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Scotland’s first college for school leavers with complex needs set to open

A college for students with complex needs will open next month (Capability Scotland/PA)
A college for students with complex needs will open next month (Capability Scotland/PA)

Scotland’s first dedicated college for school leavers with complex needs will open its doors in September after securing vital funding from the Scottish Government.

The charity, Capability Scotland, said the creation of Corseford College will be “transformational” for the lives of 15 young people who will be its first intake of students.

The college will offer bespoke learning for each of the 18-25-year-olds and the campus will also offer sensory suites, a specialist pool, rebound therapy using full-sized trampolines and outdoor learning spaces.

Capability Scotland has invested £250,000 into the project and the Scottish Government has now pledged a further £316,000 for the first year of delivery.

Corseford School
The college will open in the Corseford School campus in Renfrewshire (Capability Scotland/PA)

Brian Logan, chief executive of Capability Scotland, said: “We have been working for some time on the development of this landmark college, but the strong support of the Scottish Government is a huge boost.

“We can now have a real sense of confidence about the future of this project and our hopes that it will continue to enhance the lives of young people with complex additional support needs for many years to come.

“Being able to offer those young people the chance to continue their education after they leave school is not just amazing for them, it is also incredibly important to their families and loved ones. We have had an outpouring of positivity from families at the news.”

The college will open in a newly refurbished wing of Capability Scotland’s existing Corseford School Campus, near Johnstone in Renfrewshire.

Courses will focus on helping learners to master literacy, numeracy and tech skills, as well as communication and interpersonal skills and health and wellbeing.

The curriculum will deliver creative experiences, physical development and independence skills including shopping and cooking.

Mr Logan said: “Our students will enjoy a rich and tailored college experience underpinned by the work of a dedicated care and support team.

“Crucially, our students will each develop skills to interact with the wider world. Helping them to make themselves heard and understood can empower them to live more independently.”

A large number of specialist colleges operate in England and Wales, including 46 with a similar model to Corseford College.

However Capability Scotland said that the lack of provision in Scotland has seen 51 young Scots with complex needs moving to England for specialist further education in the past five years.

Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, said: “Corseford College will help transform the way many young people with complex needs access education.

“I was delighted to work alongside partners at the Scottish Funding Council, West College Scotland and Capability Scotland for the funding of the pilot college model, which has made this specialist institution possible.

“I wish all of the students of Corseford College every success as they start in September, and I look forward to hearing more about their learner journeys.”