What Do We Do?

In 2012 Walnuts Care and Milton Keynes College created Walnuts College. The College is an educational provision for school leavers who have social, communication and interaction difficulties and who cannot access mainstream College. Learners work towards accredited qualifications that combine independence, living skills and, for some, the world of work.

Our learners receive 1:1 support and teaching is delivered by specialists within the field of Autism. 

Walnuts College follows Milton Keynes College’s academic year, of 34 weeks tuition.

NB : We do not provide personal care for our learners and have no shower facility at our Galley Hill site.

Is There A Need?

Whilst statutory education within the area of Special Educational Needs can maintain support until young people leave school, it is at this point that their education frequently ceases and local alternatives are very limited. The College was established purely as a result of parental demand and the model we have chosen recognises this, begins to meet this demand and increases the chances of local young people to fulfil their potential.

Who Is Involved?

  • The College’s principle partner is Milton Keynes College, where the learners are registered;
  • Walnuts College is pleased to work alongside Thrive Occupational Therapy Services. Colleagues there offer a different perspective to our staff and their practical recommendations for ways to support the learners add value to our provision;
  • Milton Keynes Council has recognised the progress that the learners are making, and it is they who commission the service.

Who Benefits?

  • Families – within the governmental agenda of family-led principles and parental choice, family involvement is encouraged. The benefits that each of the learners’ families are experiencing have been made clear to us. Testimonials from satisfied parents tell us that the prospects of their children living a more normally-functioning life and taking their place in society have already increased as a result of the programme’s input, and the opportunity for such a socially-marginalised group to benefit in these ways has given all those concerned at Walnuts College the greatest of pleasure.
  • Support agencies – as a result of this programme young adults are being placed in an environment that is appropriate to their needs; consequently, colleagues at Social Care have more places available for others who need their services.
  • The public purse – the programme, which is funded centrally and commissioned by the Council, prevents the need for expensive, out-of-County placements for the young people involved.
  • The local community – many of the activities that the learners undertake are in venues that are accessed by the general public. Walnuts College adopts a socially-inclusive approach and our learners are exercising their right to join activities often inaccessible to them. This interaction contributes to the increased knowledge and awareness of the wider community. Walnuts College believes that as a result of its work, stronger communities will result.

Where Next?

The initial objective that Walnuts College set itself – to provide individual, worthwhile and relevant post-school education for those who cannot access mainstream College – has been met. As our knowledge of the young adults’ needs has grown we are constantly revising how we can best achieve this objective.