Pioneering Worthing teacher aiming to start a university

Kate Wilson quit her job as a teacher to launch pioneering projects for children with special educational needs. Picture: Liz Pearce
Kate Wilson quit her job as a teacher to launch pioneering projects for children with special educational needs. Picture: Liz Pearce

A writer who set up a pioneering class for children with special educational needs is now looking to set up a university.

Kate Wilson wants to prove that anyone can break into mainstream businesses with the right support, so she is launching two new ventures: The Sand Project and Sands University.

Kate, who lives in Brighton Road in Worthing, said: “I am really passionate about creating work opportunities for disadvantaged young people.”

After working at Oak Grove College for five years, 40-year-old Kate decided she wanted to follow her passions: writing and helping young people with special educational needs.

But after launching a creative writing class in August, Kate decided she wanted to do more.

She said: “Just working with creative writing did not feel like enough. There is still so much work to do to bring our young people with learning difficulties into the public domain.”

So Kate launched The Sand Project in conjunction with Oak Grove College.

She explained: “The Sand Project idea is to help young people work in mainstream businesses.

“We are working towards setting up a high street store which will be a second hand shop and a café.

“We are doing small events like the Christmas fair to raise money.

“The students are gaining the skills and confidence to go that one step further.

“The school have been really supportive.”

While the Sand Project is getting off the ground, Kate also has her eye on the future: Sands University.

Kate said she was inspired when her and two teacher colleagues stayed at Foxes Hotel in Minehead, which is entirely run by people with special educational needs.

“What we want to create is a university experience for people with learning difficulties Sands University.”

Kate wants to buy a house so that students can learn all the skills they need to live independently.

She also plans to reach out to local businesses and support them in hiring people with special educational needs.

“It’s about working with those industries and creating placements so each of our students is learning on the job.

“We have thought about every element of living independently and boiled it down into a learning opportunity.

“We’re working on taking them out of that system where they are dependent on adult and social services.

“It will be a massive saving in the long term.”

Kate is looking for local businesses to get involved in either of her projects.

She can be contacted by email at kate@thesandproject.co.uk.