The Westminster School is working hard to secure the future prospects of all our learners. Its values are based around creating an environment whereby the agenda of Safe, Happy and Learning Together can flourish. It is underpinned by the values statement:
Building foundations and providing opportunities to create confident, aspirational and independent members of our community.
With this in mind we are developing several projects to provide opportunity for our pupils and potentially the wider community in years to come. The reality for people with learning difficulties is:
Only 7% of people with Learning Disabilities are in Employment compared to 48% of people with other disabilities.
It is estimated that 65% of people with learning disabilities would like a paid job.
A SEN person costs in excess of 1 million pounds throughout their lifetime due to unemployment.
As a school we believe we can have a positive impact on these statistics not only for those at The Westminster School but also throughout the authority and beyond. As a consequence of the significant disadvantage served to individuals with SEN, in relation to employment opportunity, the Department of Education have been working tirelessly to address this through the Supported Internships Programme.
The School took part in a interview about the school’s development of the Supported Internship Programme with Dr K Rowland, Sandwell’s Principal Educational Psychologist.
What are Supported Internships?
Supported Internships are a structured study programme based primarily at an employer. They enable young people aged 16-24 with a statement of SEN, a Learning Difficulty Assessment or an Education, Health and Care plan to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace. Supported internships are unpaid, and last for a minimum of six months. Wherever possible, they support the young person to move into paid employment at the end of the programme. Alongside their time at the employer, young people complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant substantial qualifications, if appropriate, and English and Maths.
In 2016/2017 The Westminster School were working with Interserve FM Plc and Sandwell Leisure Trust. This provides a real life work experience and skills to build on to enable them to be successful in the world of work, because we all know that qualifications are not the guarantee to the world of employment. Learners would spend 3 days per week at their Internship Placement Provider for between 6 to 12 months. The remaining days the young person will be studying qualifications to support their employment after the Internship to enable them to gain successful employment or further work-related traineeships at the end of the academic year.
The School provide one or more dedicated job coaches, paid for by the school, to support the student throughout their placement. All young people and employers have support from an expert job coach. Employers do not pay for job coaches (this is arranged by the school or college). The level of support offered by each job coach will be agreed with the employer, and the input will depend on the needs of both the young person and the employer.
As the Internship Programme continues to forge ahead the school have conducted a review of the students progress so far. This showcase video places further emphasis on the Business Partnerships with Interserve and Sandwell Futures. The difference in pupil confidence and independence in the workplace has increased significantly since the last video and their prospects of future employment and continued work-related training are high.
To ensure you have all of the information about the process of Supported Internships we have put together a range of resources for you to utilise.
For more information about Supported Internships visit: