Wales' service keeps post-16s in touch

7th April 2000 at 01:00
A service to help 16 to 25-year-olds access learning support has become available across Wales. SNAP Cymru has developed its Young Persons' Service because many leaving school at 16 need extra support or assessments to reach their full potential.

SNAP Cymru is an all-Wales organisation which helps parents and carers to work as equal partners in SEN decision-making. The new move extends its service directly to young people. SNAP Cymru is concerned about the number of young people leaving school unaware of how to access information, screening, assessment or support. It believes a coherent system of information and guidance is essential to widen participation in post-compulsory education and training. Career advice and guidance have given many young people more confidence in their ability to make decisions about post-compulsory choices, but few with special educational needs are aware of the support available and consequently are excluded from participation, says the organisation.

Although many FE colleges offer learning support, this is rarely the case in relation to work-based learning and training. Without appropriate support and information young people may feel apprehensive about trying to access further learning. Quality information and suport will inevitably make the difference between encouraging or discouraging potential students from joining FE courses SNAP Cymru has, with Children in Need funding, employed a young person's development worker to raise the voice of the child within its service. All its staff and volunteers will be trained in the inclusion of young people in planning and decision-making.

Although the previous Code of Practice made recommendations for the inclusion of the voice of the child, practice varies greatly across Wales. The draft revised Code on identification and assessment of special educational needs, due out this summer, is expected to strengthen inclusion of children and young people's views in decision-aking. Pupils within a school setting will be encouraged to express opinions.

This summer SNAP Cymru intends to facilitate a young people's consultation, which will be a forum for their comments and questions on the revised Code. It will also be monitoring other agency's practices in listening to young people.

Guidelines based on the work of the new service will be published in due course so that good practice can be shared across Wales.

For further information contact Kelly Gammon, tel: 01792 457305.E-mail: SNAPSNPT@aol.com


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