Rosie Braithwaite, now in her third year
Rosie Braithwaite, now in her third year

College to showcase expertise

2 March 2020

Young people with special education needs and disabilities and their parents and carers will have an opportunity to find out how they can achieve their full potential when Henshaws Specialist College in Harrogate opens its doors for a series of Open Days this spring.

The College works with young people aged from 16 to 25 to help them overcome the challenges they face in gaining independence.

One current student who has already benefited from her time at College is Rosie Braithwaite, now in her third year. Rosie has profound and multiple learning difficulties and physical difficulties and joined Henshaws after attending a special school.

Rosie had attended a special school before Henshaws. At school Rosie had been learning to use a switch to enable her to use a computer to demonstrate her choices. Rosie had never used an iPad before and did not have her own switch so her aspiration when she joined the College was to use her own switch with an iPad to make choices of activities for her leisure time in order to give her a meaningful and fulfilling adult life.

Vice Principal Lisa Hart said:

When Rosie started at college we assessed her skills and looked at setting goals for Rosie to achieve this challenging aim in her three years at college. Firstly our OT team worked with the education team, specialist equipment supplier Remap and Rosie to create a bespoke switch for Rosie to use that was attached to her wheelchair on a mount so that she could use it whenever she needed to. Rosie was then set targets to work on using her switch to make choices using a computer, along with starting to become familiar with an iPad.

In her second year Rosie got her own iPad with specialist software and worked on making choices using this software along with her switch in her IT sessions. She made excellent progress.

Now she has her iPad and switch with her in all College sessions and is working on making choices from three options using this equipment in a variety of sessions from community inclusion to art.

Rosie has worked hard on her college programme and will have the skills when she graduates to take control over making choices about how she spends her time.

The March Open Day is already fully booked but there are two more on Thursday 2 April and Monday 11 May. They include a Q & A session with the Senior Leadership Team who can described how the College’s work has helped other students.

The events, which run from 10.15am until 1pm, are particularly aimed at young people and their families looking to start at College in September 2020 or 2021. All applicants must have an Education, Health and Care Plan. Information on how to book can be found at

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