A starting point unique to you

If you are joining Gateway there's no wrong time to start, even if it is after September. You can join when it's best for you, all year around and start from Entry Level up to Level 3 (A Level equivalent) on a personalised, flexible learning programme.

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.

More than just classroom work

We bring in outside providers, like The Phoenix Education Trust, to deliver interesting and inspiring workshops as an optional part of the Gateway programme.

Starting college, and it's not September?

Then don't worry - you're not alone. We're here to help make the decision about studying at the College as easy and exciting as possible, whenever you decide to join us.

Gateway is a programme for 14-18 year-olds who are not currently in education, employment or training. It is an inclusive and supportive environment, where we listen to what you have to say and together, create a plan that is just for you with lots of support along the way.

There are many different reasons as to why you might be starting college after September. You may have been out of education or work because of caring responsibilities, illness, behavioural or mental health problems, or possibly not having found direction since leaving school or during A Levels.

This is where Gateway can make a world of difference. We work closely with you, outside agencies and parents/guardians to ensure you have opportunities to progress onto your next step, whatever that may be.

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."

Tanith Walkden

Tanith Walkden

Tanith grew up in Cornwall and studied History at university.

Her experience in education started with a role in the Animal Care department at Cornwall College, after working as a Support Worker for adults with learning disabilities.

She joined Abingdon & Witney College as an Learning Support Assistant whilst training to be a teacher and is now Curriculum Manager for Gateway.

"I love seeing how happy our students are having progressed to a new course once they have left Gateway, or getting a job once they have left the College. I love seeing their faces as they realise that all their hard work has been worth it!

There are lots of options for students to improve their confidence and learn about themselves, discovering hidden talents. We support them to make these positive changes throughout their time in Gateway and beyond.

At the College, they have access to amazing opportunities that will help them make the transition into a career."

Did you know?


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 Course Listings


School Leaver GFAM200P

The Gateway Centres act as a flexible educational centre within the College in order to engage and prepare you for progression onto a suitable course, employment or training.Based at Abingdon and Witney campuses the Gateway Centres offer supportive a...

7th Sep 2020 - 2nd Jul 2021

Monday to Friday


Abingdon Campus

View course details

School Leaver GFWM200P

The Gateway Centres act as a flexible educational centre within the College in order to engage and prepare you for progression onto a suitable course, employment or training.Based at Abingdon and Witney campuses the Gateway Centres offer supportive a...

7th Sep 2020 - 2nd Jul 2021

Monday to Friday


Witney Campus

View course details