A three-year project by Teamwork Trust has given over 500 children with special needs more ambition and confidence about their future after school.

The tailored three-year programme was delivered to bridge the gap of support in schools and colleges in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough.

As part of the Children in Need funded project, former teacher John Akers has worked closely with teaching staff at the schools since 2016 to identify and assist pupils in Years 11 to 13 who need extra help planning their future post-school.

John, Teamwork’s Transition Officer explains: “There is a significant lack of transition support in Northamptonshire because of county-wide budget cuts, and some schools have been unable to provide the essential and comprehensive support that children with special needs require – that’s where I have come in.

“I have worked with students with a range of disabilities in small groups and 90 children more intensively on a one-to-one basis, to provide a programme of work experience and education projects so that the prospect of leaving the structured school system is less daunting. There has been a wide range of disabilities, from Asperger’s to hearing difficulties, and the programme has made a huge difference.”

The social impact is impressive. 80% of students are more confident about searching and applying for jobs and training and 92% feel equipped with the skills for them get a job. The project met a need in all students with a positive impact on attendance and self-belief

Transitions Leader, Isebrook College said: “John’s invaluable support to our learners has been of real benefit. We have seen their confidence, communication skills and independence grow, and they’ve gained a real awareness of the working world.”

Comments from students:

“Now I can complete tasks on my own.”

 “I used to worry about meeting new people and learning new things.”