SEND Information

As part of the Children and Families Act, a Local Offer is a requirement for Local Authorities to publish the provision available at schools and colleges to children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities. This site also includes other support services available in Somerset.

In addition to the information found on other pages in the Additional Learning Support section, below is a comprehensive overview of our provision based on guidance provided by the local authority.

Bridgwater College provides a progressive and diverse curriculum that delivers individualised learning programmes to enable our students to progress on to employment, independence and higher levels of education.

Our learners come with a diverse range of additional learning needs including: mild, moderate, severe or profound learning difficulty or disability such as Attention Deficit Disorder; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Downs Sydrome; Asperger’s; Complex Profound and/or multiple additional support needs; social emotional and mental health needs; visual impairment; deaf and hearing impaired; Dyslexia; Dyspraxia and other SpLDs. Our learners may also be looked after children, refugees and asylum seekers or young carers.

Whilst qualifications form an important part of each learning pathway, a key feature of the curriculum is a relentless focus on supporting students to embrace opportunities within the world of work and engage in their local community, at a level that is appropriate to them.

The success of the programmes is based on a highly effective multi agency approach where needed. The lead contact for our local offer is Paddy Rutherford and our contact email is

How do you identify children/young people with SEN?

  • Our school link liaison team attend school reviews for SEN learners
  • Prior to interview, learner needs are highlighted by feeder schools
  • On the application form applicants are encouraged to state any barriers to learning
  • At interview learners are encouraged to talk about any barriers to learning to enable us to support you to succeed
  • Any learners who identify a barrier are second interviewed by the Additional Learning Support team
  • Tutors refer learners to the ALS team if they feel additional support may be required for a learner to reach their full potential
  • Parents and/or learners may self-refer at any time during the application and study programme to the ALS team for assessment

How will I be able to raise any concerns I may have?

  • Parents/carers are encouraged to talk to the tutors or ALS team about any concerns they may have about the progress and potential barriers to learning learners experience at any point in the interview or during the programme
  • Phone calls or meetings can be requested at any point in the year

Prior to Starting College

  • During transition you will meet the school link liaison team at school and during visits and tasters
  • You may be offered a taster where you will meet tutors, support staff and Programme Managers
  • At interview you will meet the Section Leader or Area Head along with the tutors and, where appropriate, Senior Tutors and members from the ALS team
  • At the welcome evening you will meet the Principal or Vice Principal, Area Head, Section Leader, Senior Tutor, Programme Manager and tutors
  • During induction you will meet the LSA team, tutors and other learners

What is the pastoral, medical and social support available in the College for children with SEN and disabilities?

  • All learners have a personal Tutor
  • All programmes within Foundation Studies focus on developing social and independent living skills
  • At Level One and above social training packages are put in place with the ALS team according to need
  • The college has individual ASC working pods to provide small study spaces with limited sensory distraction for learners
  • Personal care facilities and disabled toilets are available
  • The learning support team are trained in all aspects of personal care
  • Staff are trained to deliver medication/medical intervention to learners as necessary
  • A health promotions coordinator is on site every day and a registered nurse visits the college once a week
  • The college has a large proportion of fully trained first aiders
  • The college recognises every faith with our multi faith prayer room
  • Our fully trained counselling team are available five days a week
  • Supported social activities are arranged throughout the year
  • Small group sizes and additional support in the form of a support worker are provided for all learners in Entry Studies
  • Many learners with high needs benefit from our multi-sensory room

In addition to the normal reporting arrangements, what opportunities will there be for me to discuss his or her progress with the staff?

  • Tutors are always keen to work with parents and carers to provide the most appropriate learning environment, this may be by phone, email, letter or in person
  • Parents are invited in to review progress during the year
  • Reports are sent home

How does the College know how well my child/young person is doing?

  • Weekly tutorials provide an opportunity for a two way discussion about any issues and to record progress
  • ALS support staff review and record learner progress after every support session

How will I know what progress my child/young person should be making?

  • Targets are set and reviewed throughout the study programme that allow parents to understand quickly how well each learner is progressing
  • Reports are sent home to recognise progress and highlight concerns
  • All tutors are happy to discuss the expected learning outcomes for each programme and each learner

How are the College Governors or Trustees involved and what are their responsibilities?

The College Governors are responsible for monitoring the quality of the teaching and learning at the college. They do this by holding regular reviews with the college management team, and by talking to learners, to review all areas of the college in relation to the progress and experience of all learners.

What will be their roles?

The role of every member of the college team is to ensure a happy safe learning environment is provided that meets the needs of all individual learners and enables them to overcome any barriers to learning and reach their full potential.

How will the College support the young person to communicate?

  • Where necessary communication is supported through Somerset Total Communication and assistive technology
  • Staff training in British Sign Language is available on request
  • Learner surveys are differentiated to meet individual needs
  • Where necessary learners are supported by the ALS team to attend and communicate their ideas and thoughts at the Learner forum meetings
  • In any meeting with an external agency the college will provide support so that the learner is able to express their views
  • Champions to advocate for learners with hearing, sight and mobility impairments

Are there disabled changing and toilet facilities?

All college sites have disabled toilets and changing facilities.

How does the College communicate with parents/carers whose first language is not English?

The college uses interpreters where necessary.

Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child/young person?

  • Tutor
  • ALS manager
  • Programme Manager
  • Section Leader

Who else has a role in my child’s/young person’s education?

  • Senior tutor team will oversee the education of any learner who falls into the category of widening participation
  • ALS team
    • LSA
    • ASC team
    • SPLD team
    • Maths workshop
    • English workshop
    • Counselling team
    • The Area Head is responsible for every learner in the area

Who can I talk to if I am worried?

Any of the above.

Who should I contact if I am considering whether my child/young person should join the College?

You may wish to talk to the school link liaison team, the ALS manager or the Section Leader to discuss what suitable courses and support would be available.

What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusions and increasing attendance?

  • There is a robust process for supporting young people to improved their behaviour and respect all those in College
  • Clear expectations and regular tutorials help learners to understand what is expected of them
  • Learners agree and sign a Code of Conduct
  • Where learners are unable to follow the learner code of conduct there is a multi-tiered disciplinary process with a focus on target setting to change behaviour
  • We will help you to identify any barriers that are stopping you being successful and help you to develop strategies to achieve your targets
  • Attendance issues are picked up daily and discussed with the yourself, parents/carers