On July 22nd this year at Chailey Heritage School, 12 students from Year 14 will be leaving us. Our featured student, Betty, is one of these leavers. Paula Marten, Assistant Headteacher at Chailey Heritage, explains the moving on process and what Betty has planned for the future.
As assistant headteacher, I am often asked by parents, governors, trustees, and visitors what the young people do when they finish school. The main options for leavers would include a specialist college, a residential care home, attending Futures (the post-19 residential provision at Chailey Heritage), or attending the Leisure Skills Centre/Hub (part of Futures) for daytime activities. There are also daytime activities in the community - local colleges and day centres, for example. Some individuals will live at home and go out to do different activities every day.
Each provider will carry out an assessment to determine whether their service can meet the needs of the young person. Each place requires funding, so whatever the choices made by the young person and their family, the outcome cannot be confirmed until their needs have been assessed and the funding has been agreed by the relevant provider.
Betty has secured a place for a specialist college, and so her formal education will be continuing – which she is very happy about as she loves to work hard! Betty is moving to National Star College in Gloucestershire and will be living in their residential accommodation. Since discussions first started about her future, Betty made this very clear to her support team that this was what she wanted.
Betty has been kept at the heart of the planning for her future throughout, joining Future Placement Planning (FPP) meetings and communicating with her voice output communication aid (VOCA). Her class teacher, Jemma Smith, has worked with her extensively in this regard. Parents are often worried by hearing accounts of examples where young people and their families were left without equipment, services, respite, or other requirements during transition because of failure to agree on who was responsible for funding. However, there are lots of positive examples too, and we are all very happy to say that Betty’s story is one of these.
At Chailey Heritage Foundation, we support by providing information and guidance for parents in a variety of ways. We create opportunities for parents to meet others in similar situations, or who have faced similar challenges in the past. We hold meetings regularly for parents, the multi-disciplinary team, and external services to discuss plans with agreed actions and deadlines. We are working continually to improve our internal systems for responding to the requests made by health and education services for evidence for needs assessments.
If your son or daughter is in Year 9, then this is the perfect time to start thinking about what the future might hold for them beyond Chailey. We will be very happy to help!