Skip to main content
Family Information and Services Hub

Sparsholt College

Sparsholt & Andover College is an open access, inclusive general further education college offering both young people and adults with a variety of needs a comprehensive range of vocational and academic qualifications.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Christine Bridger
Contact Position
Head of Faculty - Foundation Skills
01962 797210

Where to go

Sparsholt College
Westley Lane,
SO21 2NF
Accessible changing, Wheelchair access, Disabled parking

Other Details


Age Ranges
16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

Local Offer

Local Offer
How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

We work closely with local SEN schools, attending their open evenings, and also have college open days when families can visit us. Our staff will discuss our courses with you and assess learners’ abilities as required. Our Foundation Studies Programme is a programme of courses specially designed for learners with learning difficulties who are keen to experience our specialist vocational courses. We offer courses in Life Skills, at Entry 1 2 and 3, and we also offer vocational courses at Entry 2 and Entry 3. We offer courses taught in small groups (8) suitable for learners with Moderate Learning difficulties and a more specialist course (taught in a smaller group) which can help some learners with Severe learning difficulties to develop their life skills. In addition; • Our learning support team attend annual reviews (year 10 & 11) where invited by the feeder school to assess needs in readiness for a potential college place (at Level One or above.)
• We also staff Open Evenings/Open Days in college so that prospective students like yourself (and their parents/carers) can discuss any support issues and ask questions regarding the support on offer.
• We run taster events and transition events to help identify issues and to assist you in your journey from school to college.
• We use college application forms, school references, college interviews, and enrolment days, open days and where permissions have been granted, liaison with other agencies to identify, discuss and plan support for individual students.

How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

Within our college we have an excellent support team that is comprises a student support manager (whose role covers learning and learner support services) and campus based Student Support and ALS (Additional Learning Support) Co-ordinators. Our Co-ordinators look after the day to day running of the respective support teams and deal with the face to face work with students and their parents/carers. They are the first port of call for any questions/queries regarding support and are available to speak to in person, via phone/email and at our many College Open Events.
Our admissions process for Foundation Studies Programme involves interviews and assessments with the Curriculum Leader and/or Head of Faculty. Initial assessments of needs are made in discussion with you, your son or daughter and using information provided by schools and other related professionals. Further assessments are made on our Taster Days, which form an integral part of our selection process, in conjunction with the Additional Learning Support Coordinator. Within our Foundation Studies Programme we have personal tutors who will be the first point of contact for day to day help and support. Learners will follow a programme of courses suitable for their needs. Progress on this course will be overseen by their personal tutor. The Foundation Studies staff team are specialists in their field and have good knowledge of the individual learners’ needs.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

Foundation Studies Programme courses are specifically designed for learners with learning difficulties. The pace of delivery is matched to learners’ needs, and includes differentiated opportunities for assessments. Courses are assessed by observation of practical activities, by written or verbal feedback, and through portfolio work. This includes both foundation courses at Sparsholt (land based) and at Andover (tertiary.)
Learners have support as needed in order to complete their portfolio, which may contain written work, photographic/video evidence, or witness statements. Assessments are planned by the teachers to take place throughout the year, allowing for opportunities to build on skills in order to achieve. The learning journey is tracked on an Electronic Individual Learning Plan (eILP). The eILP, tracks progress and the learning journey.
Within our ALS service, each student working at level 1, 2 or 3 has an individual support plan that is agreed at the start of the course and reviewed regularly and adjusted where necessary as your needs change and your skills develop. In addition, every student has an eILP that also contains support information so that academic staff have access to key data regarding what works with individual students. Within the classroom, you may have access to additional staffing and/or resources depending on need and the impact of this is measured through regular reviews and tutor feedback.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

As a college, we have a ‘flying start’ period of 4 – 6 weeks at the beginning of the academic year, where we ensure that learners are on the correct course. If you, or we, feel that there is a more suitable course available, we will discuss this with you, and potentially move learners to the more suitable course. This review takes place in October.
We send out 2 formal reports a year; in Oct/Nov half term (reading break) and in the February reading break. These are followed by parents’ evenings where you are able to come in and discuss progress with tutors and ALS staff if appropriate.
In addition, we offer progression reviews in the Spring Term.
We are keen to have contact with parents about issues that may be concerning them, or us, about their young person’s progress/happiness at college. We are keen to communicate with parent/carers and respond to phone calls/emails, and messages left on the answer machine, or through our Curriculum Administrator (secretary).
Our ALS team encourages regular communication with parents/carers and staff will respond to emails/phone calls quickly and professionally. We are always happy to arrange review meetings outside of the normal review window and regard the link with parents/carers as essential in helping our students reach their true potential whilst in college.

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

We have an experienced student support team that provide a range of pastoral support to students; including solution focused interventions, counselling, SRE, financial advice, safeguarding support, drugs and alcohol advice/guidance, etc.
Personal care is not something that we would routinely support (as per above) – as we do not have suitable changing/toilet facilities and the land based campus means this would be restrictive (both in support terms and progression opportunities.) Where low level personal care is supported, this is done via LSAs. br /> Our college nurse risk assesses learners with specialist medical needs on application and will draw up a Care Plan detailing how their needs will be met. Training for staff is given where appropriate.
Within our Foundation (Land based) Studies Programme, we have a consistent team of Learning Support Assistants (LSAs), who are able to meet learners in the morning, support them over break and lunchtime if necessary, and support learners to access their transport home in the evening.
We operate a ‘Lunch Club’ where learners join a supported group with LSAs to have lunch in the college dining room.
Support for behaviour is given through the college tutorial system. Learners have daily access to their tutors, and behaviour issues are generally dealt with at this level. In cases of more serious behaviour issues, appropriate action plans are developed in accordance with the college Code of Conduct. Learners are encouraged to participate in drawing up these action plans, which are reviewed regularly.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

Our ALS team possesses specialist tutors/assessors in SpLD/Dyslexia as well as highly experienced staff with professional backgrounds in the support of ASD learners. Our LSA team is qualified to L3 standard in professional reflective practice and a number of our ALS team have first and/or second degrees. In addition, we possess a Makaton specialist and members of the LSA team are Makaton trained.
Our student support team includes college staff with a Connexions (Personal Development Advisor) background and includes staff trained in Counselling, Drug & Alcohol work and SRE work (amongst other specialist areas.) In addition, we have strong links with our local CAMHs (Child and Adolescent Mental Health) teams, our social services teams, YOT (Youth Offending Team) and health service practitioners. We use the Hampshire Teaching Advisory Service for HI and VI support and buy in signing support where appropriate.
Our Foundation Studies team of teachers have specialisms in their vocational areas, and experience in working with learners with Learning difficulties. 3 staff members have specialist Asperger/Autism training – with 1 staff member having additional training in behavioural issues and dyslexia.

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

All of our LSA staff are expected to undertake a Level 3 Learning Support (Reflective Practice) course that links to the National Standards of Learning Support Practitioners. In addition, all staff undertake a mandatory online safeguarding course and as specialist ALS staff, our teams also have access to training on inputs on mental health, ASD, SpLD and other specific sensory & learning needs.
We have established strong links with local specialist providers and have worked closely with them over transition plans and sharing of effective practice to support our students. On each campus we have specialist LSA staff whose role is to provide a link with our own LSA teams and academic colleagues in terms of sharing effective practice around supporting specific needs.
In addition, all staff have relevant & regular training through the college’s Continuing Professional Development system.
Learners’ needs are assessed at interview. Should staff need individual training to understand certain needs; these are met on an individual basis.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

>All students take part in a variety of off-site trips and visits according to their particular programme of study – these are normally curriculum specific and relate to the area of work the course will eventually lead into. Where appropriate, risk assessments are conducted for any student with particular needs who is taking part in an off-site activity so that support needs can be clearly identified and the necessary measures put in place prior to the trip taking place.
In terms of our Foundation Curriculum, learners’ ability to access the course is assessed and discussed at interview. The environment and nature of some of the courses on our Sparsholt campus may not be suitable for some learners. Course content of the course is discussed and if appropriate, risk assessments of activities are used to determine suitability of provision. We encourage open discussion with you as parents, and always work in the learners’ interest, governed by practical issues.

How accessible is the setting/school/college environment?

In terms of our two campuses, the Andover campus is fully wheelchair accessible. However, there are parts of our Sparsholt Campus that are less accessible for wheelchair users – due in part to the fact that it is a working land-based college (including a farm and other specialist agricultural provision.) In terms of buildings, these are fully wheelchair accessible and the paths between buildings are also largely accessible by wheelchair – however, there are some steep gradients between certain areas of the college site and these would need to be fully assessed & considered depending on the curriculum choice of the particular young person. As a result, individual needs are assessed through the application and interview process and to safeguard young people, individual risk assessments are undertaken for those for whom the site and/or nature of the curriculum presents a difficulty.
The college does have accessible toilet facilities on both campuses but does not possess disabled changing facilities (apart from within our new Sparsholt Sports Centre.)
In addition, we have a dedicated Makaton Specialist within our LSA team who trains staff (both ALS and front of house.)
We are also able to provide BSL support for parents/carers who have a hearing impairment so that they can participate in student related open events/review meetings.

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

We take transition from school very seriously and never under-estimate the impact of this on a young person’s life. We offer a range of support/opportunities to help make this as “painless” as possible. These include; • Attending annual reviews (year 10/11) • Liaison with YSS teams – through meetings and S139a/EHCP discussion • Taster events • Transition visits • Open events where parents and potential students can discuss support needs • Interview days • Support during induction For our Foundation Programmes, learners apply using the college application form. interview/information session are then held jointly with 2 or 3 other learners. This is a forum where information about the course is shared, and learners undertake basic initial assessments in maths and English (at an appropriate level). There is also a private 1-1 interview with Curriculum Leader/Head of Faculty. After this, if all parties wish to continue the application process, we will arrange for the learner to come in for at least one taster day. This is an opportunity for the learner to spend a day with us, on a ‘normal’ college day. We will support them as necessary throughout the day. Some learners come back for several Taster Days in order to feel confident about the transition from school. Course Tutors attend open evenings at local schools, and so many learners have built up contact from this point. Learners can visit either campus with their families on open days/evenings throughout the year, and many families choose to do this from Year 10.

How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

Our funding to support young people with additional needs comes from the Department of Education – through EFA (Education Funding Agency) post 16 allocations.
Top up funding for identified students with High Support Needs can be obtained via the relevant local authority.
In terms of allocating resources, these are distributed according to needs (thus entry level & level 1 programmes receive higher levels of support resource than a level 2 – 3 programme. Individual students are supported according to need (which is assessed prior to entry) and is allocated on a case by case basis – and reviewed regularly to ensure the support is meeting the need.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Much of this work takes place (pre entry) through annual reviews, transition plans/visits, open evenings and our application & interview process. As an FE provider, it is our expectation that our students will eventually be in a position to become more independent in their studies and our support plans reflect this aim – therefore, we would often begin a young person’s support in college at a slightly reduced level than may have been the case in school and, through regular review, adjust this as needed. However, on occasions, the reverse may be true – and we might front load support (for example, to reduce anxiety) and then reduce it over a specified time scale.
The impact of any support we offer is measured through a number of ways;
• Feedback from the student themselves,
• Feedback from their parents/carers
• Feedback from the academic team working with the student.
We currently have 2 key review dates within the curriculum calendar and the outcomes are shared with parents/carers for students under 18 and vulnerable adults. Within our own support service, support plans are reviewed termly and adjusted as needed.

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

Where possible (and within the accepted boundaries of confidentiality and data protection) we involve parents/carers of our students in the education and support of their son/daughter as we regard the partnership between college and home as highly important.
As a parent/carer, you will have access to regular reviews/reports on your child’s progress and have the opportunity to discuss concerns with both course tutors and/or relevant support teams at parent evenings and through email/phone contact outside of formal evening events.
In terms of preparation for college, it may be that as a result of pre entry transition meetings, we ask you to consider/undertake some travel training or other college related preparation with your son/daughter prior to them starting in Sept. This type of work would be very much on a case by case basis.
In addition, our students contribute to the way the college runs (and importantly improves its services) through both Learner Voice meetings each term and regular surveys.

Back to top