Learner in art class

Frequently asked questions

Hopefully you will find all the answers to your questions below. But if you’d like to talk to someone, please give us a call on 01623 499111.

Learners / Citizens

What is the difference between learners and citizens?

Learners are people who are on a day or residential programme at Portland. Citizens are people who are in Day Services, Short Breaks or Independent Living.

What is Portland like?

Portland is a very happy and safe place where you can make lots of friends. Although we’re a very popular place, we keep our class sizes small.

Can I apply to be a learner?

To apply to be a learner with us, you will need to be aged between 16 and 25 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

You can find out more about applying here.

If you are aged 18+ and have completed your education but need support to develop your employability skills, you may be able to apply for our Progress with Portland programme.  For this, you will need to cease your EHCP and be able to travel to College independently.

How long will I be at Portland for?

That depends on what your goals are and what you’ve already achieved. Most learners are with us for 2-3 years, depending on funding.

Will I study alongside people with the same academic ability as me?

Yes. When you join Portland, you will be placed onto a Learner Journey that will best meet your needs. You will stay on this Learner Journey throughout your time at Portland.

We have four Learner Journeys, learners on each journey are working towards similar goals.

  • Communicate – You will learn how to express needs and wants in a variety of ways. 
  • Explore – You will explore ways to develop functional knowledge and understanding of life skills.
  • Develop – You will develop skills and ideas to help you be more effective in education or employment.
  • Demonstrate – You will demonstrate a range of skills, knowledge and understanding to support further education or employment.
What can I study?

Your Learner Journey will include one of our three Study Programme options:

  • Land-based and Trade Industries
  • Design Technology and Retail Industries
  • Service and Leisure Industries

We will help you choose whether to study an accredited qualification (from Entry Level 1 to Level 3) or a RARPA programme. Functional Skills, Maths, English and ICT are including in your Study Programme.

When can I start?

The academic year starts in September each year and new learners join us then. In emergency situations, there may be an opportunity to join at other times in the year.

What comes after Portland?

This depends on what your goals are. Our Information, Advice, Guidance and Transition (IAGT) team will help you plan your next steps. These could be to go into Further Education at another College, to find a job, to move into independent living or to join our Portland Progress programme.

Parents and Carers

What is the difference between Citizens and Learners?

Citizens are people who are accessing one of our Portland Freedom services; Day Service, Short Breaks or Independent Living. Learners are people who are on a day or residential education programme at Portland.

What is Day Service?

Day Service is a non-residential programme for people with a range of support needs aged 16+. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am – 4pm. Day Service citizens take part in activities that help with health and well-being, social inclusion and independence skills.

What is Short Breaks?

Short Breaks is a respite service for people with specialist needs aged 16+. A typical short break ranges from three days to two weeks. Short Breaks citizens take part in activities to help develop skills and confidence in lots of areas.

What is Independent Living?

Our Independent Living service is available for people aged 16-65. It aims to help citizens to develop confidence and independent skills to help them transition into more independent living after Portland.

What will my son/daughter do at college?

Further Education learners normally attend college 3 days per week between 9am and 4pm. Each learner will have a bespoke programme to suit their goals.

During the initial assessment process, learners are streamed onto a Learner Journey relevant to their abilities.  They will stay on this Learner Journey throughout their time at Portland.  They can choose a Study Programme which will focus on an industry they’re interested in. This programme will include either an accredited or RARPA qualification.

We will also support learners to improve their English, Maths and ICT skills. Depending on their needs, learners may be supported by a Learning Support Assistant. They may also access Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Positive Behaviour Support and Physiotherapy. This will all be determined during the application and assessment process.

Health and well-being is at the heart of our programmes and learners will be able to take part in lots of enrichment activities.

What happens when learners finish their programme?

Our Information, Advice, Guidance and Transition (IAGT) team will help learners to plan their next steps. These might be to progress onto other further education, to find employment, to join our Portland Progress programme, or to move into more independent living. Throughout the year, IAGT put on workshops and events to help learners prepare for their futures.

What Safeguarding measures are in place

Keeping our learners, citizens, staff and visitors safe is our top priority. All staff receive in depth training. Our dedicated Safeguarding Team provide support across all areas of the College and are available at any time to deal with safeguarding concerns. We also ensure learners and citizens are kept safe online through a range of protective measures.

Can I attend an open day?

Yes, we recommend coming to an open day so you and your son/daughter can see what a wonderful place Portland is. You can book onto the next open day here.

Community

How can I make a donation?

Thank you for considering supporting our charity. We are grateful for all donations, whether they are financial or equipment.

Click here to donate funds. 

If you’d like to donate equipment or other items, please contact our fundraising team.

I'd like to work for Portland College.

We regularly advertise a variety of roles.  Click here to view our current vacancies.

Can I volunteer at Portland?

Yes. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who make a huge difference to the lives of our learners and citizens in a wide range of roles. So, if you can spare an hour or more a week, we’d love to here from you.  Read more about volunteering with us here.

Is the Coffee Shop open to public?

We are in the process of building a brand new Coffee Shop in our Newstart Building which will be open to the public later in the year. We will let you know through Facebook, local media and on our website when the Coffee Shop is open.

Can I visit the campus?

Due to COVID and the need to restrict the number of people on campus, we are asking that all visitors have a specific appointment and reason for attending Portland.  If you don’t have an appointment with a member of staff or residential citizen, please do not visit the campus.

If you’d like to access the Woodlands, you can contact our Woodland Adventure Zone team to book a session.

We are hoping to plan community events again later in the year and we will keep you updated through our events page.