Challenging your teacher to reach your full potential

You should be at the centre of decisions made about your future. This includes your education and what you want to do as an adult.

You and your family should talk to your school and local authority about the qualifications and training you’ll need to help you live independently. This should be a regular part of your school or college life.

Your school or college and local authority should work with you to help you reach your goals and fulfil your potential.You’ll have a Year 9 Review, but ask your teacher if you want a review before this.

When to talk about your concerns

If you have any concerns, you should talk to someone immediately. Do not wait for your yearly review or parent-teacher meetings. It's better to speak out if someone decides what you can or cannot do and you disagree.

This will give your school or college more time to address your concerns.

Getting support from your school

Challenging decisions made about your future can feel daunting. Someone not connected to your school or local authority could help you to work out what support you need and help to express your concerns. This person is sometimes called an 'advocate'.

You could start by speaking to your parents or carers. Find out if they agree that you’re not getting the help you need to reach your goals.

Take a parent, carer or someone who knows you well to meetings about your educational development. Having someone with you will help. They can support you and talk about what you’re able to do outside of school or college.

If you have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) and you’re 16 or older, you can speak directly to your teachers or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). Say why you’re concerned, and ask them for support.

Support from outside school

Contact your local authority to find out if they have a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS). They can provide information and resources about educational needs.

Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) gives free advice about education for people with special educational needs.

SNAP Cymru has information, advice and support for parents, children and young people in Wales who have, or may have, special educational needs.

Talking about your concerns

Start by talking with a teacher you trust and who knows you well. Ask them if they have time to discuss your concerns. This should be an informal meeting after a lesson or at the end of the day. It should be somewhere quiet where you’re not overheard.

Ask for a meeting with someone from your school or college. This could be the head of a department, a guidance counsellor or a teacher.

Write a list of your goals along with what you think is stopping you from reaching them.

Your goal may be going on to further education or university or getting the life skills you need to help you live independently. Or it could be both.

Saying what you can do with the right support

Tell your school or college what you’re capable of doing and ask how they can support you.

For example, you can:

  • manage workloads and deadlines with a personal assistant or assistive technology
  • live more independently if you had support to manage money and write a budget

Show what you’ve been able to do outside of school, but only if it’s relevant. If you’re applying for a physical education course, you could say you’re a regular swimmer. If it’s a drama course or you want to join the drama club, you could say you’ve acted at a local theatre.

Warning Reaching your potential

It's not up to you to prove what you can do. Your school or college should do everything they can to help you reach your potential.

Find out about funding for disabled university students

Visit our training for work page for information and advice on improving your skills

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/01/2019

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