New college campus opens to support vulnerable learners

A multi-million pound campus has opened in Leeds to support the most vulnerable learners in West Yorkshire.

The Vine, in Burmantofts, has been purpose-built – amidst a national shortage of such specialist provision – to meet the needs of young adult students with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

Run by Leeds City College, the Leeds City Council owned building replaces the college’s former site in Headingley.

Featuring a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms and rebound facilities, it offers support to learners who otherwise may have had to travel far from home.

Sarah Simpkins, deputy director of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at Leeds City College, said: “Ensuring our learners get the very best education and support they need is our number one priority, and we’re thrilled that these new facilities, on their doorstep, will do just that.

“We have a bespoke curriculum which will sometimes require a level of personal and specialist care that could include using hoists, physio, hydro and rebound therapies along with other treatments and equipment to meet the needs of the students.

“We’re pleased our new space accommodates these specialist facilities and we’re looking forward to seeing our students benefit and thrive from them, as we equip them with the skills to prepare for adulthood.

“Our students are diverse, with multiple and complex needs; some with severe medical and debilitating conditions. Despite these barriers we continue to have high aspirations around developing their independence.

“But to be able to effectively do this in the long term we, and the further education sector, need the funding to be able to deliver.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for economy, culture and education, added: “We’re thrilled the new site has been completed and is now open to provide specialist learning places to 19 to 25-year-olds who need it.

“We have worked closely with Leeds City College to ensure the new site meets the needs and demand of those who access it, and the feedback we have had already is overwhelmingly positive.”