Student Services Office
Transition Support available for students with or without EHCP prior to starting college course
- Visit to college site (as many visits as necessary up until a year prior to starting course)
- Initial meeting in confidential space to discuss transition support available and agree a plan of action for what each individual wants to do. On offer is; tour around college, visit to areas of college where course will be taught, access to classrooms to familiarize student, visit to library, Quiet room, canteen, student lounge, Students headquarters, walk round college, introduction to key teaching staff
- Regular visits and meeting as required to make student comfortable with college environment
- Establish contact via text and/ or email with student
- Discussion around travel to college / bursary/ ALS/ first day and meet and greet
- Support during enrolment and interview process / smaller room arranged and time when quieter if needed
- Summer Fest – depending on COVID – 19 guidelines
- Sharing information confidentially with the appropriate staff (teaching, ALS, support staff, welfare, safeguarding, bursary, exams) and updating college systems.
Support for students starting college and whilst they are here is varied and put in place according to individual needs. For example, we offer transition support for new students who may be feeling anxious or nervous about college life as it is a very different environment from schools. Some of our students may not have been in mainstream schools and have additional needs or an EHCP and may need some extra support to help them feel comfortable and confident about starting college. We have found that this works best when we give students the option to come in and meet a welfare team member prior to starting college and to have a key point of contact. A number of options are on offer such as; meeting with welfare staff, planned regular visits (up to a year prior to starting college for some students), tours round college to become familiar with classroom, canteen, quiet room, student lounge, library, student HQ and many more places that students utilize once they are at college. We also discuss the interview, enrolment and induction process and adjust anything that might seem too difficult or daunting. We also find students like to have a clear plan of what to expect on the first day, for example, where to go, break times, timetables etc and we can ensure a plan of action is in place so students feel more prepared and know what to expect.
Support available once enrolled and course starts
- Meeting place and action plan in place on first day to cover things like break times, lunchtimes etc.
- Plan in place for emergency situations (panic attacks, illness, non attendance)
- Introductions to Support Staff on course (if in place)
- Daily check in available if needed
- Regular 1:1 weekly appointment made as required
- Attending /organizing reviews with relevant organisations, parents, carers as required
- Sign posting to other agencies as required
Once students are on course we offer various types of ‘out of class support’ for example, daily or weekly meetings on a one to one basis which gives individuals a chance to talk about anything they are finding difficult. Often these sessions highlight a specific need for more support and we will make referrals when appropriate to other agencies as required for example; CAMHS, CMHT, REACH, Social care or voluntary sector charities, and we also refer to our own college support services such as; access to a Peer Mentor, access to the Quiet room, Tea and Toast, Additional Learner Support, and access to our confidential counselling service.
We have found that a large majority of students we work with have real difficulties understanding all of the college procedures, settling down, making friends and managing peer relationships and communicating with staff, so we always do our best to ensure students are listened too and that they have a voice.
Start of term
Student HQ will be open during breaks and lunchtime for anybody who is struggling with how large and daunting the new college environment can be during break times. There will always be a cup of tea for anybody who would like the opportunity to spend their breaks in a safe and friendly environment without the huge numbers of students that they might find in the canteen, reception area or College Square. During the first 2 weeks of the new academic year Tea and Toast will be offered daily, this is then offered twice a week during term time on Mondays and Thursdays where a cup of tea and a slice of toast will be waiting for you. Here you will have the opportunity to socialise in a quiet and relaxed area free from the noise of the larger student areas and with a member of the Safeguarding and Welfare Team present to help facilitate the session. Students often find this is a great way to make new friends and meet people. It is aimed at those students who find socialising difficult and need the extra support to do so. Games and activities will be organized and usually prove very popular.
Charity - Weymouth College's Therapy Dog & Young Health Champion Programme
Student HQ is also the working home of our very own assistance dog, Charity. Charity can help calm a stressful situation in seconds and, as well as being our most popular member of staff with students, helps with all sorts of difficulties and anxieties. Charity can help students overcome exam anxieties and her record for supporting anxious students to sit exams is second to none.
As well as Charity, Nola Smith – Student Welfare Coordinator- is also based in one of the suite of rooms off Student HQ and will work with students who are experiencing emotional issues and who might even be thinking of leaving college or dropping out of their course. Nola runs the very successful Young Health Champion Programme which is a full level 2 Royal Society for Public Health qualification and specifically highlights the support and resilience building needed for improving your own emotional wellbeing. Those who find this is an area they wish to explore further can then go onto become Peer mentors with additional training and support from Nola and her team.
Learning Facilitator Team
The Learning Facilitator team are also in the HQ and they deliver a timetabled one-hour session across college which explores subjects such as British Values, online safety, knife crime, budgeting and many more interesting and valuable topics.
They have expert guest speakers who are invited in to speak about their subjects and share their knowledge. The facilitators can also help with course work and assignments during their allocated hour’s session.