Deaf young people – three years of policy and campaigning  

NDCS - Ralph Hartley: Supporting calls to improve careers advice

Ralph Hartley, Post-16 Education Policy Advisor

I’ve been working for nearly three years at NDCS focussing on making sure deaf young people get the best possible education and training when they leave school. This post looks back on some of the things we’ve been working on.

England – The Raising of the Participation Age

From next year young people have to stay in education or training until their 18th birthday. Some deaf young people need longer to access the opportunities available, so making sure they stay on at least until 18 will benefit them. The government also wants education to focus on skills in English and Maths and access to work experience. We want to make sure this benefits deaf young people too and we will be working to update our guidance on supporting them in Further Education (FE), take a look at the current document here.

England – The Children and Families Act

The Children and Families Act was passed this summer and there are some positive changes to the way the law works for young people. The new Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) will apply in FE Colleges, which is different from the current system. Lots of deaf young people go to FE colleges so this is a good opportunity to make sure they get the right support like an interpreter, a note-taker or a Teacher of the Deaf.

NDCS is working with the government to ensure the SEN Code of Practice, reflects these changes to the law properly. We are also producing guidance with the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) to help local authorities with the changes.

Take a look at our FAQ on SEN reform for more information.

Wales – SEN Reform

Welsh government proposals also involve giving a stronger legal backing for some young people to get the support they need in FE. Legislation will not be introduced until 2016. NDCS will be making sure that the changes help deaf young people achieve their potential throughout Wales. In particular, NDCS will be making sure that recent changes to the way that colleges are funded are monitored properly.

Scotland – Close the Gap

NDCS commissioned research from the University of Edinburgh on deaf young people’s post 16 experiences. The research shows that deaf young people in Scotland are regularly falling behind at school and college and missing out on opportunities to go to university and get a job. NDCS used the research to create the Close the Gap report which contains 5 recommendations for the Scottish government. It also contains recommendations for local authorities to provide better support for deaf young people – like using our The Template for Success.

Across the UK – Careers Advice

Across all four countries, NDCS is concerned about the access that deaf young people have to good information, advice and guidance to help them make decisions about their future.

We have worked with the Scottish careers service (Skills Development Scotland) on the Template for Success but we are also trying to make sure the information we provide ourselves is as useful as possible to deaf young people and their parents. Take a look at the Leaving School section of our website. Deaf young people will find the sections on Work and Careers, University and College and Apprenticeships on the Buzz really interesting too.

We’ll continue to work with national careers services across the four countries to make sure they support deaf young people properly and we’ll also be producing guidance through NatSIP to help schools, colleges and local authorities.

In my three years at NDCS I’ve worked in these areas and many more, including trying to improve Access to Work, Disabled Student’s Allowances, education funding in England and access for deaf young people to the examinations system. There will be challenges ahead, but I know the NDCS Policy and Campaigns team will continue to work as hard as possible to make sure deaf young people can achieve their hopes and ambitions for the future.

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

NDCS, Sam Aldridge

Sam Aldridge, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)     Halifax bank apologises for asking deaf man to pay £25 for transaction that hearing people could do for free, Andy Palmer, Limping Chicken

 A deaf man from Slough was told by staff at his local branch of Halifax Bank that he would need to pay a £25 admin fee if he wanted staff to resolve a simple  banking problem that people who can hear would be able to do for free.

2)   Young people should be at the forefront of charity campaigns, Leon Ward, Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Charities can learn a lot from the FGM campaign, which has been successfully fronted by a young person, says Leon Ward.

3)   Meet the extraordinary woman who became a health campaigner after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer aged 23, Lizzie Edmonds, Mail Online 

After several rounds of chemotherapy, Kris, who will never be cancer-free and receives monthly treatment in hospital, is one of the most prolific cancer campaigners in the country thanks to her charity CoppaFeel!

4)   Lobbying is crucial to our sector so why no ‘Institute of Campaigning’?, Brian Lamb, Third Sector

A threat to charity campaigning is posed not only by the lobbying act, but also by our own inability to demonstrate that we can make a difference in the long term.

5)   Students could be paying loans into their 50s, Katherine Sellgren, BBC News

Most students will still be paying back loans from their university days in their 40s and 50s, and many will never clear the debt, research finds.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

NDCS is supporting calls to improve careers advice

NDCS - Ralph Hartley: Supporting calls to improve careers advice

Ralph Hartley, Post-16 Education Policy Advisor

Everyone agrees that young people need proper careers advice. The job market is increasingly complex and it is more and more difficult for young people to see how to get from where they are, to where they want to be.

Deaf children and young people are in particular need of good quality advice and support. Many deaf children suffer from low aspirations, or find it difficult to access opportunities to find out about the world of work because of communication barriers or a lack of support. It’s my job as the Post-16 Policy Adviser at NDCS to look at ways we can improve these sorts of things. One way is to try and influence government policy in this area.

Unfortunately though, the policies this Government have chosen have made it less likely that deaf young people will access good quality support. This is why we are supporting the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign.

How can you help?

You can support the campaign and the deaf children and young people who rely on good quality careers advice and guidance by signing the AoC’s petition.

The campaign focuses on four key areas, making a recommendation in each:

  • Access: Colleges, Jobcentre Plus and local authorities should work together to ensure there is one careers ‘hub’ in each area, which is clearly signposted to all as a place where advice is available about careers options.
  • Accountability: Ofsted should inspect and report on all careers guidance in schools and Colleges, ensuring staff who deliver careers advice are properly qualified. Such institutions should only be graded good or outstanding if they have good or outstanding careers advice and guidance.
  • Informed choice: All school and college websites should link clearly to the National Careers Service website.
  • Investment: The Department for Education should match the annual funding provided to the National Careers Service by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This would help make sure it meets the needs of young people.

NDCS is also working on its own and with others to make sure that the additional support that deaf young people might require is delivered by the people that provide careers advice.

Find out more

You can also read more about careers advice and jobs on our website

And there is information specifically for young people here