Prospectus and Brochure
How we provide this information
The WESC Foundation Prospectus and Brochure is provided below in an accessible web document.
The PDF of the printed version is currently being updated.
About this prospectus
This prospectus gives information about our education provision in the specialist school and college.
You can find out more about our adult community services and other parts of our charity’s work by looking at What we do
Welcome to WESC Foundation’s School and College.
We offer specialist education provision for children and young people with a wide variety of vision impairment (as either a primary or secondary need) and other additional and complex needs. Although based in Exeter we support children and young people from across the UK, subject to funding.
We provide specialist education for children and young people with a wide range of vision impairment and other additional and complex needs.
These might include
- Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Severe Learning disabilities (SLD)
- Moderate Learning needs (MLD)
- Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Physical Needs
- Social and emotional needs
Our School and College are based at WESC Foundation’s 14 acre campus in Exeter, Devon, which has enviable on-site facilities that are adapted for the needs of our young people.
A full-time team of specialist staff, including therapists, habilitation specialists, nurses and tutors in Braille and access technology are employed directly by the charity rather than as services ‘bought in’ by an external provider.
As a result this team of specialist staff have the capacity and understanding of vision impairment to work as an essential part of our multidisciplinary team. They work collaboratively with our specialist teachers and vision impairment support team, providing training for the wider staff team in order to make sure that we are offering the very best support to all the young people in the School and College.
I hope that this prospectus gives you a flavour of how we can support your child’s education. If you would like to find out more about WESC Foundation, or to arrange a visit or assessment, then there is more information about the next steps later in this document.
Director of Education
About our charity
Children and young adults with vision impairment and complex needs often face barriers to learning, living and taking an active, independent place in society.
WESC Foundation provides the specialist expertise, equipment and adapted facilities to inspire, challenge and empower these young people from across the UK to live their best lives.
We fight to make sure that they can take their place in a society that values them for their contribution and supports their rights and independence.
Our School and College is part of the wider WESC Foundation charity that also supports young adults in supported living accommodation, daytime community services and at our CQC-registered residential home St David’s House. Many of the young people accessing those services previously attended our School or College.
What we do
We work together to make sure that young people who have attended our School and College are:
- living healthy lives with good mental health and emotional wellbeing
- advocating for themselves independently or with support
- following their passions and doing things that they really enjoy
- living as independently as they are able, with the right level of support
- able to use their money and to make decisions about spending to improve their lives
- in work, volunteer roles or engaged in valued activities
- using technology effectively to support and enhance daily life
- making choices about all aspects of their lives, to the fullest extent possible
- maximising their functional vision
- being active citizens in their community
- travelling within their community, with just enough support
- enjoying relationships with family & friends & meeting new people through a variety of social opportunities
- using their voice about things that matter to them
Facilities at WESC Foundation
Our young people live together in a student village on our 14 acre campus with plenty of outdoor space.
Kitchens are adapted with adjustable height work surfaces and appliances, talking microwaves and other equipment. Hoists are available in bedrooms and bathrooms for students who need them, and there are communal areas for eating, socialising and developing essential daily living skills like doing the laundry.
We are lucky to have enviable therapy and care facilities, including:
- a 25m heated swimming pool
- a separate Hydrotherapy pool
- A mechanical therapy horse
- trampolines for Rebound therapy
- Speech and Language Therapy rooms with communication aids and other equipment
- extensive outdoor sensory learning areas including the Discovery Garden and a separate site in the Devon countryside
Within the WESC Foundation School, students engage in a range of activities throughout the day which support their learning. This includes living skills, therapy and mobility support as well as formal classroom lessons.
Every student is challenged in their learning across the ten areas of our WESC Foundation Curriculum which align to the core, foundation and compulsory aspects of the National Curriculum.
Every young person is empowered to engage with independence and be able to find inspiration through creative and thoughtful planning which meets their needs.
Even at this stage we are thinking about each child’s next steps beyond their time in education.
Types of placement
Students can attend WESC Foundation School as a day student or on a residential basis, with both weekly or termly accommodation and support.
We also offer split placements. This is where the student attends a school for the main part of their studies but also attends WESC Foundation for a period of study, which may include specialist support around independent living, employability, mobility and orientation, access technology and Braille and/or access to our therapy team.
For our college students (aged 16-25) we provide a broad and balanced learning experience which gives them many opportunities to develop their interests and aspirations.
The curriculum within our post-16 FE provision creates a structured and challenging learning programme, and students can acquire a range of qualifications where appropriate.
Here there is a specific focus on the learning of appropriate Functional Skills in Literacy & Numeracy, work skills and practical work experience, non-qualification activity to develop confidence, character, broader skills, attitude and confidence and Independent Living Skills.
Preparation for adulthood
Within college the focus of learning shifts towards a student’s preparation for adulthood and their transition beyond WESC Foundation and on to an appropriate residential setting and into a suitable vocational placement.
To support this, they will have a timetable that centres around the development of Living Skills and their increased engagement in the Community aspects of the WESC Foundation curriculum model.
Work experience and Supported Internships
We work closely with each student to find work experience opportunities aligned to their aspirations and passions.
Some choose to take advantage of our in-house provision which includes:
- retail experience working in one of our five charity shops
- online trading in our eBay store
- catering and customer service at the WESC Café
Others take up opportunities in local businesses. We work closely with partners in all types of work to find the best match for all our young people.
Supported internships are also offered, usually for a year, to students coming to the end of their time in college. Young people are supported by a mentor and a job coach, and these placements are often a stepping stone between work experience and an apprenticeship or paid employment.
We have supported students in a variety of areas including catering, horticulture, education training, maintenance and social enterprise.
Types of placement
Students can attend WESC Foundation College as a day student or on a residential basis, with both weekly or termly accommodation and support.
We also offer split placements. This is where the student attends a college for the main part of their studies but also attends WESC Foundation for a period of study, which may include specialist support around independent living, employability, mobility and orientation, access technology and Braille and/or access to our therapy team.
Our curriculum inspires, challenges and empowers each student to live their best life
The WESC Foundation curriculum has been specifically designed to support progression for children and young people with a vision impairment and additional needs. It is accessed by students across the school and college, taking into account age and development-related learning, and also each individual’s visual impairment and other needs.
Our curriculum inspires our young people to engage with and enjoy the learning process, embedding learning into their daily lives. It ensures that students engage in a broad range of exciting and creative opportunities, developing their independence and having fun as they learn. Fun and enjoyment are an essential part of the learning journey, seeing motivation as key.
Learning at WESC Foundation happens everywhere and focuses on gaining independence and preparation for adulthood.
Teaching, therapy, mobility and enabling staff support learning in a range of settings and across give curriculum branches:
- life skills
There are ten learning areas (similar to subjects) which sit within five broader branches of the curriculum:
Communication: Literacy; ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
Life Skills: Daily Living Skills; Numeracy
Wellbeing: PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) and RSE (Relationships and Sex Education); Physical and Leisure
Community: Citizenship; Work Skills
Curiosity: World Around Us; Creativity
Each framework informs how we deliver that particular learning area. They were compiled by staff from across WESC Foundation and combined parts of several different established curriculum models. This approach means that we have a curriculum offer that truly meets the needs of the young people at WESC Foundation.
Qualifications and accreditation
There is a wide range of opportunities for students to achieve accreditation where it is relevant and appropriate. Qualifications are not the driving force behind the curriculum; rather an additional incentive for those students who are aware of and choose to engage with them.
Life at WESC Foundation
All students at WESC Foundation can access:
- Cross-campus sessions to encourage the mixing of peer groups
- Enrichment activities like art, dance, gardening (onsite and at our West Hill project in East Devon), music, VI Radio, and sensory exploration
- Activities that develop self-advocacy, independence and decision making
- Activities that develop self-care skills, and skills used in daily life
- Orientation and movement skills – through swimming, Rebound therapy, walking, biking, the multi gym, and a wide range of in-class activities
- Participation and work skills through community engagement and other on or off site activities
WESC Foundation’s Student Village accommodation allows our students to experience independence in a supported environment.
Accommodation options vary, from a smaller house for 4-5 people, to larger group living environments.
Towards the end of their time in our College some of our students may transition into Supported Housing and some live in St David’s House, our residential home for young adults who live at WESC Foundation throughout the year.
All residential areas are designed and planned to be functional and homely living spaces.
What it’s like inside
All students have their own bedroom, even if they only stay at WESC Foundation for part of the week. We encourage them to personalise these rooms and make them their own. The residential areas are also specifically designed to support the individual’s mobility and visual impairment needs, with ceiling hoists, accessible baths, talking microwaves, and other assistance provided where necessary.
All of our accommodation has access to shared kitchens, dining areas, lounges, and laundry rooms, making it easy to socialise with peers while attending to day-to-day life skills.
Our bathrooms and shower rooms all have adapted facilities that encourage independence.
Living at WESC Foundation
Children benefit from being care for by staff who know them well and with whom they have built strong, trusting relationships.
The Student Village is at the edge of WESC Foundation’s 14 acre site. There is plenty of outdoor space, including the neighbouring Discovery Garden (a sensory space, horticulture project and social area combined into one).
All our students have access to the communal dining room, or can choose to eat in their own ‘house’. Our in-house catering team assists with meal preparation and is available to prepare meals and special diets as required.
At weekends and in the evenings there are plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy different activities. We have adapted vehicles which mean our young people are able to take part in trips into Exeter and the surrounding area. The city centre, seaside and beautiful countryside are all just minutes away.
Learning in our Student Village
The Student Village is just one of our campus-wide learning environments. Many of the independent living skills developed in the houses will contribute to the Life Skills curriculum and help them achieve their individual targets. These might include: cooking, budgeting, shopping, planning meals, self-help, or money management.
Braille and Access Technology
Individual lessons are available for students who wish to develop their Braille or Moon skills. These are sometimes delivered as part of a learning activity (where a tutor will support the young person in the classroom) or as a stand-alone session.
We also adapt materials for our young people according to their individual needs (this might be Braille or Moon, or just finding the right print size or paper colour).
In order for our students to be working at their best possible levels, we utilise many forms of accessible technology to assist their day-to-day lives and learning. This may be in the form of screen reader software on a PC or laptop; or accessibility functions on iPads and Android tablets and smart phones.
Dedicated Braille hardware and software is also available on site with professional end users teaching this subject area to a high level. We work with many well–known suppliers of accessible technology (inc. Humanware & Dolphin) to ensure that our students are able to access the very latest technology available.
Health and care
“Physical, emotional and mental health needs are well catered for” (Ofsted)
We employ a team of full-time registered nurses who support our young people’s health needs. There are specialists in adult and paediatric nursing who work directly with all our students, as well as supporting and up-skilling staff who are providing direct support to our young people.
They health team also coordinates regular visits from other professionals including an on-site GP clinic from our local practice, paediatricians, orthotic clinics, audiometry, opthamology and many more.
The health team also has an input into the PSHE curriculum, and works as part of the multidisciplinary team across a range of projects (e.g. supporting a young person to self-medicate).
We deliver a wide range of therapies to our students using a dedicated team of experts employed directly by the charity (instead of a bought-in service that you might find elsewhere).
This means that they get to spend more time with our students, and know how their visual impairment and other needs can best be supported through their particular discipline.
Staff include Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists and a Music Therapist.
We also have enviable facilities and equipment onsite including:
The pool is for therapeutic use such as Physiotherapy. It is heated to 34 degrees and has a hoist chair for wheelchair users to easily enter the water. The changing rooms are also accessible for wheelchairs.
The 25 metre swimming pool is accessible for wheelchair users (via a hoist system). It has a tactile wall mural and is heated to 32 degrees. There are high-quality accessible changing facilities and inflatables.
We have two trampolines which are used regularly for Rebound therapy. One has the benefit of a hoist system to allow more young people to access the trampoline.
There is also a small wheelchair-accessible trampoline outdoors.
We have a large number of adapted bikes and trikes that can be used around the campus and on our central track. Students can also use outdoor gym equipment.
Mobility and orientation
We want all our young people and adults to access their environment as independently as possible.
Mobility and orientation training is delivered on a one-to-one basis by qualified Rehabilitation (ROVI) and Habilitation specialists who are employed by WESC Foundation. Mobility programmes are based on each individual’s needs and skills, but might typically include:
- developing low vision strategies and skills
- experience of travel by public transport
- systematic route tuition
- experience of busy environments in the local and wider community
If you are interested in an education placement at WESC Foundation for a young person (either as a parent or a professional in another setting) then please email Richard Ellis for an informal conversation. Richard will be able to discuss our assessment and admissions process in more detail.
Contact details and other information
WESC Foundation, Topsham Road, Countess Wear, Exeter, Devon EX2 6HA
Telephone 01392 454200
WESC Foundation is committed to equality and diversity. We welcome applicants regardless of racial, ethnic or national origin, religion or beliefs, disability, sexuality, age or responsibilities for dependants. We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
If you need this information in a different language or in another format such as Braille, audiotape, large print or on a CD please email our Reception
WESC Foundation® is a Registered Trade Mark.
WESC Foundation is a company limited by guarantee.
Company Registered Number: 06938379
Charity Registered Number: 1058937
This publication is correct at the time of writing in January 2021.