National Star College and UCW Unite for Inclusive Practice Workshop


UCW was delighted to welcome students and support workers from National Star College for an insightful workshop focused on speech and language therapy. This session brought together second-year BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs, Disability, and Inclusive Practice learners from UCW and National Star College students, creating a learning experience that emphasised mutual understanding and collaboration. 

For the workshop, learners with disabilities from National Star College shared their personal experiences and insights. They discussed their specific needs and expressed their perspectives on effective support, highlighting the importance of maintaining independence and seeking assistance only when needed. This exchange strengthened the understanding of UCW learners on the diverse needs of individuals with speech and language disabilities. 

A core theme of the workshop was to challenge assumptions about needs based on appearances or the aids used. National Star students emphasised the necessity of supporting dignity and choice while delivering essential care and support. Their message to all was to never judge what someone can or cannot do merely by their looks or the tools they use. 

While the National Star learners found it challenging coming out of their comfort zone to speak to UCW students, they still found the experience incredibly rewarding. Alex: “I thought I wouldn’t be able to talk to the students at Weston College because I haven’t seen them before and I don’t know them, but I managed to brave it out and do it. It felt good. I found it hard answering their questions, cos I didn’t know what they would ask. I know it’s OK, I can talk to people – but I still find it hard. I managed to talk with them with the [self-help] prompt cards I made in SLT.” 

Sam: “I nearly didn’t go to Weston College because it was in Bristol and I am afraid of things triggering bad memories for me [Sam had treatment for a significant illness in Bristol in May 2014] but I did it and I feel really proud of myself. Talking to Mum and Dad about my fear of flashbacks helped me to relax a bit. I had a lot of support from Mum and Dad, Chardez (SLTA – Speech and language therapy assistant.), Sharon (SLT – Speech and language therapist) and David (PLCT – Personal Learning Co-ordinator – Tutor). I’m glad I changed my mind about going.” 

UCW students had the opportunity to engage directly with National Star learners, asking a wide range of questions about their care preferences and needs. These exchanges, ranging from the specific to the general, helped to build a stronger understanding of personalised care approaches. 

As a part of the Weston College Group, UCW has close ties to the Weston College SEND Centre of Excellence, allowing for excellent education for those studying SEND. 

The workshop was not just an educational experience but a chance to practice shared learning. It provided a fantastic platform for communication and collaboration between National Star College and UCW, benefiting all participants.  

The UCW students at the workshop said: “The session was really powerful and eye-opening to see and hear the voices of first-hand experience, it really focussed our learning and brought everything to life.” 

For more information about the BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs, Disability, and Inclusive Practice course at UCW, click here 

To find out more about National Star College, click here.