Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities

10 key tasks - Key task 8: Helping people learn and develop

Important things for commissioners and managers to do

Systematic Instruction is a very person-centred, individualised approach. It is also very deliberate and methodical. It does not leave learning to chance, and has good results in helping people to develop skills.

An analysis is carried out that identifies the actual tasks involved in doing an activity that someone wants/needs to learn, along with any related routines, such as preparation, safety requirements or travel. Support is offered to the individual while actually doing the activity - to enable them to do it safely and adequately. The systematic instruction approach analyses the amount of support required and at what stages. Techniques to help the person develop the necessary skills include breaking the task down into smaller parts, direct assistance/coaching, adapting tasks or sharing tasks with others to get the activity done. These approaches are used only if required.

Important things for staff supporting people in community-based activities to do

Practice examples

As an Improving Choices Pathfinder site the Norfolk Learning and Skills Council has been working with the local authority and Norwich City College to develop and design a 'skills for the job’ curriculum. People will be able to access the parts of mainstream courses that they need in order to fulfil their curriculum requirements. It will overcome many of the barriers around assessment and accessible learning that have existed to date.

The Transition Learning Programme at Rawlins, a community college in Leicestershire, is a funding partnership between the local adult learning service, the Learning and Skills Council, social services, Connexions and health services. It is a 30-hours a week, 38-weeks a year provision, for people with complex needs. Learning takes place for 16 hours a week and is mapped to pre-entry curriculum. People can attend for up to three years, and receive social care support to enable them to participate in the educational programme.

People supported by the Brandon Trust in Bristol were saying they wanted 'to do what the parks department do’, but there wasn’t an amenity horticultural qualification. A local park wanted more community help, so the service teamed up with the collegeto access LSC funding for a parks-based training project. As the Brandon Trust manager said, the project ticked all the boxes: 'It was able to be funded by education, it met the wishes and needs of our learners, it gave us lots of opportunities to link up with other partners, and it made people very prevalent in that community’. The project is now in its second year, and the team are developing a new qualification which will be accredited through the FE college.

Mencap Now is a model of provision that aims to provide personal development opportunities for people who are at a transition point in their life It is based on time-limited tenancies and multi-dimensional funding with clear links to local learning provision, wider learning opportunities and employment support. It focuses on opportunities and learning, with the support people need, to achieve progression - to ordinary lives. Projects are developing around the country.

One of the learners supported by the LSC East of England Pathfinder project is now having an individualised learning package that involves both a course at the local further education college and adult education classes. He has epilepsy with seizures at night, so his college day starts at 11 a.m. and he continues on into adult education classes at 4 p.m. His direct payments are contributing to the support package. See Learning for living and work in Links and resources for more on this.

Links and resources