Skip to content ↓

Join Hope Valley Pathways (Post-16 SEND provision)

Hope Valley Pathways is a specialist post-16 provision for young people with SEND, preparing them for life and work. It has its own building situated on the same site as Hope Valley College, which allows privacy yet also an element of integration.



Head of Hope Valley Pathways: Mrs Amanda Grego

Hope Valley Pathways Administrator: Mrs Helen Fisher

We understand that there are many considerations to be made with regards to potential Post-16 provisions and welcome young adults and their parents/carers to come and visit us to assist with their decisions.

If you would like to call with regards to what we offer at Hope Valley Pathways, please call on 01433 620555 to arrange a date and time that suits.


How to apply

If you would like to make an application, please contact Derbyshire Local Authority on 01629 536503.

Please note that students can only be considered if they have own EHCP.


about us

In 2012, a learning hub was initiated at Hope Valley College for young people aged 16 to 18 who sought to continue their education, build their vocational knowledge and skills and prepare for adulthood.

Since then, Hope Valley Pathways has continued to provide young adults with additional and specific needs a wide range of subjects, work opportunities and life skills to assist them within their transition into adulthood. Our facilities and staffing are tailored to address both the shared priorities of learner needs and the uniqueness of each individual young person. We are designed to accommodate up to 24 young people between the ages of 16 and 18 years. We have the flexibility to meet the individual needs of each young person and provide the appropriate balance between individual, paired and small group learning experiences. The holistic needs of all students are taken into account to maximise the successful potential of enjoyment and achievement for all. Lessons are delivered and supported by a range of suitably qualified teachers, tutors and mentors, with the staffing ratio being dependent upon the actual group size and individual needs.


Our ethos

Our ethos at Hope Valley Pathways is that the students will always be at the heart of the teaching and opportunities sought to ensure that a person-centred approach is achieved. As a provision we endeavour to provide experiences that will develop confidence, knowledge and skills so that the young adults can play a full and active role in society. The main elements of the curriculum will be drawn from Foundation Learning, covering Entry Level 1-3. Where necessary, students will be able to access Level 1 and Level 2 qualification suitable to their current level and interests. The teaching of many aspects of the curriculum will be tied together in an applied context e.g. the teaching of maths might be strongly related to the notion of household budgets.

“My son loved his three years in Pathways with its friendly, kind staff and relaxed, safe and supportive environment. He felt it was home from home and loves how he’s welcomed when he gets chance to call in.”

– Mrs Anne Anderson (parent)


What we do

Teaching and Learning

While there will be elements of traditional teaching, especially with the basics of Literacy and numeracy, the main focus of teaching will be through an experiential model. Students will be given the opportunity to learn through real life experiences, having the time to think about how it went and what happened and then applying this in a new context to continue to build up their understanding of the community around them.

IEPs and Reviews

Each student will have an IEP that will build on the fundamentals of their EHCP and match this up with the hopes and aspirations of each student. This will feed into the annual review which is very much led by the ‘voice’ of the student.

Transition to Post-18

To ensure that each student has a successful transition beyond Hope Valley Pathways, the transition into Post-18 will begin early in Year 12. For many students this will involve starting to form a plan and in Year 13 ensuring that the plan has been established and implemented. This may involve attending other institutions during Year 13 or beginning extended periods of work experience so that students can have a high level of support to ensure a smooth transition into this area.


Post 16 aims to provide a person-centred teaching and learning environment, in which the curriculum is wide-ranging and allows students to gain qualifications based on their skills and abilities. To this end we use Functional Skills tests in Numeracy and Literacy, which allow them to apply their learning to practical contexts. We also use a highly personal approach where some students are able to access academic qualifications which match their particular skills, abilities and interests - this has included GCSE Maths, Statistics, Computer Science, Sciences, and SAGE Accountancy. Students also complete the Jamie Oliver Award, which allows them to gain recognition of their cooking skills. We also offer several BTEC Qualifications in both Childcare and Vocational Studies, which again allows students to demonstrate their experience and knowledge of different curriculum areas, and gain academic credit for this.

In addition to these more formal lessons, students also have the opportunity to take part in Sports activities both indoors and outdoors, have the opportunity for informal Music participation in both singing and improvised playing, and participate in Science lessons which allow students to experiment and investigate areas which interest them. Our students also can gain practical experience on the allotment, where a lot of cross-curricular learning takes place linked to the Numeracy and Literacy, and also allows for involvement in building and hard landscaping projects as the site is slowly planned and developed by the students. Finally, we recognise that it is important for our students to learn how to relax and socialise in a positive way, and so are given opportunity to suggest and participate in different activities, start their own clubs, and use the school library for reading and research into their own particular interests.

“Students’ progress on their bespoke courses is good. There is a clear emphasis on developing literacy and numeracy skills to be applied in ‘daily life’ activities. Students enjoy their time in the post-16 provision. They speak highly of the positive relationships they have with each other and their teachers. This positive learning environment allows students to make good progress. For example, in one work-related qualification, all students were successful. Students have a variety of opportunities to develop their personal, social and employability skills. Such opportunities enable the students to grow in confidence and be actively involved in the community.”

– Ofsted Report for Hope Valley College (5–6 December 2017) : 16 to 19 study programmes 

Ofsted rating: Good

Core Skills/Specialist Skills

All students will under-take qualifications that look to build on these fundamental elements. A good grasp of basic literacy and numeracy skills is a vital element of further education Post-18 or a move into independent living and or employment. ICT will also be embedded within the teaching, focusing on how to use ICT within everyday life, along with important elements of e-safety. Each student will be given the opportunity to pursue skills that they have an interest in, which may ultimately form part of their further education at Post-18, or directly link to the area of employment that they wish to pursue.

Vocational/Employment Skills

This will help students to build an understanding of the community around them and the possibilities that are open to them. Tied into this will be an opportunity to experience and understand the world of work. This will enable students to begin to formulate a plan that could eventually lead to employment. Students will have a range of opportunities to experience different types of work environments.

Life Skills

This will focus in enabling our students to become fully integrated members of their community as well as helping them to develop a wider understanding of their role in the community. This will tie in with elements of the PSHE curriculum to support students in developing their personal and social skills.

Health and Well-Being

Throughout the curriculum students will be given the opportunity to learn about the importance of living a healthy life that incorporates the right foods and exercise. Elements of the curriculum will also build towards therapeutic activities that help to create a positive sense of well-being, so that our students are able to face the challenges of life in a confident and capable fashion.


Art History is taught as a key part of our students Art education. Students are shown examples of art throughout history and are encouraged to share their opinions and debate with each other. We use art as a means of thinking about success and failure by discussing, "What is good Art?", and as a way of examining the world around us, covering topics such as body image, confidence and the unique voice of each artist - how can we use our own voices to talk about how we experience the world around us? Students create their own work in response to the topics covered and are encouraged to be creative and confident in the value of their work.

Food lessons

  • Developing skills in food preparation and cooking. Students plan dishes which they will then prepare and cook safely and hygienically.
  • Learners develop an Enterprise where they use skills to serve food and drink in a safe and hygienic manner to staff in the school setting.
  • Year 12 and 13 students all make use of the post 16 allotment where they gain understanding of how different fruits and vegetables grow, harvest and used in food preparation within the food lessons.

The Allotment

Now a key part of the curriculum the allotment provides students with the chance to continue their learning outside of the classroom. With our unique location students benefit from the sights and sounds of the National Peak District whilst creating their own projects and watching them grow and develop. The inevitable success and failure that comes with growing your own produce allows learners to value the joy that can be found in the process and not just the outcome. As a result students transfer these new skills into the classroom becoming confident and enthusiastic learners and developing a positive growth mindset. The produce from the allotment is grown and harvested by the students themselves and directly feeds into their cooking lessons.

"It's like playing Minecraft with my own hands but the diamonds are potatoes."

– Post-16 student



We aim to try as many different sports and activities as possible. Over the years we have had a go at basketball (with a professional coach,) football, indoor rowing, (we won silver in a Derbyshire wide competition!) table tennis, cricket, French cricket, rounders, dodgeball, athletics, running, dance, (with a proper dance teacher,) ballroom dancing (with a Blackpool champion!) badminton, cycling, pilates, yoga, weight training, boxing fitness, plus many others including our favourite game, crash football, which involves diving on to a crashmat.

Through sport students have been able to build their cooperation and teamwork skills and gain confidence by developing awareness of their growing abilities. The joy of participation helps to keep minds healthy and supports the rest of our curriculum by providing a contrast to the rest of the curriculum.

One of our students found it difficult to walk a mile on flat roads when he started at post 16. He expressed a wish to do something about this, so little by little we supported him to improve his fitness. He started using the school gym twice weekly, learnt to ride a bike and managing 16 miles within a few months, walking up Mam Tor, Lose hill and Win Hill. The latter via Parkin Clough, one of the hardest climbs in the Peak District. This culminated in him achieving his long term goal of walking home, a distance of 10 miles over a 1700 foot hill.

Duke of Edinburgh Award

A few years ago a group of 6 students from Post 16 attempted to gain their bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award. In order to gain this they had to complete 2 self supported expeditions and then for at least 3 months each, volunteer for a charity, take part in a sport or physical activity and practice a skill. The students learned first aid, navigation, group safety, camp cooking and many other skills in order to be self-reliant on their trips.

The group successfully completed their two expeditions, carrying all their own food and equipment as well as successfully map reading their way through the Peak District. The real challenges came with getting into the community to complete the other sections of the award. One student enjoyed volunteering for the local cubs, (an opportunity he was reluctant to undertake initially,) that he carried on helping as a cub leader long after being awarded his D of E. Other gained great skills as they worked in charity shops, helped out with summer clubs or coached swimming. In the end 5 out of 6 students were awarded bronze, which represents a fantastic success rate for people who probably find it a little harder than their peers to access community opportunities.

Work experience

Since Hope Valley Pathways began in 2012 Work Experience has been central to how we develop the experiences and skills of our young people. Our students are encouraged to talk about what work they have done, are interested in trying and what interests can be used in workplaces.

We then encourage students to try out placements, going on visits to see the workplace, taster days and then often going onto long term placements. We have seen many of our students skill base and confidence grow due to having access to workplaces.

Each student will have common targets to meet in their work placements and are encouraged to develop awareness of Health and Safety at Work, Safe Moving and Handling Practice, Communication and Team Work Skills. There are often also person centred targets to support our students to be an asset to the employer and become rounded employees.

"We have collaborated with the college to provide local work experience within the Hope Valley for the students. Watching the growth and development in confidence and skill set over the course of a few weeks has been outstanding. Within YHA no two days are the same- the students have been flexible and understanding to the needs of the hostel whilst completing maintenance and housekeeping in a busy education centre."

– Alison Boyle, Deputy Manager at YHA Castleton

Hope Valley Pathways has been really well supported by local businesses to provide a varied range of work opportunities. Almost 20 workplaces in the Hope Valley have supported out students including Cafes, Shops, Hope Valley Garden Centre, Bike Garage, Moorland House, The Caverns, Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools, Castleton Youth Hostel, The National Trust, Peak Park Rangers, The Hollowford Centre and Hope Cement Works.

As many of our students come from outside of The Hope Valley we also find placements near their home communities. Our students have been engaged at Morrison’s and Waitrose in Buxton. In Whaley Primary School, Chapel Gym, Thornbridge Brewery, The White Hall Outdoor Education Centre, The Methodist Church, Gernon Manor Elderly Person Care Home, The Coop in New Mills and Whaley Bridge, High Peak Foodbank and The Donkey Sanctuary in Flagg.

We continually work to make the Work Experiences positive and always welcome any other workplaces who can support the development of our work experience programme by becoming involved.


16-19 tuition Fund

The 16 to 19 Tuition Fund is one-off funding for the 2020 to 2021 academic year only. It is ring-fenced funding for schools, colleges and all other 16 to 19 providers to mitigate the disruption to learning arising from Covid-19. You can view our report on how we have used this funding here.