College's new academy will benefit groups of teenagers

Northumberland College has opened a Foundation Academy to provide five-day-a-week courses for groups of teenagers with special education needs or disabilities.

Saturday, 17th December 2016, 2:55 pm
Northumberland College Foundation Academy students and tutors working outdoors in Kirkley Halls walled garden. Picture by Trevor Walker.

It has invested in a specially-built classroom and employed a dedicated team leader for the new Inspire programme at its Kirkley Hall campus.

The courses have been introduced in response to requests by the parents of some of these 16-to-18-year-old school leavers to help them make the best transition from school to the world of work.

During its first year, which is still open for enrolment, the Inspire entry level and level one courses will concentrate on horticulture in Kirkley Hall’s gardens and animal care at the centre’s zoo.

Although the college has always offered entry level and level one courses, this is the first time they have been available over five days a week.

Barry Fenn, Northumberland College’s head of learning support, said: “The Inspire courses are designed for students with special educational needs or disabilities who are unsure what they want to do as part of the transition to adulthood.

“We took on board what parents said about being reluctant to send students to further education colleges because the courses were only run over three days.”

More courses will be added to the curriculum in 2017/18. For more information, visit