Loading Events

Employability curriculum and routes to employment for SEND learners

Online / Wednesday 17 November 2021

Event Information

Research shows work is good for us. It gives us purpose and generally supports good wellbeing. So, if work is good for us why do we not strive for employment for those with learning disabilities? Approximately, 8 out of 10 working age people with a learning disability have a mild/moderate learning disability (MLD). And as such these people with the appropriate support and encouragement are employable, yet, only 6% of adults with a learning disability attain paid work (NHS Digital 2018).

For the individual, this problem negatively impacts on wellbeing, self-esteem, and self-worth as well as health, financial stability, and independent living. MENCAP research found that statistically an individual diagnosed with moderate learning difficulties will die 16 years earlier than those in the general population without a moderate learning difficulty.

Where is the social justice in this?

Are we focused on what people can’t do rather than what they can do?

What can schools do to improve this situation?

During this seminar you will hear from practitioners in special schools about what they are doing to improve the situation for their students. They will share many aspects of their work including their curriculum, how they engage with potential employers, how they prepare students for the transition into work, how it is funded etc.

Together we can make a difference!

Download agenda

Key Speakers

Elaine Colquhoun OBE

Elaine Colquhoun OBE

Elaine Colquhoun is a very recently retired CEO of a Multi Academy Trust (London), and designated Teaching School. The Academy provides education and care for pupils with profound, severe and complex difficulties from the ages of 3 to 19 years, including pupils with Autism and visual impairment. Under Elaine’s leadership, the Trust developed the Project Search initiative an internship employment programme, which is based at two hospitals in the East end of London, Bart’s Trust. This has been running for 10 years.

Elaine served as President of Nasen (National association of Special Educational needs) for 3 years and continues as a Trustee. She is a trustee of Project Search DFN. Elaine has a wide range of international experience.

She has been a headteacher and CEO for 22 years. She was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in January 2016 for services to education.

Project SEARCH

Elaine will outline what is project Search and look at some of the statistics for the employment of young people in England. There will be an outline of how the project works, the model and the Project Search offer. An analysis of how the project measures its outcomes and why. A look at the project operation during the pandemic. She will outline how you go about joining Project Search and how much it will cost.

Jackie McGarry

Jackie McGarry

Jackie has been working in the field of careers education for over 20 years and is currently Careers Lead for Catcote Academy and Futures in Hartlepool. She has developed an extensive programme of careers related learning which has been embedded across all abilities and includes practical work experience opportunities for KS5. Jackie has been instrumental in the school being one of the first special schools to achieve the Gatsby standards in full and led the work in achieving the Quality in Careers Standard. Jackie’s work has been showcased in several national publications, including ‘The Good Career Guidance: Perspectives from the SEND Sector’.

Jackie facilitated the introduction and delivery of Supported Internships based at the Trust. This programme has been very successful enhancing and developing the STEPs programme further.

Amanda Metcalf

Amanda Metcalf

Amanda has been employed by the Trust for over 24 years, her job role has evolved from teaching assistant to 14-19 coordinator, qualified teacher, careers lead to her now role of teaching and learning responsibility for Work Related Learning across the Trust, Enterprise coordinator across the trust and full-time teacher of the STEPs programme.

Amanda recognised the current programmes on offer, specifically SEND ‘foundation courses’ we’re not tailored to the employability developments or creating positive destinations for the young people moving on through key stage 5. Amanda created a programme which was heavily weighted with employment and focussed on the ‘teaching environment’ and how that could impact the development of maturity and focus of their own abilities and aspirations.

The STEPs programme has now been running for 8 academic years and grown from strength to strength.

Raising Aspirations, Improving Destinations

A whole school approach showcasing how to embed careers and enterprise education within the curriculum from Key Stage 3 onwards.

This presentation highlights the sequential planning which sits behind the model, facilitating ‘work tasters’ and opportunities to enable young people to make an informed choice of with their futures career options and aspirations within the world of work.

The process of building and applying employability skills in a special educational needs setting, regardless of students’ academic ability. Providing the foundation for young people being able to realise their full potential whilst working towards the four strands of Preparation for Adulthood.

We will showcase our STEPs Programme which focuses primarily on the development of Employability and Independent Living Skills. This programme is to provide young people with; the opportunity to apply these skills in a real-world setting, and build a foundation and working relationship, with employers to lead to Supported Internships and paid employment.

Paul Lansley

Paul Lansley

Paul Lansley is an Assistant Head and Careers Lead at Cricket Green School; a three times OFSTED outstanding special school in the London Borough of Merton with 231 pupils aged 4 to 19 years. Paul has worked at Cricket Green School now starting as an NQT 21 years ago, teaching and then leading art. Since becoming Assistant Head in 2014, responsible for 14 19-year olds at the school his focus has been on the end goals of employment and independence for young people as they transition towards adulthood. Paul has been passionate about developing an innovative and creative curriculum which encourages the independent thinking and practical skills required for the work place and student’s own daily lives as they grow and mature.

Outline of the Session

  • Introduction of P Lansley and Cricket Green School – context.
  • Outline of the school curriculum.
  • Case studies of specific areas of the curriculum.
  • Partnerships
  • Destinations – where are we now?
  • Conclusion and Questions
Book now

Date and time:

Wednesday 17 November 2021 3:30pm - 5:30pm


SSAT members: £185 Non-members: £285
All prices exclusive of VAT