New post-16 special needs unit is given the go-ahead

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A NEW post-16 unit for those with special educational needs will be created at the Isle of Man College.

Education and Children Minister Tim Crookall successfully secured the £1,773,000 needed to pay for it in Tynwald last week.

Mr Crookall said in order to complete the department’s inclusive provision for special needs students, a post-16 resource in the further education community was necessary. He explained: ‘The proposed new provision at the College will provide in a single setting, a hub for the variety of agencies and adult services to work together with students, sharing expertise and responsibility in providing and supporting young adults with lifelong learning, in a seamless transition to adult life and integration within our island community. These are members of our community who need the greatest support throughout their lives.’

Pressure is currently being put on the existing secondary units, said Mr Crookall, with temporary mobile classrooms providing some of the accommodation. He acknowledged some students may choose to stay on at the secondary units, even with the new unit. But he said parents, teachers and students had been consulted on the move and had responded positively. Mr Crookall said there were expected to be 100 special educational needs students across the secondary roll and it is likely the new College provision would open with 22 students. The work is due to begin on October 29 and be completed by August 23.

Mr Crookall concluded: ‘This College resource will provide equality of opportunity, promote inclusion and establish lifelong learning and care pathways for these most vulnerable members of our society. Freedom to Flourish is for all, not just those who can - every child matters, not just those who are able.’ Tynwald voted unanimously in favour of the spend.

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