Preparing for Adulthood at Queen Alexandra College (QAC)

Posted on 21st Aug 2019 in School News, Autism, Learning Difficulties, Sensory impairment

Based in Birmingham, Queen Alexandra College (QAC) is a national specialist residential college that supports a diverse range of student abilities and needs. The College provides education, training and routes to independent living and employment. Class sizes are small and support levels high.

QAC is a stepping stone to your future life. Whatever your ambitions, QAC staff will provide support and assistance when leaving College based around your needs and aspirations to progress on to meaningful provision such as further education, higher education, supported internships, employment and supported living.

Regular Annual Reviews will be held with you, your family, College staff and other relevant professionals. Following the review a person-centred plan will be created and your Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan will be updated to reflect your needs.

Charlie, Hannah and Jess, three former QAC students, share their experiences of preparing for adulthood:

Charlie

“Hi, my name is Charlie. On leaving QAC I entered paid employment with The Albion Foundation – the charity of West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

“I really enjoyed my time at QAC and successfully completed a BTEC Level 2 in Sport. The College provided the structure that I needed and offered me the opportunity to complete an external work placement with The Albion Foundation during my first year.

“Initially my work placement was over a four week period, but it went so well it became ongoing during my time at College with staff supporting me. With the help of QAC I was able to fulfil my long-term goal of securing paid employment.

“I love my job, the responsibility and various tasks that I have to complete. I have also recently passed my driving test; I can now drive into work independently using my own car!”

Hannah

“Hello, my name is Hannah. I completed a BTEC Level 3 in Health and Social Care at QAC and represented the College as a Student Ambassador. I am now studying a BSc (Hons) in ‘Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion’ at the University of Wolverhampton.

“My time at QAC really helped to prepare me for University as it gave me the confidence and independence I needed to get me to where I am today. I gained a lot from the additional support I received at QAC, particularly the travel training sessions which have enabled me to travel independently to and from University.

“I am enjoying all aspects of University life, the students and lecturers are really kind and are always there if I need help or advice.

“Next year, I am going to apply to live in halls where I can continue to develop my independence and get more involved in University life!” 

Jess

“Hi, my name is Jess, During my time at QAC I gained a Level 3 IT qualification and lived in one of the residential houses on campus. As a residential student I gained the skills and confidence which enabled me to live semi-independently and now I am living in my own supported living flat.

“I love having my own flat because I have my own space and more freedom to do what I want. Since living on my own I have continued to grow in confidence and feel I am able to live independently without relying on my family. I still have access to support and the staff are brilliant! I have made really good friends with another girl through my support worker and we go out into the local community together and do lots of fun activities.

“QAC has assisted me to get where I am today! I am also looking forward to starting a work placement, where I will be volunteering for a local charity.”

During 2017/18, 95% of QAC students achieved their main learning aim on accredited qualifications with progression outcomes for students (84 leavers including Charlie, Hannah and Jess) as follows:

  • 15% Employment
  • 8% General FE
  • 4% HE Institution
  • 5% Independent Specialist College
  • 38% Other (including Adult Social Care)
  • 25% QAC Supported Internship/Other
  • 5% Work Based Training

Kerry Lowe, QAC Transitions Officer, commented: “During your time at QAC you will receive support, information, advice and guidance based around your needs and aspirations to explore your future options. My role is to help you make positive plans for what will happen when you leave QAC.”

If you would like more information about transitions at QAC you can contact Kerry on 0121 428 5086 or klowe@qac.ac.uk.

This article first appeared in the 2019/20 edition of Which School? for Special Needs. The digital version can be viewed here: