Springfield is our specialist provision based at the St Albans Campus. At Springfield, we cater for young people aged between 16 and 22 who have either a profound and complex or severe learning difficulty or disability and may or may not require additional medical support in order to access our curriculum. This also includes young people whose needs may fall within the Autistic Spectrum and who may have associated communication difficulties and require behavioural support.


Our Courses

Following an initial assessment, students will be placed with the most appropriate peer group that best reflects their needs and abilities. Curriculum delivery will be led by the individuals aims and outcomes as detailed on their Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP). Springfield is accredited by the National Autistic Society (NAS), which highlighted how students are treated as individuals, rather than following a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Courses are intended for students who need a supportive programme in a setting which offers high levels of staff support before possibly moving on to another Entry Level programme.

These programmes are designed for students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties who require a sensory based curriculum. The programs are centered on individual need, but are intended to address the most basic need for sensory discrimination and self-awareness as a starting point. Learning will be encouraged through activities that will develop the ability to “select, integrate and derive meaning from” these experiences.

All students are encouraged to use switches to operate equipment and to have control of their local environment.

There is recognition that communication from students is likely to be heavily dependent on carer interpretation and staff continuity will be maintained as far as possible in order to facilitate this.

Some students will be able to work with early stages of symbol recognition alongside objects of reference.


These courses are for students with a severe learning disability requiring significant assistance to access the curriculum but capable of engaging in more formal activities that will encourage basic independence skills where appropriate.

The main aims of these courses is to promote basic independence, develop choice making skills through the use of pictures and symbols and to develop the students individual communication strategies using Makaton, PECS, Voca, Eye Gaze and other assisted communication technologies.

All students are empowered through switch work and expressive communication strategies to exercise control over their own environment, allowing them to make meaningful choices. Where appropriate, students will be supported and encouraged to develop simple independent living skills such as basic food preparation and self-help skills.

These courses are for school leavers with severe learning difficulties who need a secure, accessible introduction to college life.

Learners may have a range of needs and disabilities including physical disabilities, challenging behaviour, autism, downs syndrome and/or experience poor mental heath.


Students on the Young Person Programme are functioning at a relatively high cognitive and academic level (high P levels and some aspects at Entry 1). In the current cohort, 10 of 12 have a diagnosis of ASC. Foundation students have

a similar level of need but may be working at a lower cognitive level than students in the Young Persons Programme.

The main emphasis throughout these programmes is to encourage and develop communication, independence and life skills, functional English and maths and appropriate social behaviours. Developing and improving communication strategies underpins all activities throughout the week so that learners acquire a range of skills to help them express themselves.

Students who are functioning at a relatively high cognitive and academic level. Students may have sensory loss, a medical condition and/
or associated difficulty in learning and make extensive use of assisted communications technologies. This course is for school leavers who need a secure, accessible introduction to college life.

This class fully embraces all new and emerging communication technologies including: Communication tablets, Vocas using specialist speech and language programmes: Grid 3 and Mind Express. It also makes full use of interactive whiteboards, motion environmental tools, switches and other electrical devices.

Students are individually targeted towards developing their working relationships and peer- to-peer interaction. Activities are structured to facilitate opportunities to work co-operatively, gain confidence, listen to others and participate in group activities.

These programmes are for students on the autistic spectrum whose autism can have a profound effect on how they interact with the wider world. There are currently 5 groups streamed by ability.

Focus programs provide an environment that is ‘Autistic friendly’, where the learner feels valued and can learn through generic routines. Self
Help and Independence are a key aspect of all programs. Increased confidence and ability to manage everyday tasks such as taking care of belongings, preparing simple meals and self- care skills form a basis of the support given to develop independence in daily living activities. Staff are skilled at the gradual withdrawal of support, encouraging further independent activity. Photographs, pictures, PECS symbols and other communication resources are employed to support the development of skills

All sessions are planned to provide stability and consistency and give warning of any changes whilst being alert to possible signs of stress
and anxiety.Students are likely to have a low tolerance of change, may take longer to settle into the college environment and struggle with social interactions, communication and flexibility of thought. We have a large team of Herts Steps Instructors who support students to develop self-management and self-regulatory behaviours. Supporting the development of self-regulatory behaviour is at the core of all programs.

Students are individually targeted towards developing their working relationships and peer- to-peer interaction. Activities are structured to facilitate opportunities for working co-operatively, gaining confidence, listening to others and participating in group activities.

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