Cambian Dilston College

Cambian Dilston College offers a wide variety of opportunities for external accreditation through the Qualifications and Credits Framework (QCF).


We provide flexible routes to full qualifications and offer units of study from pre-entry to level 1 & 2, leading to awards, certificates and diplomas.


The QCF is a key component in our work to help young people with a learning disability gain life skills. Self-esteem is essential to young people progressing into adulthood. By offering learners the opportunity to undertake nationally recognised vocational qualifications, we help young people to gain confidence and lead socially active and engaged lives.


Here at Cambian Dilston College we are approved to run AQA award schemes which provide a vast range of qualifications to our students.


Basic literacy, numeracy, ICT and communication are embedded within the curriculum and in discrete sessions.

Work Experience


Students have access to a wide variety of work experience placements through the wide range of connections Cambian Dilston College has with local employers. Staff work closely with students to help them identify work related targets, reflect on their work experience placement and plan for their next step.


Students have the opportunity to experience a wide range of work experience and volunteering opportunities including:


✓ Land Base

✓ Conservation

✓ Retail

✓ Catering & Hospitality

✓ Heritage

✓ Animal Care


Careers Statement


The young people who attend Dilston College need a planned programme of activities throughout their college years to enable them to make choices that are right for them, and to prepare them for adulthood and the ‘world of work.’ 


To achieve this, Dilston College will provide an individualised and tailored careers programme to our students, alongside the opportunity to access careers education, impartial information, advice and guidance.


This may include (where appropriate):-

  • Comprehensive and impartial one to one guidance interview
  • Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, life skills, employability skills
  • Access to careers resources – iCould, Buzz Quiz
  • An encounter with an employer each year
  • Enterprise activities
  • Access to Labour Market Information resources
  • CV preparation and mock interviews
  • Work experience opportunities – internal/supported and external
  • Advice on destinations from the Transitions Team and job coaches
  • Information on destinations shared and discussed in annual reviews
  • Transition visits to next destination
  • Careers days
  • Posters and displays
  • Visits to a workplace
  • Attendance at Careers Fairs/employer events
  • Opportunity to achieve a recognised award eg Duke of Edinburgh
  • Open and taster days at other educational settings



Quality of Life Framework

What is the Quality of Life Framework?


The Quality of Life framework is the framework we use to enables us to measure and enhance the outcomes for our young people. It is our aim and ambition to continually improve the quality of life for our students and their families’ now and in the future by providing them with the necessary skills, knowledge, behaviours, opportunities and experiences. This will provide the high support needed for engagement which will enhance their lives and roles in society, developing positive identities from which they can make positive contributions, become active participating citizens and develop identities in preparation for adulthood.


At Cambian Dilston College we understand and recognise the importance of academic achievement, especially for young people who could potentially be the most vulnerable and marginalised in society. We also appreciate that it is just as important, the development of knowledge, skills and behaviours are essential to develop independence (control and/or choice), participation (Social, local community, college community, work, volunteering, charity work etc..) and the individual students well-being, considering what it looks like now and what the aspirations and ambitions are for the individual student in the future.


This is an approach that we undertake with the teams from Education, Care and Therapy all working in a collaboratively, holistic approach that is supportive of the young person and their families from a strategic, operational and curriculum perspective, informing and supporting all the different and important aspects to ensure the individual young person is at the centre of everything we do as a residential and day college.


This approach also supports the young person and their families through the identification of any issues they feel are relevant now or will be in the immediate future. Targets are set and supporting strategies are implemented with a focus on the improvement and achievement of the targets being met.


Working with Families


A core pillar of the ‘Quality of Life’ Framework is collaboration, which is fundamental to our approach in understanding how we can all help to support, develop and improve the quality of life for all of our young people now and in the future.  To fully enable and truly appreciate this we need to immerse ourselves and listen to what life is like for them and how it could be improved through support and other ways that could improve their quality of lives.


How we do what we do


We engage with young people, so they have the opportunity to tell us;

  • How they are doing?
  • What they are struggling with?


This information is obtained through a student ‘Quality of Life’ questionnaire which are sent out/conducted and completed dependent on the individual’s communication needs/requirements. The results inform keyworker and personal tutor (Keyworking Group) discussions and planning, which then in turn enables the students voice to be heard and allows their interests and aspirations to be used to support and shape their own personalised learning and care plans that fit around their complexities. The targets that are generated from this work are then set in collaboration with the student’s voice, aspirations and interests.


The Independence Plus Curriculum is reflective in supporting the Quality of Life Framework, enabling and allowing students to opportunities and experiences to develop, learn and master the important knowledge, skills and behaviours, which can be delivered in multiple ways dependent on the individual students’ needs and complexities. The ways in which they can be delivered are listed below;

  • The classroom
  • The home
  • Work Experience
  • Volunteering
  • The community (Local and/or College)
  • key working
  • Personal tutorial sessions
  • therapeutic sessions.


There are 10 key areas of focus in the Independence Plus Curriculum: 


• My Self Care

• My Environment

• My Future

• My Finances

• My Relationships

• My Organisation

• My Community

• My Safety

• My Wellbeing

• My Travel


At Cambian Dilston College, we are fortunate to be in a position where we value the significance of good parent/carer/guardian partnerships. This enables the necessary and supportive work with families to improve their current and future ‘quality of life’ as well that of their young person. The collaborative relationships and coherence produced, amplifies the significance of what positive parent/carer/guardian partnerships are and as such they cannot be underestimated. 


The college’s implementation and use of the ‘Independence Plus’ curriculum, is designed to plan and track the essential behaviours, skills and knowledge our students and young people need, to be prepared for their next steps, future destinations and adulthood. Progress within the ‘Independence Plus’ curriculum provides evidence that can be directly linked to each young person’s desired EHCP outcomes. The content of the curriculum includes aspects of Communication, Self-Management and Independence.


Each student has an ‘Independence Plus’ portfolio of evidence. The ‘Independence Plus’ profile is brought together through a collaboration between the student, staff and families and is co-ordinated by the Keyworker groups.


Our Multi-Disciplinary Staff Team


We have a fully engaged and highly specialised staff team that are complimentary to our aims and purpose and support the Care and Education teams, allowing us to provide the necessary advice, guidance and support to families.


  • Teaching staff who are specialists and highly skilled including a qualified SENCo
  • In-house Clinical/Therapeutic Team


To compliment and further demonstrate the true core competencies of Cambian Dilston College’s staff team, we also have the following individuals below, who are competent, knowledgeable, dedicated, well trained and nurturing. 


The support that is targeted at the individual young person, is focused and purposefully tailored to ensure the individual young person’s needs and complexities are met and supported. This in-turn supports each family and their unique set of individual circumstances with them being continually supported and put first. These supportive and targeted measures that are directed will in most case be guidance around the following below;


  • School Support: Issues relating to school admission, provision and transition
  • Family to Family Support: Putting families in touch with others for social support
  • Home Support: routines and environmental management of the home
  • Training: Specific training and/or advice on aspects of Autism/SEN such as
    sensory needs, anxiety management, communication development etc.

We expect to positively work and collaboratively cohesively with and for families in the   belief that this can only lead to supporting the best possible outcomes!


Find out more by clicking the links below:


The Quality of Life Framework

An Introduction to The Quality of Life Framework for Parents

Subjects include:

✓ Animal Care

✓ Art & Pottery

✓ Community and Leisure activities

✓ Computers and ICT

✓ Conservation

✓ Creative Play

✓ Duke of Edinburgh

✓ English and Maths

✓ Forest School

✓ Gardening & Horticulture

✓ Independent Living Skills

✓ Kitchen & Bakery

✓ Media

✓ Music & Drama

✓ Science

✓ Workshop

✓ Work Experience

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