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Unique Minster Provision supports young people with complex needs

Date: 1st February 2019

A unique facility in York is providing young people with complex educational and health needs with new life experiences thanks to an innovative partnership approach.

The new Minster Provision has been created thanks to a partnership between Applefields School [York’s school for secondary aged children with special educational needs], Askham Bryan College, which provides further and higher education courses, and City of York Council.

The pilot facility opened at the bespoke Dentdale Centre at the heart of the campus this autumn, providing seven young people aged 19-25 years of age with life experiences and support in a safe yet engaging, post-school environment.

Working with their support staff –  experienced staff from Applefields School - the students are able to make full use of the Askham Bryan College campus, eating their lunch in the refectory with the other students; doing work placements in areas including the horticulture department’s tropical house and the equine department; and visiting the College farm and Wildlife and Conservation Park.

The partnership behind the new facility – a special school, land-based college and local authority - is thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

Cllr Keith Myers/Maxine Squire, Interim Corporate Director of Children, Education and Skills, City of York Council, said: “The Minster Provision really is an exciting addition to the range of support we can offer young people with complex health and learning needs in the city. It provides a much needed transitional stage for young people leaving special school and moving into adulthood. I’m incredibly grateful to Applefields and Askham Bryan College for their support in launching this initiative and hope that it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Adam Booker, headteacher of Applefields School explained: “The young people in the pilot have incredibly complex learning and health needs and would previously have had to go outside the York area to receive the type of support provided by the new Minster Provision.

“The staff and students have been made to feel incredibly welcome by Askham Bryan College and the wealth and breadth of experience that our young people can get by being part of a mainstream land-based college will help them to gain vital life-skills, broadening their horizons and helping them transition into adulthood.”

Catherine Dixon, Chief Executive, Askham Bryan College said: “This is a fantastic new initiative and one that the College is very proud to have been instrumental in establishing. Inclusivity is fundamental to the Askham Bryan ethos.  Not only does it provide amazing life and educational opportunities for the Minster Provision students, but it also enables them to study with the Askham Bryan students and access a wide range of facilities which will help them to develop skills for life.”

City of York Council has provided financial support for the initiative, with £41,000 to pump-prime the project. An additional £41,000, released later this year, will enable the existing building to be extended, increasing the capacity of the provision from seven young people to 16 in the 2019/20 academic year.

Students are able to continue their education at Minster Provision for two years.

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277