Bridge College

Bridge College student

Bridge College is a non-residential specialist FE college.

Bridge College, the Together Trust’s specialist education college for students aged 16 to 25 years with disabilities, complex needs and autism opened their state of the art facilities on The Manchester College’s Openshaw Campus in East Manchester in September 2012. Bridge College is a centre of expertise for students with learning difficulties in the North West of England.

The co-location with The Manchester College allows Bridge College not only to increase students’ opportunities for inclusion and independence but also to enhance its offer to young people with the most complex disabilities. The centrally located facility within the Greater Manchester conurbation enables young people to have their complex educational needs met much closer to home without having to attend a residential college. Our mission is to create an inclusive learning environment where young people are able to make the transition to adulthood with better skills, independence and communication.

Our specialist teams are able to support students to achieve their aspirations and to develop a range of essential skills for learning, living and work.

Our curriculum includes:

  • Citizenship: effective communication and confidence building, community action, fundraising
  • Life skills: travel training, shopping, meal preparation
  • Expressive arts: music, dance, visual arts, pottery, drama
  • Vocational skills: work experience both in the college and with local employers, volunteering and work/pre-work skills
  • Health and well-being: healthy eating, sport, relaxation, swimming
  • ICT: use of switch operated equipment, specialist software, PowerPoint, photostories, electronic communication aids.

Bridge College has four courses:

  1. ASC: for young people with autism spectum conditions
  2. Entry: for students planning to do further study in FE Colleges, eventually to go to work/volunteer and gain some level of independent living
  3. Pre-entry: also for students who may work or volunteer, but who may also use adult day services, community services and aspire to as great a degree of independence as possible
  4. Sensory: for students with complex needs who are likely to go on to supported living and use of day and community services.

Each student has an Individual Learning Plan to assist them to develop the skills needed for adulthood. Our experienced staff team includes professionals in education, therapy and care to help students to develop the skills and knowledge they need to make the most of future opportunities.

The Bridge College community shares the following core values:

  • Students come first and are at the centre of what we do
  • We help students to secure success in their future lives by aiming high
  • We employ a multidisciplinary approach to support students to achieve and excel in speaking for themselves, making choices and meeting challenging goals
  • We celebrate all achievements
  • We embrace diversity and treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • All members of staff have a role in helping students to learn
  • We strive continuously to improve and to innovate
  • All of us are responsible for ensuring the success of Bridge College and its students.

Following a rigorous process of quality assurance specifically focused around service practice within our autism services, the Together Trust is delighted to have achieved recognition from the National Autistic Society by achieving Autism Accreditation for Bridge College. This demonstrates to service user’s families and commissioning officers the quality of service provided by the organisation.

Photographs of the new Bridge College facilities in Openshaw can be found on our Flickr page here.

photographs of Bridge College

"Learners make very good progress in developing their confidence, communication skills, independence and ability to make choices for themselves."


Ofsted, September 2013

"It’s a very exciting time for Bridge College following its relocation to state of the art facilities in Openshaw. We offer a unique centre of expertise in specialist education with highly specialised learning support including speech and language, physio, occupational and hydro therapies for students aged 16 to 25 years"

Lisa Duncalf, Bridge College

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Chief Executive Mark Lee | Together Trust Centre, Schools Hill, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 1JE | t: 0161 283 4848

Established 1870 | Registered charity No. 209782 | Registered in England 301722 | Vat No. 611 4005 06

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