Education Partnership North East has announced a significant investment to enhance the learning experience of Sunderland College’s most vulnerable students.
The £62,000 development will improve facilities and resources at the college’s Bede Campus to further support students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
A new accessible and technologically advanced kitchen and fully equipped adjoining living space will be installed within the Headways Building, home to the Foundation Learning (Directions) department, to provide students with the confidence and knowledge to live more independent lives.
Appliances will reflect those available in the home, with talking microwaves, app-controlled washing machines and Amazon Alexa-controlled lighting.
The kitchen will also offer students the opportunity to develop their catering skills to empower them to move into further study or employment with advice and guidance available from a specialist employability hub which will also be created.
Tom Hodgson, independent living skills lecturer, said: “I’m really looking forward to working with our students in the new kitchen and living space.
“The equipment and resources will create a truly inclusive environment to improve the student experience and their independent living skills. The fantastic resources will support learning in preparing for their next steps and destinations.
“And, hopefully, when parents and carers see what the students are achieving at college they will support them in being more independent at home.”
The investment at Sunderland College follows improvements currently underway at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall Campus which will see existing buildings transformed into a bespoke learning environment for students aged 16-24 with SEND.
The redevelopment will create a safe and positive environment to engage and stimulate students, nurture their individual talents and skills and ensure they reach their full potential, develop their independence as well as their social and life skills.
Claire Daly, Foundation Learning curriculum manager, added: “This is a huge investment and commitment to our most vulnerable learners in challenging times.
The developments will enhance our curriculum offer, not just for Directions students, but students with SEND across campus who, as part of their Education Health and Care Plan, will receive holistic and tailored support to developing employability and independent living skills, improving their student experience.”
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