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GC shortlisted for TES FE Award for Support for Learners

12 February 2016
Image representing GC shortlisted for TES FE Award for Support for Learners

Gloucestershire College is thrilled to have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2016 TES FE Award for Support for Learners, for transforming the transition of young people with autism from school to college by improving its provision, campuses and expertise with individualised needs.

In 2015 the College successfully completed the two-year Finished at School Programme, run by national charity Ambitious about Autism and funded by the Department for Education, which saw it support local young people with autism to access further education after school.

Engaging with other local specialists and schools, including The Milestone School, Alderman Knight School and The Dean Academy, the College identified 40 young people with autism in Gloucestershire who could potentially make a successful transition from school to college, and with the College’s support 100% were successful; 58% going to study at Gloucestershire College to complete their courses.

Led by the College’s Learning Support Team, the project incorporated a range of elements and activities, including group and individual taster sessions; establishing quiet rooms and study pods at each campus, sensory rooms at two and a social space with a kitchenette at one; training all in-class Learning Support Assistants in post-16 autism awareness; recruiting three new, dedicated roles; recruiting students to campaign for World Autism Awareness Day; hosting coffee mornings at local schools; and successfully launching the Finished at School Guide to Gloucestershire schools with the then Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP.

Joe Baldwin, Head of Learning Support, said: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of the team has been recognised and that we have been shortlisted for the national TES FE Awards.

This serves as an acknowledgement of our commitment to improving the experience and outcomes for learners by delivering outstanding support which is responsive to individual needs.

Image representing GC shortlisted for TES FE Award for Support for Learners
Joe Baldwin, Head of Learning Support


Image representing GC shortlisted for TES FE Award for Support for Learners
Mark Harper MP

“The Finished at School project enabled us to work with young people with autism, their parents and partner schools across the county, and collaborate with other services, to enable us to better understand how we could improve transition from school to college for young people with autism. The project has enabled us to develop tools and strategies to improve our support for young people with autism and make key changes to our environment to enable students with social and communication difficulties to access college life.” 

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive for Ambitious about Autism,

said: “Huge congratulations to Gloucestershire College on being shortlisted for a TES FE Award. Our Finished at School programme and training is all about helping more young people with autism to have a successful transition from school to college. We know that with the right support and opportunities young people with autism can learn, thrive and achieve and this programme brings together professionals from FE colleges, schools and local authorities to do this.”  

The College’s reputation for providing outstanding support for young people with autism makes it a particularly popular choice with parents and local schools, which is reflected in increased recruitment of students with autism and social, communication and interaction difficulties each year since launching the Finished at School Programme. 

Members of the GC Learning Support Team will be attending the awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Friday 22 April, and are confident they will return with the coveted award in tow. 

For more information visit or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020.

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