At Downs View Link College we provide education for students aged 16 to 19 with learning disabilities. We are a unique further education FE provision for young people with severe and complex educational needs in Brighton and Hove. In addition to students from Downs View and Hill Park S.L.D. schools we also have young people from mainstream provision with SLD learning needs. We are able to meet the needs of more vulnerable students with moderate learning difficulties and sensory needs and those with SLD, PMLD and ASC.
We work with the multi-disciplinary team including paediatricians, college nurses, a speech and language therapist, occupational therapists and the sensory needs service. We are also supported by CAMHS in the case of more complex behavioural issues. These agencies work alongside students, staff and parents. Their recommendations are included in the individual education and health care plans that we subsequently follow. Staff are constantly extending their skills and knowledge through our extensive staff training programme.
Students follow a three year education plan tailored to meet their individual needs and interests, maximising their potential for life post 19. We plan for smooth transitions both into college and during times of moving on. We work closely with the children’s disability team and adult social care when students move to adult services at 18. We understand the importance of consistency and the sharing of information for the students and their families.
We have a proactive, positive approach to behaviour management which is consistent across the college. Staff and parents/carers are involved in formulating individual behaviour plans which are shared with all staff. Strategies are implemented to support students in self- regulation which in turn supports independence.
Our F.E. curriculum is focussed on continued acquisition of relevant academic skills alongside developing the students’ individual communication skills, independence, health and well- being, creativity, interests and vocational skills. Our safe, secure environment has excellent facilities which allow our students to practice life skills, communication and independence which can then be generalised through supported outings into the community.
We are constantly developing community links and deliver some of our curriculum offsite. We are physically connected to Varndean College and work alongside the mainstream students both on our site and during inclusion activities such as P.E. The community facilities we use include public transport, Prince Regent swimming pool, Portslade Community Centre, Plumpton College, The Apple Store, Fabrica, the Millennium Library and shops in the locality. Our students take part in a range of work experience placements which take their strengths and interests into account. Placements include our weekly Fairtrade café on site, dog walking at the RSPCA, caring for the elderly at a local retirement home, Sainsburys, Bardsley’s fish and chip shop, a local nursery, office based work at Varndean and Pyecombe Stables. We extend these opportunities each year according to interest and need.
Students follow individualised timetables to meet their needs. Much of our student’s work is accredited by a nationally recognised accreditation board, ensuring all students leave the Link College with meaningful qualifications which reflect their achievements and ability. We also deliver the Duke of Edinburgh award at Bronze and Silver level and Bronze Arts Award.
We believe in enrichment and creativity and provide a range of extra-curricular activities throughout the three years. We take part in art and music projects some which result in exhibitions of our work across the city. The inclusive drumming group ‘Unified Rhythm’ is based here on a weekly basis.
Downs View Link College is a safe, positive environment in which the students thrive, becoming more confident as individuals as they move into adulthood.