Young people with special educational needs and disabilities promote youth voice

Young people with special educational needs and disabilities promote youth voice

As you know Child Friendly Leeds has been working hard to make sure that Leeds is an inclusive city for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Last year, over 80,000 children and young people gave their feedback through consultation to refresh the Child Friendly Leeds wishes.

One of the wishes was to make Leeds more inclusive for children and young people with SEND. We are excited to share with you some of the amazing things that are happening in Leeds to achieve this wish!

The voice, influence and change team within Children and Families are committed to working with young people with SEND to ensure their voices are heard and that they have influence in the services they access along with their families. We have students from specialist schools in Leeds who take part in a variety of youth voice projects throughout the academic year.

On February 21, 2023, we held a SEND Youth Voice Celebration event at Leeds Civic Hall to honour the students who have been involved in youth voice projects. They received certificates of recognition for their amazing contributions.

Developing the Leeds Local Offer for young people

One of the ways we are making Leeds more inclusive for young people with SEND is through the development of the Leeds Local Offer. The website provides information to young people and their families about the services available to them. Students from the Powerhouse West SILC worked with Leeds City Council in 2022 to review and develop the young people’s section of the website, making it even more helpful and user-friendly.

SEND Partnership Board Takeover

The SEND Partnership Board is a meeting that is attended by education, health, social care, and other directorates. Each year in November, student’s take over the meeting as part of the national takeover challenge.

During a recent meeting with the board, students showed impressive leadership and advocacy skills as they shared their thoughts on what qualities they would love to see in the workers who support them. But it does not stop there – they also created an impressive resource to help spread their message everywhere. You can check it out for yourself at the following link SEND Partnership Board Takeover 2022 (

And that is not the only impressive feat these students have accomplished. By participating in the SEND Partnership Board takeover, they gained valuable skills such as planning, presenting, public speaking, communication, and teamwork. These are skills that will serve them well throughout their lives, and we could not be prouder of their hard work and dedication.

Compass House Project

Speaking of hard work and dedication, December 2022 saw the return of the Compass House pop-up shop return to Leeds Kirkgate Market. This incredible work experience project provides students who have special educational needs and disabilities with the chance to gain real-world skills and experience. It has been running for four years now, and it just keeps getting better!

The students involved in the Compass House project learn important skills such as teamwork, business promotion, brand design, customer service, monetary management and so much more. They work together to make key decisions about the shop, design eye-catching flyers, and even decide what products to sell. It is truly an amazing project and a pleasure to visit each year to search for exclusive Christmas gifts for your loved ones. We cannot wait to see what they accomplish this year!


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