Parents and carers joined us this month for a lively workshop led by Sue Briggs, aimed at understanding the differences between aspirations and outcomes, when planning future support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
One of the key messages on the new SEND legislation which Sue wanted to emphasise was Section 19 of the Children and Families Act. This places the views, wishes and feelings of young people and their families at the centre of any planning and interventions. In a nutshell, the child or young person must remain centre stage in all we do. So how can this happen?
The workshop session demonstrated that if we understand the aspirations and hopes of children and young people, working together achieves the best outcomes. We all have hopes and dreams. As adults we know we may never fully achieve those dreams, but there is nothing wrong with having them.
Aspirations can tell us a lot about what motivates young people. Take the example of a young man who wanted to be a pilot. By asking the right kind of questions and engaging with the young person and his family, it was possible to go some way towards recognising this dream. It turned out the reason he wanted to be a pilot was because he liked seeing the aeroplanes. In reality, this individual was not likely to become a pilot, but a work experience placement was arranged, so that he could help staff in the airport and see the aeroplanes every day!
So the dream of being a pilot was transformed to a positive outcome of being able to work at an airport and see the aeroplanes. Through a set of group activities, parents were able to discover what a good outcome should look like.
An outcome is a ‘will be able to’ statement, which sets out what the young person will achieve. It is usually the result of an action or intervention. Whether children are at SEN Support, have a Statement or an Education Health and Care plan, parents and carers must be involved in agreeing what those outcomes are. Look at the following statements. Only one is an outcome – which one is it?
- Tracey has difficulty communicating with her peers
- Tracey will get three hours of speech therapy a week
- By the end of Year 6 Tracey will be able to communicate with her friends on age appropriate topics in the lunch break
If you are not sure, then maybe you should consider joining one of our future workshops. This is what parents and carers had to say about our workshop this month:
"My son’s review is coming up. I feel I can go into the meeting understanding more. I’ll have the ability to make a more focused plan."
“Really helpful explanation of outcomes, aspirations and provision.”
"Thought provoking ideas of questions to not only ask school, but also your child.”
“…reminds us all of raising aspirations of SEN children!”
“Enjoyed it. Good facilitators."
If this has tempted you to consider joining our workshop on 9th March 2017 at the Molineux Stadium and bring another parent with you! The workshop, ‘Planning for the future – a legal view’, explains wills and trusts, together with advice on securing long term care, for those who need it (Booking is essential). We are a friendly and professional team, aiming high to secure the best outcomes for all children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities. We look forward to meeting you!
Answer to ‘which one is an outcome?
( 3 ) By the end of Year 6 Tracey will be able to communicate with her friends on age appropriate topics in the lunch break
This is an outcome because it says what Tracey will be able to do, once some sort of intervention or support has been provided. The outcome is specific. It is about communicating with her friends at break and lunch times. It begins with a time frame – ‘by the end of Year 6’, so that professionals working with Tracey know that this goal needs to be achieved by the end of Year 6.
Statement (1) is a description of difficulties or needs – it is not an outcome.
Statement (2) is a provision. This might be the intervention or support provided before an outcome can be achieved.
Disability Rights UK provide advice to disabled students who are studying in England. The phone line – 0800 328 5050 – is open from 11am-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org. Advisors can advise and support disabled people who are studying, or wish to study, at any level on full-time or part-time education or training courses in England and they are over 16. They can also advise parents and/or carers of disabled students or professionals working with disabled students.