Carmarthenshire-based Coleg Elidyr won the plaudits of the judges for running a “diverse curriculum that delivers exceptional outcomes”. It caters for young adults with Down’s syndrome, autism and a range of other learning difficulties and disabilities. As the college puts it, it is “committed to the principle that all learners, regardless of ability, have a right to the highest quality of education and training”.
At the heart of its provision is a constant process of self-evaluation in terms of how the college prepares students for their lives after they leave. It holds annual consultations with learners, families, staff, stakeholders and employers to ensure that its quality-improvement planning is robust and sustained. Students’ individual learning programmes are focused on the key areas of citizenship, household skills, self-advocacy, essential skills, digital literacy and independent learning skills.
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Coleg Elidyr displays a strong belief in the therapeutic benefits of craft-related activities in helping learners to manage their anxieties and self-regulate. Accordingly, students have the opportunity to try out everything from carpentry to candle making. On-site meaningful work experience opportunities for learners include the college shop, a bed and breakfast and a smallholding. Varied work placements at the likes of the National Botanic Garden for Wales, the Co-op supermarket and Debenhams are also facilitated to give students hands-on experience of the workplace.
The college employs robust processes to measure, monitor, validate and quality-assure learning and life-skills development.
As the judges put it: “The college caters exceptionally well for complex young people, has innovative, creative tutors and not only educates the students but the rest of society.”