A Young Person’s Experience

By Amber Shaw

My Name is Amber, I am 17 and live in Salford. I have a disability which effects my walking, my joints are very bendy and I take medication every day. I need help and support to do everyday activities and achieve my dreams! I am now at Bolton Sixth Form College doing a BTEC level 3 in ICT which I really enjoy.

School for me was very challenging I went to lots of different schools as people working with me never quite seemed to know where would be best for me. When I went to high school that was really challenging, a lot of the schools we looked at said they couldn’t support me even though I have an education, health and care plan and extra funding. This made me sad and I felt like I didn’t have a choice like everyone else. My first high school was a disaster, I was not supported at all and no one did anything apart from my mum. This led to me been very unwell and anxious, at the end of year 8 I told my mum I didn’t want to go back as lots of the staff were not very nice to me or supportive. It was then discussed maybe I should go to a special school for children we went and looked round some but I didn’t want to I wanted to go to school with all my friends.

After a lot of meeting with our Local Authority I started at Harrop Fold at beginning of year 9. I really enjoyed being at this school I achieved lots of things, took part in a musical, joined school council to ensure it had representation from disabled young people and went on a history trip to Berlin! When I was in year 10 the school was turned into an Academy and we got a new head teacher and lots of new staff this was very difficult as I felt like they didn’t want me anymore at the school because I was different and I needed help and things doing in a different way to other pupils. This made me really upset and I did not enjoy going to school anymore and I was really worried about my GCSEs.

No one did anything apart from my mum constantly being in school telling them what was in my education, health and care plan and now to support me. I then started to look at colleges, I found a really good one with my mum that were going to offer me the right support to study ICT which I wanted to do. At my year 11 annual review I told the person from the Local authority what I wanted after I had finished school. I wanted to go to Bolton Sixth
form, I wanted to be able to travel Independently, I wanted some support to be able to do things without my mum. The local authority wanted me to go to a local college and do a life skills course, this was not what I wanted to do at all, again I felt really upset and let down as I had been promised help before that I never got.

As I was 16 I would have to appeal my EHCP myself with the help of my mum so we appealed by
there was a huge back log and this took ages, I found the experience really stressful and we had lots of appointments and professionals coming to the house asking the same questions over and over. As the local authority had used information from when I was 11! My appeal should have been finished in March but because the local authority did not do what they were told to do by the Judge it could not be sorted till May. This meant that I was not receiving I a lot of support I need for a whole year!

My appeal was successful and I now have support from Pure Innovations as well as going to college, they help me do things like travel training, managing money, going to the shops. I can now get the bus to college on my own and have started voluntary work in a shop with their help which I really enjoy. I am getting support in the holidays to be able to meet my friends and go to the pool which I love . I go horse rising which is part of my EHCP plan, I wrote a letter to the Judge for my tribunal about why my riding is so important to me. Its really good for my health and makes me feel really calm and relaxed I love seeing all the staff at the horses to at Fox Fields.

With the right support I have achieved so much in a year! I passed my English GCSE and got a
distinction in my BTEC ICT. Which lots of people said I wouldn’t be able to do!