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.