The Learning Centre is a exciting and unique new provision within the Uplands Educational Trust for young people aged 19 to 25 years in Swindon.
Based in a new facility in Stratton Road, Swindon, it will specialise in helping young adults who have special needs by teaching learning for life skills so that they can help themselves.
After finishing school, many young adults with special needs are unable to attend mainstream colleges and are faced with two options. Either cease their education and stay at home with their family or travel significant distances to specialist provisions leaving behind friends.
Some local young adults currently travel over 300 miles from their homes in Swindon to take up residential placements because they are in such short supply.
The Learning Centre is able to offer such students further education within their home town meaning their support structure of families and friends are able to stay together.
Parents and staff launching The Learning Centre concept at Uplands Special School in June 2012. Jackie Smith and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, centre, with parents, back from left, Ros Warrington, Del Fry, deputy head Andy Segal, assistant head Lorna Breslin. Front, Trish and Trevor Evans, Phil Standing
This exciting initiative is part of the overall vision held by inspirational Executive Headteacher Jackie Smith whose overarching concern is the cliff edge the young special needs adults face after they finish full time education and she has a burning passion to bridge this gap.
She said: “We listened to the frustrations of parents and carers of young special needs adults that live within Swindon and the surrounding areas and knew that opening a 19 to 25 Learning Centre was something the Uplands Educational Trust had to do. Against all the odds and with painting and cleaning still taking place the night before, the Learning Centre opened its doors to the first students this week.
“I cannot stress enough how important the Learning Centre is in Swindon, we can’t fail these families and if, as a community, we don’t support these families the impact can be catastrophic"
Operational Headteacher Mr Andy Segal who will be responsible for the day to day running of the Learning Centre said: “I am exceptionally proud to be part of this project and to finally be opening the doors to the new learners feels like a great achievement. This is just the start of an on-going project for us and we intend to focus on helping the young adults develop life, work and social skills in preparation for their journey towards independence”.
Uplands Educational Trust would like to thanks many organisations and individuals who have wholeheartedly supported the project, especially Beard Construction, Nationwide for their help in decorating the classrooms, Eddie & Jayne O’Sullivan of Swindon Asbestos Surveying Company for removing the asbestos quickly and with no cost, Wickes for the kitchen, e-Rotary Club, ASDA Orbital for their continued support, Creative Solutions for the external signage, Zurich for their large donation of furniture, The Rotary Club, The Saudi Arabia Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes for a large donation, Broom Manor Golf course who ran a fundraising evening and all the Trustees, Governors, parents / carers, staff and friends of the Uplands Community who have made this possible.
South Swindon MP Roger Buckland, who has been supportive of this project from the initial concept, will officially launch the project on Monday 9 September.
If you are a parent or carer of a young special needs person and you are interested in attending the Learning Centre, please contact Lin Mitchell, Transitions Manager on 01793 493910.