THE success of young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) has been celebrated at a specialist further education college in the Vale.

Beechwood College in Sully, a specialist day and residential service for young people over the age of 16 with an Autism Spectrum or Asperger’s Syndrome, recently hosted its annual Students’ Awards Day.

The families of 57 students travelled from across the country to watch the presentation in a marquee in the college grounds.

Unlike mainstream education establishments, Beechwood College measures success based on completion of learning programmes, with a range of goals set with the students, families and existing support workers when they arrive.

These goals can include both formal qualifications and development of life skills, focussing on current and future needs, and their own personal goals like sport.

This year, 63 qualifications were achieved from the awarding body Agored Cymru, made up of accreditations in art, music, enterprise, creative media and drama.

All 57 students achieved non-accredited learning in home cooking skills and leisure activities.

Awards presented included an eco award for students that have done the most to promote ecological and environmental projects, an entrepreneur award for students who have run an enterprise scheme and shown the most entrepreneurial skill, and a work experience award for students that have shown the greatest commitment to their work experience opportunity.

Students finishing at Beechwood College this year have met more than 95 per cent of their learning programme goals.

Angela Kent, director of education and care at Beechwood College, said: “Our awards ceremony is a much-anticipated annual recognition of our student successes.

“Our goal is to provide a very broad range of experiences and skills for each individual, preparing them for later life and developing their skills in their areas of interest.

“It is a tribute to the hard work of our students and the efforts of the Beechwood College team that the students have all achieved such a broad range of qualifications.

“Learning even the simplest of skills needed to build independence can be challenging for young people with Autism, so we are extremely proud of everyone.”

Opened in 2004, Beechwood College is a specialist day and residential service for young adults over the age of 16 with a formal diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The college’s goal is to provide opportunities and experiences for each individual, regardless of ability, to prepare them for later life.