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A life changing support network

The support built in to the Gateway programmes is really what makes the difference and changes young peoples’ lives. You will be taught by experienced tutors who take time to listen and understand; your programme will be designed to enable you to get used to college at a pace you feel comfortable with and our programmes include mentoring and coaching and support you to understand and achieve your goals.

A life-changing support network

We provide an excellent support and mentoring structure that works with you and that has made a big impact on many students. Your Gateway mentor will work closely with you to help you settle in at college, and help you to achieve your goals.

So what is Gateway?

Gateway supports young people who have been out of formal education to take steps into a vocational education pathway, whatever career they aspire to have.

Our course for 16-18 year olds is designed to support those who have missed a significant amount of their education to overcome their barriers to learning, gain confidence in the college environment and take steps onto a vocational programme – students on this programme will be working at a range of levels and will be offered a personalised programme to meet their needs and aspirations.

We offer opportunities to access education for 14-16 year olds who are Electively Home Educated on a part time programme focused on developing maths and English and preparation for future study on a vocational course – you may also be able to access some practical lessons in a vocational area as part of your programme.

Young people aged 14-16 who are on a school roll can also access college through our school link programmes with some of our local schools – if you are interested in these programmes you should speak with your current school to see if they take part in this scheme.

Staff Profile: Lisa Rideout

Staff Profile: Lisa Rideout

Having worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry for over 12 years, Lisa decided upon a change in career due to starting a family and started working in the College's Foundation department in 2007 as a Learning Support Assistant.

Discovering her passion for working with young people students who sometimes find life a struggle, she completed her PGCE at Oxford Brookes University in 2014, before landing her dream job in the Gateway department at the College.

"Here, every day is extremely rewarding, fulfilling and gives me the opportunity to ensure I can give the students the best experience possible. It's wonderful to see students realising their potential and having that 'lightbulb moment' when everything falls into place.

Teaching allows me to inspire and make a difference in as many young peoples lives as I can. I believe that by helping students become better versions of themselves is vital to the success of our community, and that's something I am very passionate about."

Staff Profile: Sarah Hendy

Staff Profile: Sarah Hendy

A former student at the College, Sarah studied on the Business and Finance pathway. After completing college, she worked at various businesses before deciding to retrain as a teaching assistant, wanting to make a difference to young people's lives.

She started in a local primary school before returning to the College, this time a a member of staff! Sarah is now a Learning Support Assistant on the Gateway programme.

"Being able to enable students to make informed judgements, to inspire them to reach beyond what they believe is possible; that's what makes this job so rewarding.

In Gateway, we are constantly motivating students to be the best they can be and reminding them that they are unique, there are no challenges that can't be defeated and that they can do absolutely anything,

It's also about becoming work ready, through the many vocational options available to students, and building up their resilience and confidence.

Most of all, we show them how to be kind, honest and true to themselves and others."

Staff Profile: Steve Read

Staff Profile: Steve Read

With an academic background covering the subjects of mental health, learning disabilities and nursing, Steve has worked at the College for 10 years in various departments.

He started as a Study Coach before progressing to become a Student Performance Manager, working 1:1 with students. He then turned to teaching, becoming a Lecturer on the Travel & Tourism programme, and is now a Lecturer in the Gateway department.

"Seeing the students develop, realise their dreams and then achieve is the biggest buzz I get from teaching. They can often start their course not believing in themselves but once they finish and progress onto a full-time course, an apprenticeship, or go into the workplace, they discover confidence that was always there, they just needed some guidance to find it!

The support students receive is massive, for Gateway students especially. They will have skills and qualities that need developing and this is the perfect place for them to do so."

Did you know?

In our 2017 inspection, Ofsted highlighted that at the College has "approachable teachers provide good individual support for learners, including mentoring."


Previous school:
Henry Box School

Chloe joined the Gateway programme in 2014 and progressed to complete her Level 2 AAT qualification. She is now a full-time Accounts Assistant at All Wheel Trim in Witney.

"Gateway was really useful to me and my tutor Lisa gave me so much support and encouragement.

She helped prepare me for the world of work and to decide what I wanted to do with my life as I had no idea. She gave me guidance and helped me build my confidence. She helped me gain the skills which led to me getting a job.

In my current role, I'm getting lots of experience and one day I'd like to do more bookkeeping qualifications."


Previous school:
UTC Oxfordshire

It's a more independent atmosphere here - it's down to me now whether I attend and it makes me more responsible. The College gives me trust, which I didn't have before, and they offer really good support.

Steve my tutor is really encouraging and he treats you with respect. He makes sure everyone enjoys the lesson and he makes learning fun.

I'm studying on the Hairdressing course and in the future, I want to cut hair for children with learning disabilities who are not comfortable going to the salon.


Previous school:

I like everything about the College; it's friendly, the people are nice and helpful, and they offer lots of support with my English (it's my second language).

The tutors are very understanding and kind. They explain everything very clearly and make learning something to look forward to.

I wanted to learn English and maths before I study Hair & Beauty full-time, and Gateway was the right option for me to progress in a supported environment.

Your future career

Progressing from a Gateway programme can lead to getting a part- or full-time job, another course at college, supported training in the workplace, or even an apprenticeship!

Gateway courses


School Leaver GFWM200P

Gateway supports young people who have been out of formal education to take steps into a vocational education pathway, whatever career they aspire to have. This programme is designed to support those aged 16+ (ie after Year 11) who have missed a sign...

9th Sept 2024 - 4th Jul 2025

Monday to Friday


Witney Campus

View course details

School Leaver GFAM200P

Gateway supports young people who have been out of formal education to take steps into a vocational education pathway, whatever career they aspire to have. This programme is designed to support those aged 16+ (ie after Year 11) who have missed a sign...

9th Sept 2024 - 4th Jul 2025

Monday to Friday


Abingdon Campus

View course details