New College Worcester (NCW), Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX
We take students with a range of academic ability if we feel we are able to support them and meet their needs. However, our emphasis is on achievement: our exam results are impressive and most of our students leaving at Year 12 or 13 go on to university.
What sets NCW apart from others is that we are experts in what we do. That is, teach young people who are blind or visually impaired. Our teachers have a real flair for developing self-esteem. They give our students the individual attention, in small class sizes, that is so important to help them do well academically. More information on how teaching is made accessible for specific subjects can be found under Subjects and Courses.
Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (QTVI)
All teachers at NCW are qualified and experienced subject teachers and have taught in mainstream secondary schools before joining NCW.
Additionally, all NCW teachers are qualified to teach the visually impaired (QTVI) or are working towards this qualification. To become a QTVI teachers complete a two-year education programme which results in a Mandatory Qualification (MQ) for specialist teachers of children and young people with vision impairments. The MQ programme has been approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).
To achieve the qualification NCW teachers attend University based study weekends and regional tutorials throughout the programme, which includes a taught Braille component, an assessed teaching placement and a negotiated programme of visits to different aspects of education, health and care provision.
The programme develops knowledge, understanding and skills which enable our teachers to work confidently and effectively with children and young people who have vision impairments in a variety of settings, their families and other professionals who support them
On successful completion of the PG Diploma some NCW teachers transfer to the MEd programme (Education of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments).
Adaptable Approach towards Individualised Learning
At the time of joining each young person at NCW has a detailed assessment to ascertain the most appropriate mediums of work for them. This might be Braille or specific size large print, or a combination of these which changes as the student progresses with NCW or changes on a day to day basis, subject basis or throughout the same day as students become tired.
It is essential that the teachers at NCW remain flexible in their approach to each individual student. Part of their expertise is finding innovative ways to teach, always questioning whether something can be made easier or clearer of an individual student.
At NCW we strive to give students the confidence, self-belief and learning experiences that they need to fulfil their potential.
Intervention at NCW is an approach used across the college to support every student to reach his or her potential. All students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum and specialist teaching or support is provided for students requiring additional support (in literacy or numeracy). The intervention teacher works closely with all teaching staff to ensure that the development of the student’s learning is comprehensive. All staff are equipped with a range of strategies to support students to access the curriculum and become independent learners.
Students are assessed before joining NCW. During the Induction week and their first few weeks further assessments are carried out for those students identified with an area of need or weakness. It is important to establish a student’s needs as early as possible in their college career so we can provide them with the relevant support. In addition, referrals for additional assessment or support can be made throughout the academic year by parents, teachers and learning support assistants.
Intervention can take the form of sharing strategies with colleagues; supporting the student in the lessons; short-term withdrawals; or long-term interventions where a specific programme is written to support the student at the level at which they are working.
There is on-going monitoring of the intervention to ensure that it is effective in supporting the progress of students and that it enables students to build strategies which will lead to success.
In the Student Support Hub, under the guidance of the Learning Support Coordinator, students can receive support for organisational skills, social and emotional skills, study skills and homework.
The resources available at NCW for students who are blind or visually impaired set the College above other schools that are unable to provide the same resources.
The NCW Library (Learning Resource Centre, or LRC) is fully stocked with a comprehensive range of fiction and non-fiction books, textbooks and journals in standard print, large print and in Braille. The Librarian is also Head of Key Stage 3 and is always on hand to advise on reading material and help source books in the most appropriate format.
Dedicated Transcription Department
The NCW Transcription Department is a team of people who have the skills, knowledge and equipment to convert educational material into the format required by teachers for individual students. Supporting all subject areas, the department is open throughout the school holidays as well as term time responding to teachers’ requests for texts to be converted to large print or Braille, diagrams to be converted to tactile format or packs of learning resources prepared. The department can also record useful radio or television programmes which will aid learning.
The department uses a range of specialist in-house equipment including:
- A Zoom-Ex scanner and software to convert printed text to Microsoft Word
- Duxbury software plus a continuous Thiel embosser and single sheet embosser to produce Braille texts
- A thermoform machine to produce Braille text on hard-wearing, moisture-resistant paper
- A Zychem machine to produce tactile diagrams, images and graphs on specialist swell paper
- Specialist binding equipment
The department is well stocked with specialist papers including a range of coloured paper, Braille paper, swell paper and thermoform paper.
Our students never cease to amaze me. I see them develop such resilience and drive. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with such an inspirational group of young people. Sam Belton, SENCO