Thornbeck College

Thornbeck College is an Independent Specialist College providing personalised programmes to autistic and neurodiverse individuals


Working together to inspire, support, celebrate and equip autistic and neurodiverse people to fulfil their potential in life.

The ambitious curriculum at Thornbeck College has a clear vision designed to give learners the knowledge, skills and behaviours to promote their social and economic inclusion. Learners are aged 16+ and are autistic and/or neurodivergent. All learners experience differences in the way they process information which requires specialist support in order to remove barriers for learners to engage and learn.

The college has a responsive curriculum to ensure that it matches the needs and aspirations of all learners by providing personalised learning programmes, taking account of their starting point and planned destination so that all learners can participate, achieve and make progress. 

The college works to prepare all learners for the next stage in their education, employment and/or lives through a coherent and sequenced learning experience. We structure the curriculum according to four main programmes.

These are:

  • Learning for Living Programme
  • Supported Internship Employability Programme
  • Sensory Programme
  • Preparation for Work Programme

The Preparation for Work Programme has four vocational pathways to choose from including:

  • Catering
  • Business Administration
  • Horticulture
  • Retail

The curriculum design allows for movement between programmes to provide a more personalised learning journey.

The curriculum is planned to:

  • Equip each learner with the skills, knowledge and behaviour needed to fulfil aspirations for learning, employment and independence
  • Develop skills to enhance employment opportunities in real-life situations including meaningful work experience 
  • Develop learners independence in their everyday lives and take an active part in their local communities
  • Improve communication skills
  • Empower learners to have greater independence in making relevant personal choices and decisions about their lives
  • Increase self-confidence and resilience
  • Enable learners to develop strategies to regulate their own well-being
  • Equip learners to be responsible, respectful and active citizens who contribute positively to society 
  • Enable learners to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • Develop functional skills that learners are able to transfer into all aspects of their lives