Pathways to Employment


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"I was unsure about how Pathways would help my son, but I've seen an immediate change in his engagement and happiness. He is doing what he loves and is motivated to attend school everyday."

Parent, Oct 2018

"I'm ecstatic that he's settling in (to his Pathways to Employment programme) so quickly. He’s significantly happier now then he’s been for a long time, and he’s actually participating in learning … it’s a miracle!!!​."

Parent, July 2020

Pathways to Employment programmes

The Pathways programme is specifically designed for Key Stage 4 and 5 students who would benefit from a bespoke off-site programme. Pathways is a full-time programme, and is not therefore an interim solution, and should not be seen as an alternative to the part-time Outreach programme. Pathways to Employment is designed to be a substantial placement, for one or more years. The key elements of the Pathways placement are as below. 

The broad aims of the programme are to maximize students’ employability and independent living skills, and to give them the best possible chance of securing employment, while minimizing the risk of  becoming NEET. Each individual’s programme is unique, designed to meet the LA’s (EHCP's) specific objectives for that student, and the individual’s worthwhile aspirations.

The balance of academic and practical activities in each individual’s programme are decided according to whatever is needed to achieve the agreed short-term aims. If it is necessary to focus initially on practical activities to build trusted staff relationships, to enable the student to subsequently engage academically, then this could be done. Where a student already has a particular job or career in mind, then his / her programme would be tailored to achieve the necessary steps for him / her to succeed in this.  

This programme is run off-site only, out in the community; not at Cressey College. The locations used will depend on the individual’s programme, but would typically include local libraries, sports facilities and colleges.

The daily timings are normally 0930 – 1430, with the exception of Fridays which are 0930 – 1130, the rest of the day being for individual study / coursework. In the event that a student is enrolled on a College course on Fridays, where the day extends beyond 11.30, there would instead be an 11.30 finish on another day.      

Subject to advice from the parent / carer / LA, we can where necessary start a student on a reduced programme initially, of perhaps two or three days per week, with a view to increasing to five days per week as soon as the individual is able to manage this.

We normally provide 1:1 staffing. However if necessary we can provide 2:1, if safeguarding considerations require this. The programme would normally be delivered by a small team of 3-4 Teaching Assistants (TAs), one (or two) of whom would work with the student each day, in rotation. In addition, instructors from external agencies (such as boxing or riding instructors) may also work with the student, where this is appropriate. Each individual's programme would be supported and overseen by an experienced Senior Teacher, and by the Head of Cressey's Off-Site Department.

Pathways students are on Cressey’s Roll, and we provide full Annual Reviews which are be held at Cressey College. We also support access to multi-agency interventions, where this is appropriate.

(Please note that the photo below shows Cressey students doing Street Art, as part of their Art studies; so this is NOT graffiti!)

"He's has never had the opportunity to engage before, he's always just been excluded. Cressey (Pathways to Employment programme) has been a godsend. This is the most settled he has been in a long time."

Parent, July 2020

Pathways Programme Content

The programme content would include a combination of some or all of the following.

  • Maths & English. This may involve working towards OCN, Functional Skills or GCSE qualifications. All lessons would be at whatever pace and level is right for the individual student. If GCSEs are not appropriate for a students then we would provide the necessary functional skills tuition to support a future vocation or College placement, as / if appropriate. 
  • Vocational courses and / or College courses. Where appropriate we arrange places on suitable vocational courses, typically for 2-3 days / week. This might involve anything from Vehicle Mechanics, Catering, Hair & Beauty or Painting & Decorating, depending on what best motivates the student. The student would be accompanied throughout by a Cressey staff team member, and the costs of courses would be met by Cressey.
  • PE, Sporting activities and educational visits. We also offer a wide range of PE / sporting activities, such as swimming, horseriding, trampolining, boxing and gym, to name but a few. Subject to practicality, a wide range of activities is potentially available.
  • Work experience placements. We can potentially arrange work experience placement(s) in whatever sector the student wants to be employed in.
  • Independent Living & Employment skills. We aim to develop a wide variety of specific employment and independence skills, as needed. This might include things like developing social skills, confidence and emotional resilience, using public transport, budgeting, money management, shopping, driving theory ... and so on.
  • Job applications & Interview technique. We would help the student with job applications as appropriate, and with other aspects of job-hunting, such as interview technique.
  • E-learning Qualifications. We also offer a wide range of OCN e-learning qualifications in other relevant subjects, and other e-learning courses. This would include appropriate literacy and numeracy OCN qualifications, if the student is not yet ready to study at Functional Skills levels.
  • Other vocational qualifications. We can include other relevant qualifications needed to enable employment, such as the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) qualification, for those seeking work in the building industry. Depending on employment aspirations, we can explore what qualifications are needed, and include the necessary steps in the programme.