What our service does
Youth Inspired is a specialist education provider for adults and young people aged 16+ who have learning difficulties. Our core programme is called Improving Choices; a full time course designed for learners leaving school, or recently left school, who are not able to access college or employment opportunities. Applicants must be aged 16 - 25. The course runs for up to three years, depending on funding being approved by the Local Authority, and the programme is built around the needs of the learner. We offer a range of subjects including; English, Maths and ICT as well as social skills, personal development, independent living skills and vocational subjects. Subject are accredited through Gateway Qualifications, (formally OCN Eastern region), and BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT) offering nationally recognised qualifications. Referrals to this course come through from the Bedford Borough SEND team.
Subject to funding availability we also offer adult community learning courses in a range of subjects. They are designed for adults with a learning difficulty or mental health condition or other barrier to learning such as ASD. These are short courses lasting 8 - 12 weeks. Professionals are able to refer people aged 19+ or learners can refer themselves. The subjects offered are agreed annually. These courses are free at point of access for learners. These courses are also accredited through Gateway Qualifications.
Location of our service
Our offices are based in Bedford, very close to the town centre (Newnham Street). Depending on parameters of the funding, we are able to accept people from across Bedfordshire onto our adult community learning courses.
We accept referrals from the Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton Local Authorities for the Improving Choices course.
Who our service provides for
We are able to meet the needs of learners with mild to moderate learning difficulties, or other barriers to learning. We are also able to assess whether our service can meet the needs of those with more severe learning difficulties on an individual basis. This service is particularly beneficial for those learners who need a small non-threatening and supportive environment. Our courses provide a high level of support with 1:1 tuition and small group working.
Our only recruitment criteria are that the learner should not present a danger to other learners or staff in order to maintain a safe environment for all.
We are able to meet the needs of learners with some physical disabilities; however we do not currently have winches or lifts installed. This would need to be discussed on an individual basis.
We are able to signpost learners to appropriate services if we cannot meet their needs.
How to start using our service
We can only take referrals from the Local Authorities for the Improving Choices course. Initially a visit is arranged to our centre when we discuss the needs and ambitions of the young person and the appropriateness of this course in depth before a learner is accepted. We then offer a 'taster day' before the learners begins the course. This course runs throughout the year and can be joined at any point through the year, however intakes are usually in September and January. There is currently no waiting list.
We can accept direct applications for the adult community learning courses. These courses are discussed with learners before they commit to joining. A taster day is not available due to the nature of the courses. These short courses often attract a waiting list, depending on the popularity of the course content.
All courses are currently free at point of access for the learners; funding is from a variety of sources depending upon the course.
How decisions are made about who can use our service
The Improving Choices course is recommended to learners by the SEND team and schools. We then meet parents and learners and provide more information and a taster day, as well as assess whether we feel we can meet the needs of the learner. If a learner would like to join and professionals feel it is an appropriate setting, we submit a funding application together with a SEND Team report S139a and this is reviewed by the Education Panel, where a decision is made.
The Adult Community Learning courses admit learners that meet the set funding criteria, which is usually 19+ and not in employment, however this does vary by funder. If a learner is able to take part, is able to commit to the course for the duration and they meet the funding criteria they are able to join. The final decision is made by the Course Manager, however the criteria is set by the funders. Feedback will be given verbally or in written form if required / requested.
How we communicate with our service users
Review meetings are held twice a year where we hold a four way meeting with: parents, the referring Authority and ourselves to discuss progress and set targets for the coming term. We maintain an ongoing dialogue with parents particularly where the young person is experiencing difficulties.
We are currently working with the Parent Partnership Service to ensure that learners and parents understand the changes to the statementing process. We seek the views of the learners whilst they are on our courses, and also by linking in with other agencies such as Autism Bedfordshire. A sample of leaflets and information available is attached; this changes with the content of the courses.
We do not currently provide resources that are a language other than English, but this would be done as necessary. The same applies for sign language and other communication methods.
We are sympathetic to the communication needs of the learners, using alternative methods as requested, such as; email, written, providing laptops or whiteboards.
Accessibility of our service
Our service is based close to the town centre, making it easily accessible by foot, train, bus or car.
There are limited parking facilities at the front of the building for drop off or pick up times, or for visitors and staff. Lurke Street Car Park is the closest parking facility
The building is wheelchair accessible on the ground floor. There is currently no lift or ramp to enable access to the upstairs of the building. There is a disabled toilet available.
Qualifications and training of our staff
All staff are safeguarding trained and registered with the Institute for Learning.
All staff receive ASD training provided through Autism Bedfordshire. Online training in SEN and disabilities is provided for all staff. As an organisation we work closely with Autism Bedfordshire and Bedford College, which remains a main progression route for our learners.
General Contact Information
Main points of contact are:
Clive Simpson, Director 01234 480980 is the main contact for enquiries.
Or ask for the Course Manager quoting the course of interest.
We operate a key worker system at Youth Inspired, so parents/carers can contact the key worker for detailed enquiries relating to a specific learner.