Sheffield College recently announced a decision to stop delivering courses at its Peaks Campus from September 2023. Current students will have to move to one of the college’s other campuses in order to continue their education.
Parents of students with SEND have raised concerns that the move from the small and quiet Peaks site to a large, busy campus like City or Hillsborough may overwhelm their young people.
We are liaising with the college to discuss parents’ concerns and find out how the needs of students with SEND who currently attend Peaks, as well as those who were due to start there in September, will be met at much larger and busier campuses.
Meanwhile, Sheffield City Council is considering a proposal to set up its own post-16 special needs hub on the Peaks site. In a statement, the council said:
“Sheffield City Council is working with Sheffield College on the future of the Peaks site. There are a number of processes, including the College consultation, that need to be concluded before any decisions on the future of Peaks can be made.”
“However, to provide some reassurance, we are exploring potential options. These are subject to further development and due diligence. For example, one option under consideration is the development of a Post 16 special needs hub at Peaks, which would focus on supporting young people with special educational needs to access employment, life skills and independence.”
We know from our work with parents that there is insufficient high-quality post-16 provision for learners with high needs in Sheffield. This particularly concerns young people who are unable to attain formal qualifications, but who, given the right support, may well be able to engage in paid work, volunteering or other meaningful activity.
We therefore welcome the council’s proposal to create a specialist post-16 hub. In order to achieve the best possible outcomes for this cohort of young people, any new provision must be tailored to their aspirations, interests and learning styles and provide the right sensory environment. It must also have appropriately qualified staff and robust, transparent governance procedures.
We will continue to work with the college and Sheffield City Council and feed in the views and concerns of our members.