Something that makes Seashell Trust unique and a great place for children and young people to find care is our dedication to always improving our practice and to championing innovation in the care of those with multiple disabilities.
From our reknowned sensory garden to our staff development and our research, often with partners like PZ Cussons, we like to think we're defining the future for our area of work and setting an ever higher standard, both for ourselves and for others.
Equality Champions at Royal College Manchester are working with students, families and friends of the Trust to offer messages of support to young LBGT people over the holiday period.
Inspired by the Stonewall materials for schools and colleges and an American Project “Your Holiday Mom”, the college has launched its own project which encourages the posting of online holiday-themed messages of support to those who may not have the acceptance of their families, at a time when most people are celebrating and exchanging presents in a loving home.
The college gathered messages of support from students during its annual Winter Fair and is using social media to collect messages from the wider community.
The project will post regular blogs with messages received from families and friends.
Details of the LGBT Holiday Support project has been shared with schools and colleges, so that young people can access support.
If you'd like to post a message of support then please do so here.
Further support and information can be found via the following links:
Royal College Manchester was announced as 'highly commended' in the 2013 Provider of the Year - Independent Specialist College category.
Staff from the college picked up their awared at the fifth annual Leading the Learner Voice Awards which took place in London in June 2013. Hosted by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) and the National Union of Students (NUS) the awards celebrate the significant contributions learners make to the further education and skills sector and recognise the staff who support them in doing this. The awards are also an opportunity to ensure that good practice is shared and available for others to learn from.
The awards were open to learners, staff and providers in the FE and skills sector. This includes sixth form and independent specialist colleges for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, work based learning, adult community learning and offender learning.
The categories highlighted the changing and evolving priorities facing the FE and skills sector and there were three new categories: Learning Champion of the Year, Information, Advice and Guidance and Imaginative Approaches to Learner Voice.
Tricia Ramjutan and Georgia Ireton went to London to collect the award. Georgia is a member of the Royal College Manchester student council which has gone from strength to strength in recent years with support from Tricia as Learner Voice Coordinator.
The award ceremony was held in London and the honours were presented by Rob Wye, Chief Executive of LSIS and Dame Ruther Silver, Chair of LSIS.
"As a college for young people with significant communication difficulties, we place a high importance on the development of communication skills for all young people and this work is supported by our speech and language therapists working with staff and students. All staff are trained to support students in the use of a range of communication systems, sign language, picture communication systems, Objects of Reference as well as electronic aid. With communication in place every learner will be heard', Tricia explains.
Students are actively involved in making decisions and shaping their college experience, they make decisions about resources they want in college or residence and participate in staff recruitment and learn to speak out so that their views are taken into account. In 2013 the students led a protest around safe driving on campus, participated in learning walks and expressed views around the college curriculum and facilities.
In her role as Learner Voice Coordinator, Tricia has worked with the National Union of Students and LSIS to develop a practice guide for Learner Voice. Talking Learner Voice - collaboratin with and empowering learners in quality improvement. A practice guide for leaders, managers and practitioners. LSIS ref: LSIS332.
Royal College Manchester has been involved in an exciting project that seeks to improve the use of Assistive Technology.
The DART Project is run by a consortium of specialist colleges and supported by NATSPEC (The Association of National Specialist Colleges).
Thanks to the project we were better equipped to recruit our own assistive technologist, a role that brings together teaching, learning support, technical skills and therapeutic skills. We have also benefitted from in depth training and support which has contributed to improvements in our own practice.
Gayton House was one of our onsite residential homes occupied by two young men, both diagnosed with autism and additional needs including challenging behaviour, epilepsy and profound deafness. (We have transitioned into the new houses since this was written.) College and Care teams, including several 'hybrid' staff members, developed a close working relationship which helped best support the students to achieve good outcomes in areas like independence, daily living skills, emotional self-regulation and communication.
Key factors to this success are:
Multidisciplinary Team Meetings
Individual learning plans & Reviews
For more details about how each of these factors contributed to the sharing of good practice and the working relationship that developed between staff from Care and College, please see our Gayton House case study.