New £500k base for special needs youngsters in Rotherham

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Youngsters with complex special needs going on to further education in Rotherham will soon have a new top-class learning centre.

Rotherham College of Art and Technology is to develop its Rother Valley campus, to provide better services for people aged 16 to 24 who have complex autistic spectrum conditions and disorders.

The £500,000-plus project will see the redevelopment of an existing library and courtyard area to create a careers and education opportunties centre, as well as a quiet study and respite space.

Funding for the new facilities has come from a successful joint bid by Rotherham College and Rotherham Council to the Government.

It will replicate, at the Rother Valley campus, Dinnington, the facilities that exist at the college’s Town Centre campus.

The council and college found there was an increasing need for support for young people with autistic spectrum disorders and made the bid to meet the demand.

The new careers centre will see the development of activities such as horticulture, retail and hospitality, and catering.

It will enable the students to undertake training in a range of vocational areas through ‘real work’ experience, which prepares students for moving into employment, but which is carried out within a closely supported environment.

The Gateway area will be used to provide a quiet study area and also a respite area for students who have high anxiety, are susceptible to sensory overload or who experience a crisis point.

Computer technology will enable students to continue to study until they reach the point where they feel able to return to their classroom.

The work is expected to be completed in autumn.