Developing housing for young people with learning disabilities

This blog describes an initiative in the West Midlands led by MyLife.http://www.mylife.uk.com/

This guest blog comes from Professor Barry Carpenter CBE, chair of MyLife, a support service in Hartlepool and Moseley in Surrey enabling people with complex needs to live as independently as possible in the community.  Here, he describes MyLife’s new initiative in the West Midlands to support young people leaving education and preparing to live independently.

We all develop the desire to live independently and take control of our adult lives as we approach school-leaving age, and young people with special educational needs are no different.

But transitioning into employment and independent living is obviously more challenging for this group.  As a former headteacher, I’ve seen so many young people not do well because of a lack of support as they enter adulthood; they haven’t been able to secure a job, they remain dependent on their parents and lose confidence in their abilities.

MyLife is currently working in partnership with a school in the West Midlands to explore ways we can help young people with special needs better prepare for leaving education.

My daughter, Katie, has been the inspiration for this next stage of MyLife’s development.  She has Down’s Syndrome and she has shared a home with friends for eight years.  Now aged 30, she’s just about to start her first paid role with a school, running a ‘without words’ book club for children who find learning easier through images rather than text.

Katie has experienced numerous knock-backs but I believe the fact that she is independent and able to manage her own life has given her the self-esteem to withstand these setbacks and maintain her confidence.

And building this independence is what we are focusing on in the West Midlands.

A tenet of the revised Code of Practice for SEND is to offer young people support past the age of 19 and up to 25.  MyLife is working with Westminster School in Rowley Regis to develop their curriculum for this age group.

A key theme is ‘My Home’, and students will have access to a training flat where they can learn life-skills such as cooking, cleaning, registering with a doctor and taking public transport.

Alongside this we are looking at ways we can support the young people to live independently. This will involve sourcing a range of accommodation to meet their range of needs, be it a shared house, a flat of their own or supported living.  We shouldn’t just think that this model can only be available to people with low support needs; living as independently as possible should be available to people with the most complex needs as well.

It’s an exciting development of our services and one that we want to see expand.

The National Audit Office estimates that equipping a young person with the skills to live in even semi-independent housing could reduce support costs to the public purse by around £1 million.  It also suggests that supporting one person with a learning disability into employment could increase that person’s income by between 55 and 95 per cent.

But what is most important, both for young people and our communities, is that these skills give young people with additional needs, people like Katie, the chance to create a home for themselves where they can make their own choices, have friends to visit and have somewhere to recharge and truly relax.

 

Professor Barry Carpenter is Chair of the Advisory Board for Mylife.  A former headteacher of three special schools and a school inspector, he is currently Chair of the Autism and Girls Forum and the Complex Needs Training Review Group for the National Association of Special Educational Needs.

His innovative research project on children with complex learning disabilities in the UK is now being replicated in two major European projects and translated into major European languages.

He is a member of Health Education England Learning Disabilities Expert Reference Group for the Department of Health, and lead consultant for the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services.  He is also a director of Books Beyond Words.

To find out more about MyLife services go to http://www.mylife.uk.com/

 

Conferences to discuss the implications of the Rochford Review

  • Chadsgrove Teaching School, Bromsgrove, W.Midlands; 31st January 2017
  • Brookfields School Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading; 6th January 2017

Click to view full .pdf flyer

Rockford Review - Chadsgrove School, Bromsgrove -thumbnail - to - pdf
Chadsgrove Teaching School, Bromsgrove, W.Midlands; 31st January 2017
Brookfield School Conference - thumbnail to pdf
Brookfields School Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading; 6th January 2017

The Engagement Framework for Learning; how did it start ?

In this new article Professor Carpenter, former Director of the DfE funded  Project on Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, discusses what new teaching and learning approaches are required to truly meet the needs of the children. Research has shown that Engagement is the key to successful learning for these children, and, indeed, any child with Special Needs.
The article describes how the Engagement Framework for Learning (including the Profile and Scale) evolved, how it was extensively trialled  across the UK and internationally, and how is commends itself as a personalised assessment approach that celebrates children’s learning, and empowers the quality of teaching. Prof Barry Carpenter SEND May 2016.
Please click the thumbnail below to open and view the full document:
Resisting Engagement Cover

When Ofsted Comes to Call..

During a school Inspection Ofsed will look a 3 i’s – issue ,intervention and impact.

To look at the quality and creativity of interventions for and with children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities , this will not rule resect the scope of teaching and learning , or the range of progress.

The attached short article , published in SEND magazine, looks at the 5 i’s of issue, inquiry, intervention, innovation and impact.

Click the thumbnail below open and download the .pdf document.

The 5 ‘i’s’ in Special Needs.pdf

New EU Project on children with Complex Needs

This week a new EU funded Erasmus Project was launched in Graz, Austria.  This Project will take the extensively trialled Briefing Sheets for the UK CLDD Project ( http://complexld.ssatrust .org.uk) , and translate them into several European languages.

 

The briefing sheets will then be used to support Inclusion of children with Special Needs in the representative EU countries .The Project will go through various trial and development phases, through to 2018.

 

For more information please go to http://eurlyinclusion.eu

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.