- Categories : Education
- 05 Apr 2019
Within the ALNET (Wales) Act, 2018 there is a focus on increased participation of children, parents and young people and highlights the ‘importance of the child and child’s parent or the young person being provided with information and support necessary to enable participation’ (ALNET,2018 p7). In response to this, the Central South region has been hosting parent/carer, children and young people engagement events seeking their views and recommendations.
Parent and Carer Engagement
We have become increasingly aware over recent years about the importance of having a “voice” and of being heard. This is important for every citizen but is especially important for the most vulnerable. Social institutions and service providers are keen to offer relevant, appropriate and accessible services. The current policy context stresses the importance of encouraging participation in the design and delivery of services and the need to engage fully with users. This requires taking into consideration the concerns, views and personal histories of those living with a difficult situation. Sadly, many still feel marginalised and isolated and disempowered from these processes.
The main purpose of this consultation is to inform the LA on how best to provide and disseminate information so that parents and carers are empowered to be able to communicate more effectively regarding the wellbeing of their children and feel more involved in the process. As a direct result of the consultation, the LA will be better equipped to respond appropriately to any issues raised. Parents and carers will have access to a menu of communication resources which will enhance their knowledge and information so that they are better able to make informed decisions and choices.
Parents, carers and families from across the Central South region are participating fully at events. It is apparent that they value the opportunity to discuss their concerns in an open, safe and user- friendly environment. The benefits to parents and carers have been obvious from the outset. An added bonus has been the mutual support offered by families to each other and the subsequent learning that takes place. Events in Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend have been well attended with participants engaging fully in the discussions. Further events are taking place across the region including Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan throughout April 2019.
Children and Young People Consultations
Holos facilitated two consultations at the Merthyr Tydfil CBC Schools conference held at Merthyr College.
Based on the information gathered from last year’s school conference, the young people were consulted on leaflet designs which would include a QR code to a digital storyboard. This involved them role playing a script designed to explain ALN provision as well as the appeals process. The groups were shown examples of digital animation/video which could be used to relate the message. Each young person from across all schools contributed to the consultation and the ideas presented were well received – especially the provision of a storyboard/animation for ALN information.
On analysing feedback, we received during the consultations, it is evident that the children and young people have understood our explanation of the ALNET Act – and have responded positively to its proposals and have provided constructive feedback on how LA’s can provide information to them regarding ALN.
Consultations with young people from schools across the region are ongoing throughout April this year, where we are seeking the views of children and young people with ALN. Holos are using a range of methods to gather feedback from young people including; digital media, focus group exercises and the qualitative reporting of their direct experiences and interests of children and young people, facilitated by teams of professional youth workers.
As a direct result of this work, Holos Education will present the views from parents/carers and young people to the LA and make recommendations. The information gathered from all 5 LA’s, will result in the development of new communication resources. The aim is to enable an improved understanding of the ALN process and for improved outcomes for those with ALN and their families.