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Merton College - Skills for Working Life

Skills for Working Life offers individually tailored learning programmes for 16-24 year olds with particular learning needs.  The programme is based around personal and social development and sessions run four days a week with one teacher to about 10 learners.

What we provide

After an assessment, we'll tailor your curriculum programme to meet your specific needs. The programme is based around personal and social development, functional skills in maths, English and IT, and enrichment. These areas span a variety of activities including cooking, art, drama, work experience and travel training. You may study these at different levels, and you can work towards qualifications at Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3, and Levels 1 and 2. Courses can last up to three years and there are opportunities to progress onto other courses at the college afterwards.

Sessions run from 9am-3pm four days a week, with one teacher to around every ten learners. Each class has a teacher and a support worker. You might need extra support from a learner support worker - this could be one-to-one or as part of a small group. Support is also available from other specialist staff such as speech and language therapists and specialists in Deaf education.

South Thames College, Carshalton College, Kingston College are pleased to announce that they formally merged today, 1, August 2017.

The three Colleges will form the South Thames Colleges Group – with Carshalton College, Kingston College and South Thames College all continuing with their existing names. This will allow the colleges to continue to build on their successful reputations.

South Thames College’s Merton Campus will formally become Merton College, meaning the new group has four distinct member colleges.

Who to contact

020 8918 7777
Merton College


Merton College
London Road

Time / Date Details

When is it on
9.00am to 3.00pm
Session Information
Four days per week. Days can vary. Courses normally last 2-3 years.

Other Details


Age Ranges
16 upwards
Referral required
Referral Details

An education, health and care plan (EHCP) is normally required. 

Local Offer


We welcome learners with learning difficulties or disabilities and provide support to make sure you’re successful in your learning.

There are three main pathways for learners with learning difficulties or disabilities:

1. Mainstream courses with learner support
2. Skills for Working Life for students with a moderate learning disability
3. The Aurora Centre for students with autistic spectrum disorder and complex needs

Detailed Local Offer

1. Our service for learners with additional needs

This course can help you if you’re aged 16 to 25 with moderate learning difficulties and disabilities. The Skills for Working Life programme can be studied at Entry Level 1, 2, 3 or Levels 1 and 2.

You’ll develop skills for personal and working life including practical skills like travel training, how to use an ATM, and cooking. You can study the different areas at different levels. There are nine groups of 10 students who learn in a self-contained study area within the College.

3. Support available

Your support may include:

  • One-to-one support
  • Sensory support
  • Speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy
  • A social skills group
  • British Sign Language communicator and/or note-taker
  • Personal care
  • A health and safety plan
5. What you can study

The programme is tailored around your needs. You’ll be in a learning group with others with similar abilities. You’ll study:

  • The ASDAN Personal and Social Development qualification which includes setting goals for yourself, managing relationships, working with others, healthy living, budgeting, and employability skills
  • Edexcel Functional Skills qualifications in maths, English and ICT
  • Enrichment which includes cooking, art, drama, woodwork etc.

You’ll also participate in supervised work experience. The amount of time and the kind of placement will be tailored to you.

6. Course length and times

Courses run four days a week from 9am-3pm. Your course could last up to three years, depending on your progress. If you have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, you might need extra provision on top of your course. Please contact your local authority about this. When you’ve finished the programme we encourage you to move onto a mainstream course, training, an apprenticeship or employment.

7. Number of learners per staff member

Each class has 10 students with one teacher and one support worker. You may get additional support in a small group or one-to-one session.

8. After completing your course

Once you complete the course you could progress to a Level 1 vocational programme, an apprenticeship or employment. You could also choose to study on the Skills for Working Life course at a higher level.

9. Applying for the course

Most of our students are referred by their local authority. You can also apply using the application form in the college prospectus. This can be any time in the year before you want to enrol. Places fill up quickly so it’s best to get in touch early.

If you get in touch with us to ask for a place, we’ll ask you come in for an assessment. You’ll meet a teacher and discuss your plans for the future.

If we think Skills for Working Life is right for you, we’ll make you an offer within ten days of your visit.

10. Visiting the college

We have open events and activities throughout the year. You can find out details and register on our open days and events page on our website

If you would like to arrange a separate visit to find out more about Skills for Working for Life call 020 8408 6536

11. Telling us what support you need

You can tell us when you apply for your course – there’s an area on the course application form for this. You, your school or local authority need to send us your EHC plan, SEN statement and any other documents explaining the support you currently receive.

If you prefer, you can discuss your needs with one of our learner support officers.

If you are on a mainstream course, you may need support after you start your course. In this case, you can fill in a support referral form and take an assessment.

12. Financial help

You could qualify for a grant under the Government’s 16-19 bursary scheme. Read our financial support page for more information:

If you've been accepted on a higher education course:  and you have a disability, learning difficulty or medical condition that affects your learning, you could be eligible for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). For details on eligibility and how to apply, read our DSA information booklet:

You should apply for DSA as soon as possible and we can help you with this.

If you are aged 16-25 and have an EHC plan or SEN statement you could get free college meals. This is a daily allowance of £2.41 which is automatically uploaded to your college ID card to spend in college canteens.
To receive this, you or your parents or carers must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided there is no entitlement to Working Tax Credit and the household annual gross income is no more than £16,190)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Pick up a Learner Support Fund application form from the Advice Centre or Student Services. You can apply at the start of your course and will need to provide evidence of your household income. You’ll be told if you are eligible when you submit your form. After your application has been handed in, you’ll receive an email to your college email address to let you know you when your first payment will be put on your student ID card

13. If you don't meet the entry requirements

If you don’t have GCSE maths or English you’ll need to do an online assessment when you enrol. Please let your assessor know if you need a paper copy, large print, coloured paper or any other format.

14. Tracking your progress

You can track your grades with a system called ProPortal. You can use this to see your success, attainment levels and progress on your course. You can get onto ProPortal outside of college.

If you have a personal tutor they will monitor your progress and review your social, emotional and educational needs.

15. Staff training

All staff are trained in disability awareness, health and safety, equality and diversity, and safeguarding.

Many staff are also trained to work with people who have a range of learning needs such as autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Staff supporting higher needs students have training in other specialist areas. These include Makaton and continence management.

Our staff have an annual observation and appraisals to identify additional training needs.

Our staff have an annual observation and appraisals to identify additional training needs.

16. Traineeships, apprenticeships, supported internships and work experience opportunities

We have recruitment and business teams to help you progress into apprenticeships or traineeships by matching you with placements and helping you with your application. For more information visit the apprenticeships page on our website here:

17. Extra-curricular activities

Our communal areas can be used by all students. These include libraries, a gym and a social room with computers, a pool table, Wii, PS3 and Xbox. In these areas you can get support such as extended book loans, ergonomic equipment, adjustable tables, and stations with accessible software and enlargement apparatus. If you need additional support to help you use these facilities, we will work with you to provide this.

18. Career advice and support

You’ll receive career advice when you are approaching the end of your course.

If you have an EHC plan or SEN statement, we will talk to you about your aspirations during each annual review. This will include careers advice and planning for adulthood.

Throughout your course you’ll work on employability, interview practice, CV writing and workplace skills.

19. If you are unhappy with your support or course

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of the College, you can speak to your tutor or the head or the school or service concerned. If this hasn’t resolved the issue, you can read our complaints policy and procedure and fill in the complaints form online. This can be provided in an alternative format of your choice.

20. Contact details

Learner support for Skills for Working Life

Last updated: 28/08/2018
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