutor and subject teachers will get to know your son or daughter well and provides personal and academic support and advice. The Guidance and Support Manager provides a high level of pastoral support and has close contact with parents, carers and external agencies.

Parents and carers can access information via PIPs, the Parent Information Pages Service, where there is a link to email the teaching staff.

If you have any concerns at any stage, in relation to special educational needs or disabilities, Anne Cook is the first person to contact. She will then pass you on to the most appropriate person, where necessary.