Preparing for Adulthood

Preparing for Adulthood

Fir Tree College is an Independent Specialist College that is based in the Wigan Borough, just 5 miles from the town centre and easily accessible for students across Greater Manchester (GM) and Lancashire. The college is a niche setting for young people with SEND, primarily those with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH), learning disabilities and students with ASD.

The college provides students with a unique environment to learn, with the facility set in 8 acres of rural private land encompassing woodlands and lakes and offering several log-cabin style classrooms and a polytunnel area for vocational learning opportunities. Several external work experience hubs have also been developed including a fishery, allotments and a working coffee shop to allow learners to access supported work experience opportunities beyond the main college site.

Preparing for Adulthood

Our ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ provision offers a personalised curriculum for each learner that is developed around their individual education, health and care needs. This translates into a core curriculum that provides learning around English, maths, health, wellbeing, citizenship and employability that is enhanced by a wider curriculum of personalised vocational modules, enrichment opportunities and work experience. To support this, our college pastoral team, including an Occupational Therapist and Counsellor work with learners to support wider health and care needs, with our careers team providing individualised careers information, advice and guidance.

For further information, please download our ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ Prospectus HERE.

Fir Tree College has a designated Safeguarding Lead who is also a fully qualified and experienced Occupational Therapist. This allows us to develop a safe and supportive learning environment, whilst being able to facilitate arrangements to meet individual learners’ needs and offer help and support to learners with disabilities to participate fully in their education. All of our Teachers, Tutors and Specialist Educators are sector specific/occupational competent and have experience in working with learners of all abilities within their specialist area.

Students, carers, parents, and families at Fir Tree College have the benefit of a dedicated Centre Manager as the first port of call for all contact. Information is provided to share with parents, guardians, and carers through a variety of methods such as learner reviews/annual reviews, termly coffee mornings, personal tutor reviews and general ongoing commination via the college Parent Mail system.

Parents and carers are actively encouraged to contact appropriate staff by telephone or email to discuss progress with the education team, who are equally encouraged to communicate any specific changes and developments.

Appointments can be made with the Centre Manager, Personal Tutors as well as our Occupational Therapist at a mutually convenient time, should parents/guardians prefer to meet face to face.

Fir Tree College also organises throughout the academic year a number of taster day experiences, social events, celebration of learner achievements which we actively encourage families to be part of.

Fir Tree College operates minibus pick up and drop off services at set pick up and drop off points for learners. There are no cost implications, and this service operates for learners based in and around Wigan and Leigh areas.

Some learners may also meet the criteria for subsidised transport from the local authority and have special transport arranged for them. Parents or carers should contact their respective local authority to find out details of how this is assessed and the cost of any contribution they may be required to make.

For those learners not in receipt of subsidised local authority transport, or for learners who want to develop independent travel skills, public transport may be a suitable alternative and transport training can be provided by staff at the college to support them make this step.

Fir Tree College is well served by both buses and a local train station and prior to enrolment, details will be provided with an explanation about the cost and details on bus routes.

Fir Tree College works closely with a number of local authority services and schools in order to ensure a smooth transition to post 16 education. Our team of specialist staff including our Occupational Therapist, Centre Manager and Curriculum Lead can attend transition and annual review meetings for learners requiring additional support requirements in order to develop a suitable personalised provision well in advance.

Career aspirations and suitable modules are explored, matching the level of attainment of the learner, in order that the best choices are made to achieve success. Discussion also takes into consideration of the educational, personal, social, health and care needs of each individual learner, so that barriers to learning can be minimised by putting reasonable adjustments in place.

Fir Tree College already has strong links with local specialist schools Including Hope School, Landgate School and Oakfield High School and College as well as mainstream schools including St Peters Catholic High School, The Dean Trust, St John Fisher Catholic High School, The Deanery and St Edmond Arrowsmith High School. Show arounds and taster days will be established within their school timetable which enables potential learners to become familiar with the setting of Fir Tree College and help build up a confident relationship with staff prior to their transition.