Where can we get support for Transition Planning during Covid-19?
Parents and young people will be concerned about what the closure of schools means for the rest of their school year. Transitions planning might not have happened in school yet so what can you do?
Help and support is available
Your school and school pupil support team may already be putting in place plans to contact each individual young person to discuss transition plans. You can also contact them directly during this time with any questions you may have and they should be able to help work things through to support young people at this time. Guidance staff can also be contacted through the school or enquiries section of school websites if you don’t have a direct email or telephone number.
Skills Development Scotland is continuing to provide career, information, advice and guidance for all young people. School Careers Advisers are endeavouring to keep in touch with pupils and are looking at how they can further develop on-line services to support them. You can keep in touch using telephone, skype or email. Each school will have information for the local careers advisers so do get in touch with your school in the first instance.
You can also continue to use the Skills Development Scotland website “My World of Work” for support whatever your next steps are.
Enable Scotland are putting in place online transition support to young disabled people (and their parents) approaching transition from school in light of the COVID19 closures.
The Stepping Up schools team will offer support remotely via a number of options (Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp video, phone) and are making their service available to a young person with an additional support need in the senior phase of school ANYWHERE in Scotland.
Who is responsible for transition planning?
It’s important to know who should do what, and what to expect at each stage.
Usually education staff take the lead when someone is under 16, and coordinate planning. They must consult the young person to get their views, and gather information from family members and other relevant people, such as healthcare staff, social services or support workers.
Education staff should arrange meetings to agree what needs to take place to allow the young person to progress towards their goals, and who will be responsible. These should involve you and your young person, and your views must be taken into account. You can bring other people to these meetings if that helps you make your views known.
At the moment it’s not clear who should take responsibility for the plan once someone has left school.
It’s usually parents who need to make sure things stay on track – so it’s important to know what the plan is and where you can find support.
These handbooks detailing local services and support were produced for the transition workshops as part of the Going Forward project, and are now available for download by clicking on the images below.
Please note all links were current on the dates shown but some services may since have changed.
Inclusion of a service does not imply a recommendation.
When should transition planning start?
National guidelines in Scotland say transition planning should start “at least 2 years before the school leaving date.” That’s because it often takes a long time to get the right support agreed, funded and in place.
Many people find it’s a good idea to start collecting information well before then, so they’re prepared. Starting early means you can take your time, look at more options, and give yourself the best chance of getting the right support in place.
Every family is different, but planning starts with putting together a picture of your young person – their likes and dislikes, any ideas they may already have, and what they’ll need in future to help them thrive. The clearer you are, the more likely you’ll be to make decisions that work well.
Most young people won’t know what they want to do after school when they’re 14, so focus on making sure that when school comes to an end your young person is spending their time in a way that’s worthwhile for them, and gives them the best possible chance to go on developing their awareness, knowledge and skills. And don’t forget it’s OK for someone to change their mind – so flexibility is an important part of planning too.
Everyone’s a winner
Kindness Buddies brings together disabled people in East Renfrewshire to learn new skills, be involved in their community – and tackle loneliness at the same time.
Members of the Buddies team visit older people in the community to pick up their shopping lists, then go to the supermarket, before returning to unpack everything and put it away. A support worker accompanies each pair of Buddies to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Along the way new relationships are formed, barriers are broken down and a very practical support need is met.
The service started with three Buddies and two customers, but now supports around 30 customers over a 5-day week. Other areas are getting their own teams up and running.
The Buddies get to know many customers individually and are ideally placed to spot any needs that might arise. Time for a chat is part of the service, and for some older people this is a highlight of their day. Meanwhile local supermarkets are increasingly aware of the project, and the teams are easy to identify by the Kindness Buddies logo on their trollies and bags.
For customers, the benefits are obvious. For the Buddies, learning the skills involved and providing a service others rely on is a huge boost to confidence and self esteem.
Definitely a win-win!
Thank you to Kindness Buddies for the photos
I can’t see my young person in a job. What else is there?
First, don’t reject the idea completely. A lot can change – what you see at age 16 may not be what someone will be capable of at 25. Finding activities that develop their skills, interests and abilities can be steps on a journey that could lead into work further down the line.
Activities don’t have to be paid to be meaningful. Volunteering opportunities can start from as little as half an hour at a time and still give someone the chance to learn useful skills and meet a range of people.
The most important thing is that young people don’t become isolated, and have the chance to keep on growing and developing.
Can my young person go to college or daycare outside the area we live in?
Yes – they can apply anywhere they want.
What can be difficult is arranging or paying for things like transport or a support worker to get them there. If that isn’t an issue, or if you’ve agreed funding to pay for this, it’s very flexible.
Top tips – getting a job
Look for ways to build your young person’s confidence and experience. Start small and build up gradually.
Contact companies or organisations directly and ask if your young person can visit or shadow someone.
Have ideas for how to manage difficulties in the workplace.
Be prepared to go with them or provide support with transport.
Prepare your young person as much as you can. The biggest challenges might be things like what to do during breaks, or how to let someone know if they need help.
Top tips – planning
- Always keep the bigger picture in mind. Planning is about far more than just finding a college place.
- Ask about a transition plan. If there isn’t one, start your own.
- Start preparing your young person early by talking about different things people do when they leave school.
- Talk to your young person about their likes and dislikes. Try and get a feel for what’s likely to be important to them in their lives.
- Keep it calm. Try not to get stressed, or pass on stress to your young person.
Top tips – learning opportunities
A lot can change in 5 or 6 years. If someone can’t do something now, that doesn’t mean they never will.
Don’t be rushed. Taking time to make good choices and get the right support pays off in the long run.
Don’t rule anything out. Instead, see if it could be possible given time and good support.
It can take a long time to sort out things like accommodation and transport. Be prepared.
Be proactive. Contact learning support services, ask questions and explore options.
Remember independent living and social skills. These are at least as important as academic ability for success.