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Life after School – Help and Support

The quote below shows that, for this young person, their teacher’s creative, personalised response and a mutual interest were of huge value:

“My ASN teacher would take me out mountain biking and we shared that interest. He was so understanding. He made a scale about how I was feeling 1 – 10 and we changed it to bikes – ‘what bike are you today?’ to show how I was feeling and that helped a lot. This was great especially in a busy school with kids all around so they wouldn’t know what we were talking about.”

For another young person with a chronic health condition staff who put them at the centre and ask what they want were very helpful:

“The PSA [Pupil Support Assistants] have been great. They ask what do I want and they will take care of  me and be sympathetic if I have a sore belly.”

ASN staff who provide opportunities for their pupils to meet other people with similar needs and experiences were valued by this young person:

“My ASN teacher took me to Highland One-Stop-Shop and I met other young people from other schools and this was great…”

The majority of reasons given were around the fact that the young people felt that their additional support needs were not being met in by ASN staff.

“For me it was an issue of generalisation – it was done a certain way and it stopped if they didn’t know how to handle it.”

Some young people found the Careers Service helpful and supportive:

“She saw me a lot and it felt as if she was taking an interest in me and helping me to get where I wanted to be. She knew options that I might not have known about.”

Some young people felt the opposite:

“I’ve had like 3 meetings and I didn’t think they were helpful because she doesn’t bring or remember what you said last time … and advises you to ‘go look on My World of Work’. This isn’t really going to help me if you’re just telling me to look somewhere.”

38 young people said family were important sources of help and support, with ‘mum’ in particular getting the most mentions.

“Mum and dad 100% – they say day after day you will be ok and you can try and if I didn’t manage they would say it’s ok just try again. When they understood my autism they were totally amazing.”

Friends were seen as an important support mechanism with 17 young people specifically saying that friends were important in helping them plan for leaving school.

“My friend knows what I want and always makes me feel better if I feel bad. She knows exactly where I’m coming from as she’s a young carer too.”

For one young person, who has a family background impacted by domestic abuse, her friends were a particularly important part of her support network:

“Friends are such a big part of my life and I am so used to having them for support. My best friend is like my psychiatrist. My friends get me through all this.”

For some young people, the Youth Development Officers (YDO) played a significant role in helping them plan for leaving school.

“I’ve been talking to my Youth Development Officer. The school haven’t helped at all. My YDO is the one who has helped.”

Women’s Aid Children’s Workers were important to 3 young people:

“My Children’s Worker has been helping me get confidence …before I met my Children’s Worker I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go and ask about things about what I could do in the future.”