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The college has its own orchestra. During the visit one class was playing standard and bespoke instruments and music via iPad apps. The college recognises that the arts offer few opportunities for employment but wants to help learners develop as musicians, dancers, actors and artists. Because of the nature of their specialist needs the students are unlikely to get a job through filling out an application form or sending a CV. Instead they have work placements where their abilities are assessed, and roles are customised so an employer can make a realistic offer of paid work. Some may work for four to six hours; some may build to 16 hours or more ...

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2016, Pauline Bayliss-Jones, previously director of learning programmes.

At first sight she seems a little reserved but she lights up when she talks about the students and the staff and is a great advocate for the holistic approach the college has put in place. She has a sparky sense of humour and an empathetic approach.

She has 20 years' experience working in teaching young adults. Formerly a lecturer in mainstream at Gloscat, a further education college with campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester, she moved to a rehabilitation programme working with people who had industrial injuries or serious illnesses. She joined National Star in 1997 as an IT tutor and has been a member of the senior management since 2003.

In 2014 she...

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Special Education Needs

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory Y
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges Y
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty Y
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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