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Every Young Person has the Right to be Given the Opportunity to Aspire and Achieve

To celebrate Learning Disability Week, we caught up with Leilah Sheridan to hear more about how Undershaw Education supports students during their time in education and to prepare them for when they leave...

As it currently stands the Disability Employment Gap is at 29% and only 4.8% of those with a learning disability in England are in paid employment. With the constant decrease of funding for SEND Education the landscape looks bleak


I am Head of Employability & Post 16 at Undershaw, a SEND School in Surrey.  This means that I design, develop and embed our employability curriculum throughout the school. I work with all my colleagues across our teaching and therapy teams to ensure each student in every year group is immersed in a world of careers, coaching opportunities, and industry experiences that fuel passion for their adult lives, channel their ambition and give a landscape upon which to build their self confidence and self-esteem. We have been awarded Flagship Status with the Skills Builder Partnership which means we embed a language of life skills within our daily school lives, ensuring that when students leave us, they are equipped with the soft skills necessary to navigate the workplaces of their futures. Our students have a strong track record of academic attainment and a high proportion of them are awarded places at Further Education colleges.  We have robust links with the local community and our bespoke work experience programme is one element of our offer of which I am very proud.  

At Undershaw, our education fits the student. It is no different for work experience and employment opportunities. I network within the local community to ensure I have the very best workplaces available for the students, whether that’s as a route to an industry insight talk, a Careers Week activity, or as a work experience offer.


Everything we do at Undershaw is couched in the belief that our young people will take their place in the world better equipped to deal with the demands of independent life and diverse and inclusive workplaces. However,  we cannot help to change the landscape alone. Connecting Educators, Training Providers and Employers is vital and one way for Employers to show their support and make a difference would be  to offer  immersive  work placement opportunities and industry insights. Another way is by actively recruiting inclusively; by  making some very small and reasonable adjustments you will have access to an incredible talent pool.  


At Undershaw we committed to changing that landscape for our young people, we will not accept inequality.  Every young person has the right to be given the opportunity to aspire and achieve. Our hope is that all of our young people will transition with confidence, and go on to be socially and economically engaged in their futures. 


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