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Central Bedfordshire College

Our Vision

Central Bedfordshire College transforms and enriches lives through learning and enterprise into employability

Our Mission

We will provide excellent learning and progression for our communities in Bedfordshire and beyond.  We will be innovative, enterprising and inclusive in what we do and how we do it.  We will value and support our learners, our colleagues, and our partnerships.

The College’s education offer extends from pre-Entry level to Higher Education for young people and adults, across a range of academic and vocational areas.  

Who to contact


Where to go


Other Details


Age Ranges

Local Offer


A range of support is available for those with an identified Learning Difficulty and/or Disability, and is arranged according to individual need.  Services provided include:

  • 1:1 or small group support outside of the main class, where learners are able to develop study skills, English and/or maths, to support them achieve their goals.
  • TA (Teaching Assistant) support within both structured and unstructured times as appropriate.
  • PCA (Personal Care Assistant) support for physical and personal care needs if required.
  • Specialist exam arrangements.
  • Specialist discrete provision (Pathways - see below)

Within the ALS (Additional Learning Support) and Pathways teams, there is a considerable body of specialist knowledge and experience in (for example) Dyslexia, Autistic Spectrum Conditions, Sensory Impairments, Communication Difficulties, and Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties.  Staff update their skills and knowledge regularly.  This expertise is used to support and mentor colleagues across the college who have learners with SEND in their classes.

Young people with an EHC (Education, Health & Care) plan, a Statement of SEN or another form of Learning Difficulties Assessment are identified as early as possible, through interview, liaison with local authority transition teams and school SENCOs, and parent/carer referral.  The ALS Co-ordinator for those across college and Transition Co-ordinator for those in Pathways will assess the level and type of support needed, and this will be put in place.  For some, this may mean an application to the local authority for High Needs Funding (where support is likely to cost more than £6000 per year).  This funding needs to be agreed by a panel, in the same way as funding linked to a Statement of SEN has been.

Some learners across college may need an individualised programme of study – for example working towards their main vocational option alongside their peers, but with individualised scope outside of that, for example to develop social and communication or independent living skills.

For those learners not yet ready to fully access a programme across college, either because they don’t yet meet the entry requirements, or have had barriers to their learning for a variety of reasons, our Way Into provision at Entry Level 3 and Level 1 enables them to work in a more sheltered environment for most of their week, with time spent in vocational areas working on the skills needed to progress fully into those areas in the future.

Taster days can be arranged for individuals throughout the college, to enable them to make informed choices about their college aspirations.

Ofsted in their October 2018 inspection judged the college to be “Good” saying “Support for students, especially the more vulnerable, is excellent”.  They also said, “Students with additional learning needs benefit from extra support which enables them to achieve their qualifications at a rate in line with their peers”.  This enables students to progress on a par with their peers.


Contact Name
Sharon Richards, Pathways Transition Co-ordinator/Nikki Southgate SENDCo
Contact Telephone
01582 477776
Contact Email
Local Offer Age Bands

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

Young people accessing mainstream college courses are assessed against the criteria of their chosen course, not their disability.

Within our supported programme for young people with an identified learning difficulty and/or disability we have full time Pathways courses from Entry Level 1 to Level 1, for young people aged 16 to 25.  We also have a part time offer for young people and adults aged 19+.

Young people are assessed for Pathways programmes prior to the college accepting them to ensure that their individual needs and aspirations can be met. The college works closely with the Local Authorities, schools, parents/carers and young people to ensure we have the information we need to make a judgement.

People with SEND are able to apply for any course online, in the same way as everyone – via the college’s website   For those requiring High Needs supporting funding, referrals are usually received via the local authorities’ SEN personal advisers (in Central Bedfordshire, the Youth Support Service).  Taster days can be arranged for potential students on application.  Personal budgets are accepted for college services.  There are no waiting lists.

Those students requiring High Needs funding and referred by the SEN personal advisers will have an assessment by the college to ensure we are able to meet their individual needs towards their aspirations, and funding will need to be agreed by the local authority panel. 

Those applying direct online will be invited for interview and assessment, and will receive an offer where appropriate.  Decisions are based around previous learning and future needs and aspirations.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to visit the college and find out more about what is available: or  Telephone 01582 477776


What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

Staff are available who are able to use BSL (British Sign Language) with Deaf learners – this needs to be notified to us in advance, except for very basic needs.

Makaton signing is used in Pathways classes where appropriate, and the vast majority of Pathways staff are trained in it.

The college seek students and stakeholder views in a variety of way to improve its service which include surveys, Student Council, student and staff governors.

All students will be involved in a “Learner Voice” discussion with their group at regular intervals over the academic year, giving their views on the college and its services.  Appropriate materials will be used to differentiate these discussions for differing group needs.  Each group selects a representative, and all of the representatives meet together with the Learning Area Manager for the particular area of the college.  From this group, representatives for Student Council are identified.  In addition, students complete “Students’ Perception Of Course” (SPOC) questionnaires throughout the year.  This data is analysed and actions taken as a result.

Close links are maintained with parents and guardians/carers where this is appropriate, such as via home/college books, email and telephone contact, parents/carers’ evenings and review meetings. 

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

All teaching staff employed at the college have a commitment to undertake the post 16 PGCE qualification or equivalent.

Staff working in a Learning Support role come from a mix of education and care settings, and have a very wide range of skills, experience and training.

The college has two identified Staff Development days each year, to focus on Teaching and Learning, and related issues.  In addition, sessions are arranged according to identified needs.  For example, a guest speaker with Asperger’s attended recently to give a talk on living with the condition, to around 50 staff across the college. 

All staff working within Pathways have experience of working with young people with an identified learning difficulty and/or disability, and are also committed to continuing professional development,  and supporting new staff to enter into the profession.

Staff also attend conferences and training courses on relevant topics, including PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children), and information is cascaded to others in the team.

How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?

The Dunstable Campus is on the busway from Luton and all campuses are on local bus routes.  There is parking at all sites, with disabled bays clearly marked.  Signage around all of the campuses is clear, and around buildings, care is taken to show contrasting colours for changes, eg on stairs, moving from uncarpeted to carpeted areas, and so on.  All campuses are fully wheelchair accessible.  We have accessible toilets available, with disabled changing facilities (ie hoist, changing bench).  Staff are available during term times to support learners to access services where assistance may be required – during holiday periods, advance notice is helpful.

On the Pathways provision, support is available on arrival, over breaks and lunch times, and to await transport when leaving college for all students.  This support can be made available to other students around the college with SEND by arrangement, if required.

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?


Pathways discrete provision for those with SEND runs across the range of Entry Level 1 up to and including Level 1.  Learners have a wide range of abilities, talents, learning needs and conditions.

Currently we have school links with 5 local special schools, with learners usually spending a day or half day a week for at least half a term at the college, working in a vocational environment, such as our Coffee Shop.  We also encourage schools to bring groups in to visit the college and experience the environment.  Our Transition Co-ordinator will meet individuals and their parents/carers to look around too.  Taster/transition days can be arranged where needed.

Induction for Pathways begins in late June, with 2 days at college, enabling learners to get to know the college and staff, and to make their vocational choices.  This ensures their timetables are prepared well in advance of September, to allow for the local authority to make transport provision where appropriate, and for all support resources to be put in place. 

Full time learners on Pathways will work in their tutor groups towards independent living, social, communication and community skills.  In addition, we have a range of real working environments for them to develop employability skills – for example our Coffee Shop, College Shop and the Flat. We have an internet café a medical room and an outside garden for horticulture. Pathways course include Animal Care, Child Care, HSC, IT, Supported Internship, Personal Progress, Independent Living, maths and English and Personal, Social Development

All classes have a tutor and a Teaching Assistant, and additional staff are deployed with the group as indicated by individual needs. Groups are small – average size 8.

We are lucky that our Dunstable Campus is situated in the town centre, so we have easy access to all of the local facilities for learners to practise and develop their abilities in shopping, accessing local leisure facilities, accessing local cafes and restaurants, recognising and finding their way around the local area, using public transport, and so on.

Learner progress within Pathways, both laterally and from one level to the next, and also progress to other courses within the college and to supported and paid employment. 

Last updated 21/08/2023