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We are delighted to have received Autism Accreditation which demonstrates Derwen’s commitment to supporting autistic students.

Almost half of our students are autistic. So to meet the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) high benchmark for accreditation is hugely significant.

National Autistic Society's Autism Specialist Award logoThe NAS team visited us, meeting with students and staff, and speaking to parents. They visited areas of accommodation, learning, work and social spaces, to ensure that we meet the required standards of excellence.

They evaluated how the students were being supported in their communication and sensory needs, as well as their mental health, social skills, independence building and learning for future and employment.

Learning opportunities on site

The report highlights students’ access to experiential learning opportunities onsite in the college’s Marketplace which includes Garden Centre and Gift Shop, Hotel 751, The Orangery Restaurant, The Vintage Advantage Charity Shop and Walled Garden Café.

Adaptations have been made across the campus to ensure that areas are structured in a way that makes students feel relaxed. Adaptations to accommodation include personalised furniture, decor and lighting. Students also have access to two dedicated sensory rooms, and calm spaces within their workspaces.

Head of Quality, Dawn Roberts, said that the award was wonderful news for the College. She said:

“This accreditation demonstrates the work that has been done across College to ensure that we are doing all we can to support our autistic students.

“The project has been college-wide, combining expertise from the therapies team, nurses, teaching, sports & leisure, and care staff, as well as listening to the needs of the real experts – our students.”

The College was particularly happy with survey feedback from autistic students. More than 30 autistic students were surveyed ahead of the assessment team visit, who all unanimously said they were happy at College. Some strengths highlighted by students included the chance to meet with friends, the work experience opportunities and the support from staff. One student simply said: “I love it here!”.

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