Disability college 'resource for community' says charity

Student using large screen
Image caption A student uses an extra-large touch screen as part of her learning

A disability education charity says a specialist college for young adults with additional learning needs could help boost resources in Wales.

The National Star College, which operates in south west England, has opened its first Welsh college in Mamhilad, near Pontypool.

SNAP Cymru says sharing its expertise could improve provision elsewhere.

It could also mean people were not forced to move in order to continue their education, the charity added.

The further education college offers a specialised sensory-based curriculum for young people with complex and multiple learning disabilities, with an emphasis on learning through the creative arts.

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Media caption'We need every college to learn from centres of excellence'

Speaking to the Newyddion 9 programme, Lindsay Brewis from SNAP Cymru said the expertise of National Star, which has its main campus in Gloucestershire, should be used as a "resource for the community".

She said: "We need every single further education college to learn from centres of excellence such as National Star College and take up some of their methods and techniques - take forward their ideas and put them into practice locally, so that for the vast majority of young people with additional needs and disabilities, the local college will be the best college."

Making sure young people could received their education locally was crucial, she added.

"When these young people lose the link with their community, we do them a grave disservice," she said.

Morgan Jones, who lives near Corwen, Denbighshire, left Wales aged 16 to go to the National Star campus in Cheltenham.

Image caption Morgan Jones left Wales to take up a course at the National Star campus in Cheltenham

He has returned and now lives in Ruthin, where he works at Denbighshire council's computer technology department.

He told Newyddion 9 going to the college "changed his life" and helped him get a job, as well as letting him live independently.

"I've always said I wanted my mum and dad to be parents, and not carers," he said.

But he added he would have liked to have had his education closer to home.

"There is demand in Wales for a place like National Star," he said. "Certainly, I would have liked to stay in Wales."

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