Official opening event for SEND Centre at Kirkley Hall campus

Northumberland College has celebrated the completion of its new build learning environment for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 7:00 am
Northumberland College celebrates the opening of its Kirkley Hall SEND Centre.

It hosted a special event to officially open its bespoke SEND Centre at Kirkley Hall Campus, near Ponteland, that has been created as part of a major capital investment programme supported by the Department for Education.

Providing a safe space with high-quality resources and facilities, the new centre is also complemented by a curriculum designed to give students the chance to study on various ‘pathways to adulthood’.

Senior leaders from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Northumberland County Council, Prosper Learning Trust and Governors gathered with staff and students. In addition, students from Sunderland College’s centre for special education needs and disability were invited to attend.

Representatives of the college, Education Partnership North East, the county council and other organisations at the official opening event.

Northumberland College is part of Education Partnership North East, alongside Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form.

Students from the Northumberland and Sunderland colleges delighted guests with a performance of ‘This is Me’ by the student Makaton choir, supported hospitality and gave horticulture demonstrations, which included hand-made floral gifts for dignitaries to take home.

Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Education Partnership North East, and Nigel Harrett, principal of Northumberland College, gave an overview of the centre and the benefits it will bring young people and adults across the region.

It spans two floors and 800 square metres, and includes a sensory room, an Independence Hub and an Employability Hub.

Ellen said: “It’s a special day for our students who were very excited to show our VIPs their skills and talents.

“The new centre is a culmination of several years of visioning and investment into Northumberland’s young people with Special Education Needs and Disability.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Department for Education, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Northumberland County Council, Lloyds and Barclays banks for supporting our vision.

“In doing so, we have been able to shape a coherent regional educational strategy for SEND.”