Ashford College SEN students Train Travel Training.


Orientation morning at Ashford International Station 9 May 2023, Train Travel to Maidstone East, 16 May 2023.

A crowd of students study the departure boards
A crowd of students on the platform, receiving advice on rail safety and etiquette

Special education needs (SEN) students and their tutors from Ashford College were guided around Ashford International station to help familiarise them with the station.  The students have high anxiety and it was felt they would benefit from an orientation event prior to travelling by train the following week.  During the orientation event the students were shown the electronic screens and taught how to work out which trains go where, at what time and from which platform.  They were shown where to buy tickets and how to accesses assistance if required.  They then explored the platforms learning about the yellow line, tactile paving, how to access assistance if anything is dropped on the track and they watched the trains being dispatched.  Their orientation morning helped them feel reassured and safe to move around the station and they said they looked forward to travelling by train the following week.

Students pose in front of Iggy the dinosaur.

A week later the SEN students (12 in total, 1 blind, 1 deaf and all with ADHD and speech and language difficulties) undertook a train travel training journey to Maidstone East.  They were shown various station projects from the window as they passed through the adopted stations.  On arrival at Maidstone East station they were greeted by friendly Southeastern staff and shown their train being dispatched.  They were then taken behind the scenes to see how trains travel along the network.  Two lucky students made public train announcements which they were very excited about for some time.  All students said they would like to travel on a train again however, some felt they would need someone to help them to buy their tickets and ensure they were on the correct train.  Referring to the train trip and making the announcement, Pharrell said, “It was amazing” and was buzzing all the way back to college!  Samira, who is deaf was aided by a tutor signing for her and by the end of the trip said she would feel confident to travel by train.  Kent CRP would like to thank Southeastern staff for supporting and funding these travel training sessions.