First education base for young adults in Cambridgeshire with profound learning difficulties

Julie Sparrow, Lorraine Morris and Simon Bainbridge, head of Highfield school.

Julie Sparrow, Lorraine Morris and Simon Bainbridge, head of Highfield school. - Credit: Archant

Young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 with profound learning difficulties are to join the county’s first specialist educational base that is opening in Littleport in September.

The Active Learning Trust will open its doors for the first 10 young adults at Highfield Littleport Academy.

Students will be able to gain nationally recognised qualifications and develop key life and independent living skills.

By next year the academy hopes to increase pupil numbers to 16.

Provision will include an on-site hydrotherapy pool, changing rooms and an adapted kitchen and flat for lifelong learning activities.

Executive head Simon Bainbridge: “We have worked very hard over the past two years, in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, to secure a learning environment that is suitable for young adults with specialist educational needs (SEN).”

He said it would enable them to continue their studies as they come to the end of their secondary education and enter the next stage of their life.

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The provision will be tailored for each adult, depending on the type of learning and length of support that they need.

Mr Bainbridge said: “The Active Learning Trust and key people at Highfield Ely started to pursue this project after becoming aware of a gap in suitable provisions for young adults with SEN.

“From our research, we recognised the local area needed a provision for young adults that will further their educational needs whilst continuing to develop key life skills for independent living.”

The site will be at Highfield Littleport Academy from September 2018 and move to Highfield Ely Academy in 2020 as part of a new local authority funded build.

Gary Peile, chief executive of the Active Learning Trust, said: “We are really looking forward to launching Cambridgeshire’s first 19-25 SEN educational provision.

“The Active Learning Trust team has worked very hard to secure this opportunity, ensuring that we continue to deliver high quality education for the local communities.”

The service will operate during regular school hours, five days a week.

Simon Bywater, chairman of the children and young people committee of the county council, said: “It is the first of its kind.

“As a demonstration of its commitment, the council is meeting the cost of the building work necessary to provide the right teaching and learning environment for young adults with severe learning disabilities.”