Supported Learning

Working in partnership with over ten local authorities, we can provide a highly personalised Greater Manchester local offer for learners with special educational needs or disabilities and an inclusive, supportive learning environment.

At The Manchester College, we offer a friendly, supportive transition, working with families and young people as early as Year Nine, and joining person-centred reviews in school by request. Contact our Transition Team to discuss how we can support you to get ready for college.

Our progression routes are specifically designed to support young people into employment or further education, and we’re extremely proud of our strong track record of young people special educational needs/disabilities achieving their aspirational career goals.

Our supported curriculum has been designed to remove the barriers to learning for all individuals with learning difficulties, providing them with personalised tailored help and guidance on their journey to independence. Our ‘Routes to’ pathway courses can be customised to meet the requirements of individual learners, helping them develop a range of skills associated with community living, employment and education.

On our Supported Internship programmes, young people have access to training in a real workplace, with host employers including Manchester General Hospital, Manchester Airport, and Manchester City Council, as well as a range of high profile businesses at Media City including the Lowry and the BBC and other high profile employers.

Our students regularly excel in their roles and the experiences help them continue on an inspiring, ambitious career pathway.

All of our courses take place in classrooms that reflect a strong focus on employability and independence, as well as the development of essential transferable employability skills. These classrooms contain rise and fall worktables, high quality equipment, and an increasing supply of assistive technology resources to encourage independent learning. Accessible bathrooms and personal care spaces are readily available, and our large classrooms have sufficient space to accommodate learners with mobility difficulties.

Work experience is undertaken in real work training areas, allowing learners to access support to develop applicable work skills and build individual CVs. Work training spaces onsite include a working café outlet and a retail unit, and we partner with a large number of host employers for experience off-site as part of our Supported Internship courses.

Our highly qualified, specialist support staff are able to provide person-centred support for learners, in accordance with Education, Health and Care plans as agreed with your home local authority. We have won numerous excellence awards for our Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) support programmes too. 

Through our pick and mix matrix timetabling, we can offer an extremely personalised study programme for students, incorporating a ‘tell us once’ approach to learning support and achievements in line with EHCP outcomes. We are continually improving our services and aspire to be able to do this as we're a central hub for the Greater Manchester SEND working partnership.

If you have Specific Learning Difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia, getting advice and support from us at The Manchester College is easy. You can tell us about your learning difficulty or disability on your application or enrolment form, or if you’re already on a course, just ask your tutor or Head of Department to refer you to the Supported Learning Department. You can also email us at

When we have received your referral your details will be added to our Learner List and a SpLD Support Worker will get in touch and invite you for a support interview. This interview will decide how best to support you on your course. It could include:

  • An invitation to a Specialist Study Skills group to provide strategies such as planning, organisation skills and making notes
  • One–to-One or small group sessions as and when needed
  • Assistive technology including a computer reader or writer
  • Exam concessions
  • Signposting you to other areas of support if needed
  • A Personal Learning Plan that provides information for other staff members with advice on how best to support you in your learning

If you have a visual impairment (one that is not rectified by wearing glasses), there are a number of ways you can let us know so we can provide you with the relevant support and advice. You can tell us on your application or enrolment form, or if you’re already on a course, just ask your tutor or Head of Department to refer you to the Visual Impairment support service. You can also email us at

A member of our support staff will then meet with you and discuss your needs, creating a Personal Learning Plan that details the best ways for tutors to support you in class.  This could include modified reading material and course books sent to where you sit in class.

We can also provide assistive technology to support your learning needs and promote independence. This could be a magnifier to enlarge text on screen, or a Dictaphone to record notes in class. Sometimes we can also provide one-to-one support and orientation to the campus where you will be based.

If you are a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user, you will receive high quality and professional in-class support from a Communication Support Worker (CSW) who has trained to a minimum of Level 3 BSL.  They will sign everything the tutor and other students say and will voiceover everything you sign, to ensure your full and equal access to the classroom content.  The CSW can change the wording in handouts so that the English is clear and they can also check over the English in your written work, if you request this.  

If you have a hearing loss and prefer English-based support, then we can provide an Electronic Notetaker (ENT) in the classroom who will type everything the tutor and students are saying onto a laptop.  You can choose to have a ‘live relay’ system where there is a 2nd laptop in front of you wirelessly connected to the ENT’s laptop, so that the spoken words are instantly shown on the screen in front of you.  Or you choose to have a set of summary notes which will be the main points delivered in the session.  All notes will be emailed to you as a Word document for reference and revision purposes afterwards. 

At The Manchester College we have a team of experienced and dedicated staff who provide support for people with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, across the range of courses. 

We work with people from application through their time at college and through to the next steps whether  that is Adult Care, Further Education, Higher Education or employment. We are committed to supporting aspirational outcomes and removing barriers to learning whilst studying at the college.

Out transition team can support access to college from as early as year 9 and on request will liaise with schools and families to prepare bespoke transition packages and contribute to personal learning plans to ensure we provide the most appropriate means of support for their courses and ambitions. 

Our highly personalised approach to support will ensure learners, parents and multi-agency workers work in partnership to agree the a programme that provides strong foundation for learning and moving towards independence. Support can take place in class, via an assigned key worker and advocate, out of class skills for study groups, personal care and increasingly support to use assistive technology for truly independent learning and inclusive education.

We understand that often, for people with disabilities there are additional barriers to learning and students might need help to study and contribute to a wider college experience. The support that provide is not just about what happens today but developing the skills to empower and prepare our learners for their next steps.

The Manchester College is committed to supporting all learners through the universal approach to support. The Supported Learning Department work closely with Greater Manchester partners, local authorities and special and mainstream feeder schools to ensure we identify at the earliest opportunity any learner with a SEND who requires support over and above that provided through our stage 1 and stage 2, Quality Teach First and targeted support approach. 

Our Transitions Team work at the forefront of the Supported Learning department to ensure learner support needs are identified and support plans are in place prior to the start of the learning programme where ever possible.

Universal, graduated support systems

Stage 1 support - Quality First Teach and differentiated curriculum

Stage 2 support - Targeted Support, Mentoring, Counselling, ALS Stage 3 support - Specialist EHC plan, high needs support
Routes to Bespoke, SpLD  study programmes Routes to Academic & Technical Progression Routes to Employability & Skills

RARPA - Entry 1 Routes to Community and Independence 

14-16 Schools links day release

SEMH engagement programme

Entry 2 Routes to Learning

Entry 3 Routes to Skills

Entry 3 Routes to Employment (Pre- Internship)

Level 1 & Level 2 Supported Internship

Achievement of EHCP outcomes 
and bespoke transition to 
next steps
Vocational, technical and professional study programmes 
Sustained employment

Professional CPD: IBSL British Sign Language, OCR Supporting Dyslexia, C&G Learning Support L2 & L3

For more information about The Manchester College Local SEND Offer or to discuss your personal support needs contact Transition Officers:  

Telephone: 0161 674 3532.