The Additional Learning Support (ALS) Team
  • The Award for FE Team of the Year (sponsored by the Department for Education)
  • The Oldham College
  • Oldham, Lancashire

The Additional Learning Support (ALS) Team has gained a national reputation for the creative and effective ways in which it promotes inclusivity across the college and wider community.  A team of over 50 staff are all united in one aim: to develop innovative ways of supporting students to reach their potential.

Here, SEND is not just an occupation or a vocation, it is a lifelong dedication to give students the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to work and live with greater independence.

In the majority of subject areas, students with High Needs perform better than their non-SEND peers, which is testament to the support provided by this team.  Despite the challenges and barriers SEND students faced post-pandemic, they still excelled.  The ALS Team adjusted its support model and staff voluntarily re-trained to develop skills in Trauma Informed Practice, Advocacy and Mental Health First Aid, to ensure that students can thrive.

The team also sought to create a culture of `every Teacher is a Teacher of SEND`.  A series of Good Practice Workshops and the creation of Dyslexia Champions, Assistive Technology Champions and Mental Health Champions was a successful strategy in sharing expertise across the College.  At the end of the last academic year, 20% of College Leavers with High Needs were confident enough to progress on to Higher Education, a new internal record.