Supporting Independent Living

Weston College has a number of successful courses to help our students transition into independent living, Higher Education and employment.

Our programmes focus on:

  • A range of vocational options
  • Personal and social development
  • Employability skills
  • Work experience
  • Independent living.

What makes our provision unique?

Specialist facilities

Our students have access to a wide range of excellent, high-quality vocational experiences, specialist resources and accommodation across all Weston College campuses. This provides them with the opportunity to learn in appropriate contexts. This includes our hairdressing and beauty salons, the Grove Training Kitchen and Restaurant, Badgworth Equestrian Arena, our sports facilities, and our construction and building services department.

Students on the autism spectrum have access to the activities at Weston Bay, our specialist residential centre for students on the autism spectrum.


Courses are further enhanced throughout the year with opportunities for students to participate in additional sporting events, overnight and week-long residential stays, educational visits, lunch-time activities and the end of-year celebration events.

Enterprise and employability

Getting involved in enterprise and community projects is a key element of any programme for our students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). This helps students to develop their team building, leadership and other social skills to prepare them for future employment.


The re-engagement programme is an opportunity for students to participate in a non-classroom setting, on a one-to-one or small group basis. Being a teenager and faced with taking responsibility for your own life is difficult, without the added challenges of conflicts, peer pressures, failures, insecurities, expectations, self-doubts and self-limiting beliefs. An allotment garden is used as a means of engaging with these youngsters. The peaceful nature and ethos of the garden creates a ‘time out’ area, offering students a peaceful and calm environment.

Specialist staff work with young people who do not suit mainstream education, need smaller groups to work in, or who benefit in learning in a non-classroom setting. This provision has developed significantly and achieves phenomenal success.

Supported internships

These provide structured programme for 16 to 24 year olds with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) or an Education Health and Care Plan (EH&CP), who want to progress into employment and need extra support to do so. The key aim is to, wherever possible, support young people to move into paid employment. In addition to this, the programme aims to equip interns with the skills they need for work through learning in the workplace. Where interns do not transition into paid work, staff ensure relevant agencies are able to continue helping them with job searching and employment support. The programme will usually run for one year, however this is flexible depending on the intern’s individual needs. 


Aspirations is a course specifically developed for students aged 19-24 years old on the Autism Spectrum.

Students on our Aspirations course attend sessions at Weston Bay, our specialist residential training centre. Many of the students on the course already have excellent academic or vocational qualifications but have found accessing employment or independent living very difficult.

Students often need extra support to help them further develop their social skills, confidence and decision making skills.

In addition, this support helps students determine their career/further education path.

Weston Bay

Find out more about our specialist seafront residential facility which supports students who are on the autism spectrum.

Find out more


Comments from a learner:

"Going to Weston Bay has helped me to understand the challenges of independent living and how to overcome them, whilst also showing me how to access the community..."

Comments from Ofsted, 2013:

"The support provided in the college's specialist centre for learners with autism spectum disorder is outstanding. The support of specialist staff, coupled with residential facilities in an attractive building, prepares learners extremely well for independent living."

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