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Students with the new Nurture team.

Derwen is delighted to have opened a purpose-designed Nurture Centre. This offers specialist equipment and facilities for students on our newly launched Nurture Programme. We have three new students who have joined us this term. And, we’re looking forward to welcoming more as the project reaches its next stage.

The new Nurture Centre has meant we have been able to widen our potential cohort to offer a bespoke programme for students with more complex needs and disabilities. Phase 1 of the project has focused on creating a fully accessible teaching space, the installation of a state-of-the-art sensory room, and access to eye-gaze technology. 

The teaching space offers an accessible kitchen area where students can develop their home-living skills.  Teaching spaces are fitted with full-access hoisting, meaning that students’ therapies can be embedded into learning activities. Students with communication difficulties have access to eye-gaze technology. This allows them to communicate needs using their eye movements. While the sensory room offers a fully immersive experience, containing a range of specialist sensory equipment that students can control themselves. 

Derwen College hydrotherapy pool
Students on the Nurture programme can benefit from using our hydrotherapy pool.

Our first three students on the Nurture Programme are on a bespoke learning course aimed at increasing their independence, communication social skills and wellbeing. Students’ progress is supported by the in-house Physiotherapy, Speech and Language, and Occupational Therapy team, and access to Derwen’s on-site hydrotherapy pool. 

A specialist staff team has been brought together with expertise in profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD). These include Learning Support Practitioners Fiona Plater, Phil Evans and Sam Talbot, PMLD teacher Charlotte Tompkins.  

Nurture Centre – future focus

The programme is overseen by PMLD Lead Bev Simmonds. Bev has over a decade’s experience in teaching adults with PMLD in Shropshire. She also has a Masters degree in SPMLD education from Birmingham University. Bev is excited about building a specific provision focused on the needs of PMLD students. 

The Nurture Centre is now looking to grow and progress further. Phase 2 of development focuses on creating more teaching spaces and accessible outdoor learning areas. This offers the possibility of provision for up to eight students. 

Derwen College Principal Meryl Green said she was very pleased to see students benefiting from the new Nurture programme. 
 
She said: “It is great to have welcomed the first of our Nurture programme students to Derwen. We are proud to be able to provide specialist provision and a dedicated team who are able to support our students with more complex needs. This new initiative meets local need. It also demonstrates the ongoing evolution of our provision at Derwen. We look forward to seeing the programme grow to support more students in the coming years.”


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