Learning support worker walks with student down snowy path

Derwent ASC Provision

The Derwent ASC Provision at East Durham College works to provide an all-round education for learners with Autism Spectrum Conditions.

Set up in July 2011, the Derwent ASC Provision was set up to cater for young people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Conditions who are not ready to access mainstream education.

With strong relationships and links with many agencies who are connected with learners, and their support, the Derwent ASC Provision provides an inclusive place for learners with ASC to grow and pursue their own goals and targets.

Our ASC Provision

Every learner at the ASC provision is provided with a personalised, destination-led programme designed to help them pursue their individual goals.

The Derwent Provision has access to all of the curriculum areas with East Durham College, including:

  • Houghall Campus in Durham - incorporating land-based courses including Animal Care, Agriculture and more
  • Peterlee Campus - incorporating courses such as art, ICT, media, sport and more
  • Technical Academy (also in Peterlee) - incorporating courses such as engineering, gas/plumbing, electrical and more

The Personalised Programme

With our personalised programme, we work closely with each learner, and their support, to find the right course area(s) for the learner to ensure their growth during their time at the college.

Our individual accredited and non-accredited programmes fall into one of the following categories:

  • Full-time programme within the Derwent ASC provision
  • Mainstream programme with ASC support
  • Supported internships

Which route is best for the learner will be decided depending on the personal needs of that learner. The Derwent provision will work with learners, and their support, to ensure the personalised programme is the perfect fit for that learner.

The personalised programme is designed to build the learner's skills; with the correct programme in place, we can help learners to gain, or improve, their social, life and work-related skills.

The Derwent ASC Provision also provides close support for the learners' transition into and out of the provision, into mainstream programmes at East Durham College, and is committed to promoting health and wellbeing to enable each learner to achieve their full potential, both physically and mentally.

Student Development

During their time at the Derwent ASC provision, learners explore their personal and social development through travel training, independence, budgeting, cookery, employment skills, etc.

We provide a curriculum that supports the ‘Preparing For Adulthood’ agenda which involves preparing individuals for paid/voluntary employment and promoting community inclusion by accessing leisure facilities, all of which support individuals to live a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. This allows learners to explore their personal and social development through travel training, budgeting, cookery and employment skills where there is a strong emphasis on enabling learners to become as independent as possible.

The Derwent Provision also gives learners the opportunity to gain qualifications - these include:

  • Independent Living Skills
  • Personal Progress
  • Employability

We offer individual maths and English support to help the learner engage and progress. We also offer various vocational tasters to meet their interests and discover possible future employment opportunities.

Contact the Derwent ASC Provision

Would you like more information about the work we do at the Derwent ASC Provision, or would you like to arrange a visit? You can contact the Derwent ASC team using the following information:


0191 384 7915 or 0191 375 4700


Michelle Forrest, Programme Area Leader - Derwent ASC Provision

East Durham College’s Houghall Campus is committed to providing a supportive and welcoming environment for all our students. The campus, some of which is over 80 years old, has seen over £40m invested in new facilities over the last 4 years. However, there are still some aspects of the site which are not fully accessible and would cause an issue for those with limited mobility or wheelchair users; and due to the nature of the site, adjustments may not always be reasonable at this stage. The College is committed to further investment and improvements of the site, as we work towards ensuring the campus is as assessible as possible. If you have limited mobility or are a wheelchair user and wish to undertake a course at the Houghall Campus, please contact Student Services on 0191 375 4710 in the first instance to discuss your needs and options.