ALS & SEND Team Spotlight - MK College

ALS & SEND Team Spotlight

Successfully navigating further education can be challenging, especially for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

At Milton Keynes College Group, the commitment to inclusivity and support for SEND students is led by Chris Lefcovitch, the Head of ALS (Additional Learning Support) & SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).

Chris brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for ensuring every student has access to the resources and support they need to succeed. In this interview, Chris shares insights into his role, the evolving landscape of SEND at the College, and the comprehensive support structures designed to help students thrive.

Read on to learn more about how Milton Keynes College Group is making a difference in the lives of SEND students and their families.

Q: What is your role at Milton Keynes College Group?

A: I coordinate all ALS for mainstream college programmes and am responsible for statutory procedures related to SEND, which includes being in charge of our EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) coordinator and his role in leading on reviews.

Q: How has the SEND landscape changed at the college in recent years?

A: We’ve seen significant growth in SEND at the college over the past few years. Our recent Ofsted inspection highlighted our SEND provisions as one of two outstanding areas. We now have just under 200 students with EHCPs in mainstream programs, and we support over 1,500 students with additional needs across the college.

Q: Can you explain the support structures for SEND students at Milton Keynes College?

A: We have a comprehensive support system, which includes teaching assistants and in-class support. We create learning profiles for students with SEND, including those who also have an EHCP, to share with all relevant staff the learners’ areas for support and strategies to support the development of these.

We also have safe spaces, like the Green Room, coordinated by our Autism and ADHD Manager and her staff. These spaces provide a calming environment for students with social, language, and communication needs to develop their skills informally.

Q: What resources are available to support students with specific needs?

A: Our libraries offer reader pens, and we have assistive technology on all our laptops. These resources are part of our universal offer, which supports all students, not just those with EHCPs. As a SENCO, I’ve got overlays to help students with visual processing disorders and dyslexia. They just need to come by and see which colour works best for them, as it’s different for everyone.

Q: How do you ensure students receive appropriate exam support?

A: We can make exam access arrangements, providing accommodations such as smaller exam rooms, breaks, and the assistance of a scribe or reader. These adjustments help reduce stress and create a supportive exam environment.

Q: What kind of ongoing training and professional development do staff receive regarding SEND?

A: We deliver training to all tutors and lecturers at the College on topics like SEND diagnosis, inclusive teaching, and EHCP processes. This training ensures that all staff are equipped to support SEND students effectively.

Q: How do you manage the transition for new students with SEND?

A:  Our goal is to support students from the moment they apply. Before students start, we reach out to families to offer chats and transition support. We track all SEND students using our ALS tracker and ensure they feel comfortable articulating their needs to relevant staff members.

Q: What advice would you give to parents of SEND students to ensure their children receive the best support?

A: Communication is key. Parents and students need to inform us about their needs so we can take appropriate action. Advocating for themselves and staying engaged with us helps us support themto the best of our abilities. With open communication and collaboration, we can ensure all students have a fulfilling and successful college experience.

Q: How can parents and students reach out for support or information?

A: They can email us at Students can also find me in person in room G11 at the Chaffron Way campus or in the Wellbeing room near the Reception at Bletchley campus.