Follow Harry* and his mum in their own words through his final year in school, planning and preparing for his next steps.

*Names have been changed

top view of shoes with text saying start here

June 2021: You never forget kindness (click here)

For all young people, leaving school is the end of one chapter in their lives and the beginning of another. Harry’s last year in school hasn’t always gone as planned – in and out of lockdown, few in-person meetings and some uphill struggles to get planning and support on track. He has a place in college, but many questions are still awaiting answers and there are plenty of loose ends still trailing. For now though tomorrow can wait … it’s about celebrating how far he’s come!

May 2021: Heading into the final month of school – ever (click here)

Harry’s last year in school has been against the backdrop of COVID, lockdowns and online learning. Planning and support has had to be done differently and with a month to go there are still plenty of questions about what the future will look like! Harry’s family are continuing to help him prepare for change as best they can and taking one day at a time

April 2021: Back to school – for the last time (click here)

We’ve been following Harry through his last year of school, with the ups and downs of getting planning and support in place – and the added complication of a pandemic thrown in! Progress has felt painfully slow at times. Will the pace pick up as his last ever school term gets under way?

March 2021: Pizza, progress and a PA! (click here)

Harry received funding last summer to employ a Personal Assistant to work on independent travel and life skills, but getting this up and running was delayed significantly by the recruitment process and delays over disclosure checking. With the end of lockdown on the horizon and 3 months to go to the end of the school year, the family still feel they have more questions than answers.

February 2021: Services will be vital this year – parents are on their knees (click here)

Harry’s college application has been submitted, and he is gearing up for the last few months of school. The family received funding last summer for a PA to work on independent travel and life skills, but the recruitment process and disclosure checking delays mean the assistant hasn’t been able to start, while the funding only runs until June. Harry also has a grant from ILF Scotland for the family to arrange their own person centred planning.

January 2021: Getting ready for a landmark year (click here)

We’re following Harry in real time through the ups and downs of his transition year. In October the school held a virtual transitions planning meeting, with key actions identified for the start of the new year. Harry has funding until June to employ a PA to work on independent travel and other life skills, but the recruitment process and a delay over disclosure checking mean time is running out to make use of this in the way the family had hoped. He also received a grant from ILF Scotland so the family could arrange their own person centred planning.

December 2020: At the turn of the year (click here)

We’re following Harry month by month through his last year in school. Harry found November a bit of a grind, as anxiety and uncertainty about what’s ahead begins to escalate. Harry’s mum was frustrated at the slow pace of getting support lined up and in place. As we moved into December even the Christmas break was feeling a bit challenging…

November 2020: Playing a waiting game (click here)

Last month Harry’s family decided to use self-directed support to employ a personal assistant to help him develop new skills, and also discovered to their surprise that he would be able to learn to drive. Their first person centred planning meeting has happened, but time is passing and it’s beginning to feel very real …

October 2020: Happy Hallowe’en! (click here)

In September the school organised a transition planning meeting and the family arranged person centred planning separately with a grant from ILF Scotland. Harry’s chosen the people he wants to be part of the person centred planning process, but they’re still trying to find a date to meet.

September 2020: What might planning look like? (click here)

Last month we met Harry as he returned to his special school to start his final year. As he’s not sure what he’d like to do after he leaves school, and because his options might have changed due to COVID-19, the family have decided to try person centred planning to help Harry explore what might be possible.

August 2020: The journey starts here (click here)

Harry took lockdown seriously and hasn’t been keen to go out. The family has found school supportive, with weekly emails focusing on wellbeing and mental health. As well as maintaining online versions of his normal social activities through Scouts and an Epilepsy Scotland youth group, Harry took part in two online art projects over the summer holidays through Universities and Museums in Scotland (UMIS) and Impact Arts, producing animated films and taking part in an online exhibition and celebration along with more than 100 young people across Scotland. He was excited but nervous about returning to school after 5 months off.