Online Check in and Chat – Talking Teens 
On today’s Check in and Chat we were joined by Sandra Mahoney, DSPL4’s transition worker for post 16s.

Sandra was employed by DSPL4 (Borough of Broxbourne; from Hoddesdon to Waltham Cross) following a consultation with parents, schools, settings and other stakeholders in the area which found post 16 support to be a big gap in the area.

Sandra works with young people who are identified by schools in the area as at risk of becoming NEET (a young person not in education, employment or training). Referrals usually come in via the SENCO and Sandra will then liaise with the student, their parents and the school to firstly understand the needs of the pupil and subsequently how both their needs and aspirations can best be met in post-16 options. 

Sandra’s role is essentially to help students make the right further education choice and then enable them to complete the course they have chosen. 

Sandra talked about how important it is to ensure students get on the right level of the right course at college to give them the best possible opportunity to succeed. 
She also talked about some of the ways she is able to help students she is working with once they are in further education – constantly checking if they can cope, are they attending, can they do the work etc. If necessary she will mediate between the student and the college to agree accommodations and adjustments. Having permission to complete work late or come into college with a later start time for example can make big differences to a student’s ability to complete their course.  

Parents and carers at the Check In and Chat reflected that this role would be a good addition to all the DSPLs (it is currently only in DSPL4) but there were plenty of tips for parents with young people coming up to considering their post-16 options regardless of where you live.

Go into the colleges with your young people, look around, meet staff, talk to the department and curriculum area your young people are particularly interested in, arrange to meet with and talk to the tutors. Practical advice like practicing the new journey with your young person was helpful too.

Participants agreed that one of the biggest and most reassuring takeouts was knowing that as a parent you are still allowed to contact and develop a relationship with the college – in fact colleges will welcome this as they share the same objective as you – it is in everyone’s benefit for your young person to complete their course.