Sunderland's young person's advocate group City Equals noticed that the FAQ's that had originally been posted on the Local Offer site seemed to have been asked by adults - and nthey were right, they had.
In response to this we asked the young people to send us the questions that they had and they would like to be answered. The questions they sent us are detailed below, together with the relevant response.
What will an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) do for me?
EHC Plans are for children and young people (0-25) who have a special educational need or disability that cannot be met by the support that is usually available in a pre-school, school or college.
The plan will focus on what you want to achieve and what support will be needed to do this, so your plan will be individual to you.
Having an EHC Plan means all of the agencies that provide your education, health and social care needs will need to work closely together to help you achieve your goals and make sure you are supported in the best possible way.
You can get advice and support about EHC plans from the Sunderland SEND Children and Young People’s Information, Advice and Support Service.
The Council for Disabled Children have produced an information document (attach link) which you may find useful.
Who do I contact for independent support?
You can support from Sunderland SEND Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS). They will help you understand the following:
- What an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is;
- How and EHC plan works;
- How long it will take; and
- Most importantly make sure you have your say about what is important to you, now and in the future.
They can also go to meetings with you to help you understand what is happening, as well as making sure you are listened to.
The Sunderland SEND IAS Service can also speak to your family and support them as well.
You can contact them at Sunderland Carers’ Centre on 0191 549 3768 or via their email address firstname.lastname@example.org or via facebook by searching sunderland carers.
If I need a PA who do I speak to?
Any kind of support that you need should be explored at your annual review at school.
It is really important that people understand what it is that you want to achieve so that they can help you to get the right support.
A personal assistant (PA) may be a good solution to help you achieve your goal but there may be other solutions too, so having a really good plan that looks at all the possibilities is essential.
If you do want to employ someone to provide you with support you will need to have an assessment to identify whether the local authority can provide funds for you to employ someone to be your PA.
Talking about this at your review is the ideal place to start, or you can contact the Council on 5205552 to arrange an assessment of your social care needs.
Where do I find the list of job opportunities for young people with LDD?
It is important that you are supported to think about the kind of work you would like to find out more about. If you have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan it should make clear the kind of work that you are interested in and what support is available to you.
If you are at school or college your preparing for adulthood review takes place in year 9, this review focuses on employment, identifying the kind of work that you may like to do and what support you may need.
Supported internships can be a good way to get experience of what work is like and placements can be arranged to fit with the kind of thing you might like to do. You can find out more about supported Internships on the Local Offer in the Preparing for Adulthood section.
The Job Centre has a Disability Employment Advisor, they can help you to search for jobs and arrange any support you might need such as applying for Access to Work funding.
Where do I get a bus pass from?
- If you are travelling on bus – use your All Day Concessionary Travel Pass to travel free of charge all day every day
- If you are travelling by Metro, the Shields Ferry, or on the Newcastle to Sunderland Northern Rail service – use your Metro Gold Card to travel free of charge all day every day (although you need to load £12 per year onto your card)
If you are over 16 but still need to travel to college, university or another centre every day, you will need to obtain a typed and signed letter, on official letterhead to prove that you attend regularly in order to still be able to use your travel card free of charge.
In order to apply for a pass, you need to contact Sunderland City Council on 0191 520 5552, who will ask you some questions to make sure you are eligible. They will then send you a letter within 5 – 10 working days which you will need to complete and take to the Nexus Travel Shop. Nexus will then issue you with your Travel card.
If the Council think that you may not qualify for a pass, they will refer you to an Occupational Therapist, who may be able to offer further advice to help you.
If I want to go on to higher education, who would support me?
It would best to speak to your teachers/tutor first to talk about whether you would be able to apply for your chosen course.
You should then talk to your careers co-ordinator or progression coach. They will know you personally and can help with deciding what may be right for you.
Some schools/colleges may also have a Connexions adviser who can give you impartial advice about your future plans/options. If your particular school or college don’t have a Connexions adviser you should seek out your local Connexions office to get a face-to-face meeting where you can get the support you need. For young people living in the Sunderland area, you should contact 0191 561 7341 to get an appointment with an adviser.
You should remember that you need to contact people to get advice as soon as possible as there are very clear deadlines for applying to University; depending on what course you want to do.
Would I get help with funding to apply to do higher education?
Students in the United Kingdom may be able to borrow money to help pay for university or college tuition fees and to help with living costs. For more information on whether you may be entitled to a loan or grant or for details of how to apply go to www.gov.uk/student-finance.
Tuition fees (course fees) are paid directly to the course provider. You will only start to pay this back after your course has finished and once you are earning above £21,000 per year. The amount will be taken back a little bit at a time, depending on how much over £21,000 per year you earn.
You may also be able to apply for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), if you have a disability including a:
- long term health condition
- mental health condition
- specific learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia
DSAs are paid on top of any other student finance you may get and are to help you pay the costs you may have because of your disability. The DSAs do not have to be repaid. For more information about Disabled Students’ Allowances go to www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas
Your Connexions adviser will also be able to give you more information about the help that may be available to you.
Where would I get a list of schools and colleges I can attend?
Details of all Sunderland schools and colleges are listed in the Sunderland Local Offer. You can find this at Sunderland Information Point / Local Offer.
The Local Offer website also includes details of schools and colleges within the wider North East region.
You can also get support about making choices about the right setting, school or college from the Sunderland SEND Children and Young People’s Information, Advice and Support Service. You can contact them on 0191 549 3768.
Who do I turn to if my EHCP is not in place?
If you are unhappy about any decisions that have been made regarding an EHC Plan, or you feel you have not been listened to, you should discuss your concerns or issues with the SEN Officer who is dealing with the assessment.
In the majority of cases, any disagreement can be sorted out quickly however, there may be some occasions where it is very difficult to reach an agreement. If you feel the Local Authority is not helping to resolve the issue then you have a right of access a dispute resolution provider. The provider for Sunderland is Barnardo’s and they can be contacted on 0191 4784667.
Alternatively you can contact Sunderland SEND Children and Young People’s Information, Advice and Support Service.
Which building has easy access for wheelchair users?
The buildings listed below all have easy access for wheelchair users, if you are planning a trip it is wise to contact the venue before you go to check if they have wheelchair access.
- Sunderland Glass Centre – contact reference: email@example.com
- Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens – contact Jackie.Iley@sunderland.gov.uk
- Bede Towers – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre – contact email@example.com
- Sunderland Software Centre – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Farringdon Community Fire Station (free venue) – contact 444 1500
- Tansy Centre, South Hylton – contact email@example.com
- Hendon Young Peoples Project – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Co-Op Centre (lift access to conference rooms) contact - email@example.com
Who do I report a hate crime to?
All hate crimes should be reported to Sunderland City Council's City and Neighbourhood Department by ringing 0191 520 5550.
You could also report these incidents on-line by going to www.sunderland.gov.uk , searching for hate crimes and then clicking the Do It Online button on the right hand side of the page.