Selly Oak Trust School

Selly Oak Trust School

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King Edward VI Foundation partners with Selly Oak Trust School to provide Supported Internships 

The King Edward VI Foundation and Selly Oak Trust School have entered into a partnership to provide Supported Internships to two of their students from September of this year.

Selly Oak Trust School are a large school that specialise in students with special education needs. In 2015 they began a partnership with National Grid to provide four Supported Internships and over the last six years, 24 students have benefitted from the programme, resulting in a 65% employment rate. Unfortunately, National Grid have moved from their base in Solihull and so can no longer offer placements. 

Sadly, in the UK there is only a 5.4% chance of those with special education needs securing employment. In Birmingham this drops even further to 1.2% and so Selly Oak Trust School have been looking to change this and have therefore been looking for new partners to continue their great work.

Supported Internships are designed to give students in Year 14 (aged between 18 and 19) experience of working life, by offering them bespoke placements, undertaking real tasks, in an authentic environment. The placements last for one year and students are supported throughout by a ‘Job Coach’ who is trained to work with the business and students to get the best outcomes and develop skills in the interns. They have a base room, laptops, ID badges and are treated as full time employees.

From September 2023, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls will offer two placements and be the first of its kind to offer opportunities within an educational setting. The placements themselves will not take place within the classroom, however, but open up the chance to think about the many other roles that are undertaken within a school such as Admin Support, IT Technician, Catering, Estates Management and Cleaning.

Lyndsey Maginnis, Deputy Headteacher at King Edward VI Camp Hill, who will be leading on the programme commented: “We were thrilled to be approached by Selly Oak Trust to be the first school to collaborate with them for their Supported Internship placement scheme. We are excited to start this scheme and hope to see other schools follow our lead in the years to come.” James Hawkins, Assistant Headteacher at Selly Oak Trust School, tasked King Edward VI Camp Hill Girls students with creating a ‘welcome to our school’ video, to give potential interns a flavour of life at the school and also ensure Camp Hill Girls students feel involved in the programme, despite perhaps, not dealing directly with the interns on a daily basis.

James comments: “We are incredibly excited to be working with the King Edward VI Foundation schools. Everyone has been so receptive to our ideas and supportive of our mission. Collaboration between us, the Foundation Office staff and school staff has been fantastic and it’s been really motivating for two Headteachers to come forward straight away. We hope this will continue across all of the Foundation schools”. 

King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls are also hoping to provide work experience placements over the summer holidays for one day a week. 

These kinds of placements are key to the success of the Supported Internship programme and also works as a fantastic opportunity for the organisations involved to have a greater appreciation and understanding of young people with additional needs in the work place and realise their potential, and the value they add.