New college in Sutton for young people with special educational needs and disabilities

22 Feb 2024

Councillors have unanimously agreed plans to expand the Sutton Life Centre at Alcorn Close into a college for 16-25 year olds with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

A key part of the Council’s ambitions for Sutton is to ensure young people with SEND are well-supported and receive a high-quality education with opportunities for their future.

The new college centre will be operated by the Orchard Hill College, a specialist college that offers life-changing learning opportunities to students with complex needs. It is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted - the government’s inspection agency for standards in education, children’s services and skills.

The building will retain the current community library and sports facilities as an important part of the Sutton Life Centre.

It is proposed that the college centre will open in The Life Centre with a partial opening in September 2024 and full occupation in April 2025, subject to building programme works.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Chair of Strategy and Resources Committee, said: "The Council wants to make our borough more inclusive for all, ensuring that young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are well-supported and receive a high-quality education.

“This new use for the Life Centre will create much-needed additional capacity for Sutton’s 16-25 year olds with SEND. The college will accommodate 72 learners in total - an increase of 40 available places - by moving from the current location at Robin Hood Lane.”

Kelly Phillips, Principal from Orchard Hill College said: “We are excited to provide increased educational and vocational opportunities for young people with SEND and this new college centre will enable us to deliver our innovative curriculum to support more young people with SEND into employment opportunities.

We look forward to continuing our strong collaboration with the Council and to maximise community use of the centre”.