Addressing the special needs post-19 provision problem

Provision for young people with special needs after they leave school is a big issue for many parents. Although technically adults, many young people with learning disabilities are far from ready to join the world at large.

A project in Surrey has just been launched to try to fill that gap for some. Project Post 19 was conceived two years ago by Robert Power, an Outreach Teacher who has worked in the special needs sector for over 15 years. Rob works closely with school staff to help students with diverse learning difficulties to achieve their goals in mainstream schools.

From September 2012, Post 19 will be offering a Community Learning Programme, based in Guildford.  The Programme is aimed at young 18-25 year old adults with any learning difficulties across the spectrum.

Rob started Post 19 when he recognised a gap in the community support framework for adults with learning difficulties. The main objective of the Community Learning Programme is to encourage students to work and participate in their own communities.

Each student has his or her bespoke programme which focuses on the use of centres in their local community for example: the library, leisure centre, pub, post office, bank, corner shop, supermarket, available transportation, cinema and community centre. This active involvement with their own community is vital for improving confidence and communication skills.

The organisation is also working with Young Enterprise to create an inspirational programme specifically designed to offer our young adults the opportunity to create and operate their own start-up businesses.

Post 19 strives to educate not only its students, but the community around them as well. They take part in community education and work together with other community staff to offer a strong support network to all of the young adults. Group sizes are limited to between 8 and 10 and the staffing ratio is 1 to 3, depending on the individual needs.

The project is currently undergoing assessment by Surrey County Council’s Social Services Transition Team and Procurement Team in order to be acknowledged as a preferred supplier. Until that process has been finalised, funding for the Programme is by Direct Payment or Personalised Budgets.

Applications are also being submitted to the Charity Commission and the Care Quality Commission and Post 19 hope to be successful with both by Autumn 2012.

You can find the Post19 website at :

Tania Tirraoro


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