This week in 1932 Derwen College had a royal visit when Prince George came to lay the Foundation Stone in the ‘Settlement Village’ here at college. The dream of delivering a more independent lifestyle to our students had really taken off, just five years after we were founded. Here we are 86 years later with a college that looks and runs quite differently but with the very same ethos of providing work-ready and independence skills. The national picture of SEND provision has also changed greatly over this time including the introduction of legislation such as the Children And Families Act – to which we need to be constantly responsive. As a national residential specialist college our students come from across the whole of the UK but we know this is a changing pattern as millions of pounds are being given to Local Authorities to develop local SEND provision.
What does this mean for Derwen?
Although demand for residential places at Derwen remain high, parents are finding it harder than ever to gain funding to send their young people here as Local Authorities are placing students within home areas where provision has been developed. We are responding to this changing picture by creating a college that continues to provide outstanding provision to a potentially smaller pool of students. We will be building on our reputation for excellence in Hospitality and Customer Service and also developing our Foundation Studies curriculum for our more complex learners. We will be continuing to deliver meaningful outcomes for students, each with their own individual needs and priorities.
Partnerships with national chains will develop further as we recognise the opportunities they present for all involved. This includes off site working in other areas of the country continuing to deliver our outstanding learning in a different way.
Our guarantee to parents
We are well placed to understand and respond to the national picture. Ruth our CEO currently chairs Natspec (National Association of Specialist Colleges) and we have an active Board of Governors lobbying Government to ensure our voice is heard and to influence SEND provision in the future.
Be part of our story ..
Future development plans at college include:
- New Therapy and Fitness and Centre to include a stand-alone hydro pool. We are currently fundraising £60,000 towards this exciting new facility – www.supportderwen.org.uk
- Respite and short break provision
- Vocational opportunities away from Derwen
- Increased day provision at our outstanding satellites – find out more about our satellites at https://www.derwen.ac.uk/learning/satellite-sites/
Children and Families Act – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/contents/enacted
Meryl – College Principal
Ruth – Chief Executive and Strategic Advisor