If you’re really concerned about stuff that’s happening in school and you’d like someone from SNAP Cymru to chat to, you can phone us directly on:
We can help you:
- if you’re excluded from school
- if you’re being bullied
- if you are moving between schools or college and want advice on choices
- to know about your rights and want support to have your views listened to
- to make decisions and to make sure that people understand your wishes and feelings
- sort out a disagreement or complaint with your school
- by providing a case friend to appeal against a decision made about you
You can expect confidential, independent and accurate advice and if we can’t help we probably know someone else who can.
If would like to contact us regarding a particular concern you have, please use this ‘Get Help’ enquiry form. (Please read our Privacy Statement before completing).
One of our trained advisers will send you a reply by email, if you need face to face support a caseworker will get in touch with you within five working days.
If you are ever unhappy with something we have done, we want to listen. To make sure we work well as a team, we listen carefully to any comments, compliments or complaints you may have about our work.
We will handle any complaint in an open and honest way. See our Young Person’s Complaint Leaflet for further details.
Leaflets for Young People
Before you’re considered an adult you don’t have any rights, and your parents or guardians make all the decision on your behalf, right? Wrong! You have rights at any age and it’s important you know what they are. Did you know you have the right to speak up for yourself when adults are making decisions for you? For instance, if you are changing schools or thinking of going to college, then you have the right to speak up and say what you want to do. It’s against the law to discriminate against you or treat you unfairly or differently because of things like the colour of your skin, having a disability, your sexuality or your religion, so if this is happening to you, speak up. These are just some of the ways you can use your rights, and if you’re inspired to find out more, we have lots of ways to help you.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
In 1989, the world’s leaders officially recognised the human rights of all children and young people under 18 by signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Here is a summary of what they agreed.
Seven Core Aims for Children and Young People in Wales
The Welsh Government has adopted the UNCRC as the basis of all their work for children and young people. This is expressed in seven core aims that all children and young people in Wales:
- have a flying start in life
- have a comprehensive range of education and learning opportunities
- enjoy the best possible health and are free from abuse, victimisation and exploitation
- have access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities
- are listened to, treated with respect, and have their race and cultural identity recognised
- have a safe home and a community which supports physical and emotional wellbeing
- are not disadvantaged by poverty.
Information Due Soon!
You have a right to be listened to and have your views taken seriously but sometimes it can be difficult to say how you are feeling. We can help you by providing an advocate, an adult who can give you the help you need to make sure you are heard.
If you have additional needs, a disability a lot of things are ‘done to you’ or ‘for you’ which you may want to have a say about. An advocate will make sure everyone knows how you feel. SNAP Cymru are pretty knowledgeable about this sort of stuff and our staff are honest and easy to talk to.
So what will an advocate do?
Help you speak up for yourself or speak on your behalf if that’s what you want
- Listen to your concerns or worries and help you to act on them.
- Be open and honest with you.
- Help you challenge decisions.
- Help you prepare for meetings.
- Explain to adults how you are feeling.
- Explain to you what is happening and what is planned to happen.
- Help you to sort out a problem if you are thinking of making a complaint, a claim of discrimination or an appeal
An advocate does not necessarily make things better. There may be some things that can’t be changed, but they will make sure everyone knows how you feel and help you to understand why the decision has been made.
How can I get an Advocate or find out more information?
You can speak to your family, school, youth worker or social worker about getting an advocate.
You can also contact SNAP Cymru directly and speak to a Family and Young Persons Officer.
They really understand special educational needs and how the system works! They can help you understand information and ensure your wishes and views are heard.
When might you want to use an advocate?
- If you want support, information or advice
- If you feel your views are not being listened toand want someone on your side
- If you are unhappy with the way you are being cared for.
- If you are angry or upset about something that is happening to you.
- If you feel you haven’t been treated fairly.
- If no one is telling you what is happening about your situation.
- If decisions are being made about you that you haven’t been involved in.
- Help you take part in meetings and reviews
- You might want help to make decisions at times of transition when you move on from one school to another
- If you want to make a complaint a claim of discrimination or an appeal to the tribunal and need a Case Friend to support you in this process.
If you’re being bullied, you may feel isolated or frightened. You may find it hard to make friends or to talk to people your age. You don’t have to put up with bullying. This can take tons of different forms, including threats, insults, name-calling and even violence. Bullying can happen anywhere, whether that’s at school, at uni, at work, or even cyber bullying on mobile phones or social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter).
Asking for help is a really brave and positive thing, and help exists in loads of different forms. Examples might include support, advice, information, or just somebody to talk to.
To stop the bullying, speak to someone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s the first step to resolving a situation that’s not acceptable. Everyone has a right to feel safe at school, college or in work and your school, college or workplace is obliged to prevent all forms of bullying.
There are many people who will listen and help. Tell someone you trust, such as a parent, carer, teacher or friend. If you feel you can’t talk directly to any of these people, write them a note. You can also contact SNAP Cymru directly by phone or email us with your question to THL@snapcymru.org 08451203730 or wmff.co.uk
Or contact MEIC, a free 24-hour helpline for children and young people. www.meiccymru.org call them free on 08088 023456.
Dispute resolution and mediation services must be available for young people with SEN to help resolve disagreements you may have with your school or Local Authority. These services are free of charge for young people who wish to use them. Your parents can also ask for this help on your behalf
Dispute resolution is often known as Mediation, because the same approach to resolving the problem is used. A mediator arranges a meeting with young person and any other person, such as the school, or professionals. Everybody will work together together to understand each other’s point of view and work towards a shared agreement on the issues
Attending Dispute resolution is voluntary, and can only take place if everybody involved agree to attend.
The organisation providing this service will be independent from from your Local Authority and in Wales is provided by SNAP Cymru who will , provide a confidential service.
Using the Dispute resolution service does not affect your right of appeal to the SEN Tribunal, or to make a complaint using the formal complaints process in your school or LA.
When can I use Dispute Resolution?
Dispute resolution services cover all children and young people with Special Educational Needs, and not just those who are being assessed for, or have a Statement of their SEN
They are available to resolve disagreements about anything to do with your SEN provision
They can be used to resolve disagreements easily and informally.
They provide a way of improving relationships, when there is a problem in communicating
Drugs and Alcohol Advice
Apart from having negative short and long term health effects, alcohol and drugs interfere with the way you may people think and can make you far more likely to act carelessly. If you drink alcohol or take drugs you are more likely to end up in dangerous situations. Facing up to the fact that you may have a drink or drug problem takes guts. Help is out there too, from confidential telephone support to face-to-face counselling and more, but it’s down to you to ask. Ultimately, the more switched on you can be about your alcohol intake the less likely it is that you’ll run into problems.
Talk About Alcohol – http://www.talkaboutalcohol.com/
Drinking and You – http://www.drinkingandyou.com/site/uk/moder.htm
Young Minds – www.youngminds.org.uk
Alateen – al-anon.alateen.org
https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/selfassessment- Are you drinking too much? Drinkaware has a useful self-assessment tool to help you discover if your drinking habits are healthy, or something to worry about. Drinkaware offers advice and information on alcohol and your drinking habits.
http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/ – Al-Anon provides support to anyone whose life has been affected by someone else’s drinking.
http://www.addaction.org.uk/ – Addactionhelps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.
Rehab 4 Alcoholism is a free and impartial helpline for people troubled with drug and alcohol issues. Rehab 4 Alcoholism aims to save lives by stopping addiction before it becomes too late. Tel: 0800 111 4108 Web: https://www.rehab4alcoholism.com
An eating disorder is a psychological problem with physiological symptoms.
They almost always stem from you not being happy, or feeling like your life is out of control. Maybe something’s going on at home, or you’re feeling really stressed about exams or grieving for someone who’s died. What’s important to remember about eating disorders is that they’re all to do with your head, although you’re focusing on your body. Controlling your body can sometimes feel like the only thing you have control over. It’s simplistic, but it’s true. You don’t have to be mega thin to have an eating disorder. The best thing to do is talk to someone you trust about what’s going on. They can help you decide whether it’s serious or not. (It’s impossible to do this by yourself because you’re used to your own behaviour by this point.) There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
These following free eating disorder helplines provide people with someone to talk to as well as access to advice, information and support at moments when they are worried and feel that they need to reach out.
What does the Local Authority (LA) do?
The Local Authority (LA) is responsible for coordinating education services within their county.
Their main responsibilities are:
- Improving educational standards through an educational development plan
- Working in partnership with Social Services, Health, Police and the voluntary sector to improve opportunities for those at risk of social exclusion and educate those who are excluded
- Providing effectively for those with Special Education Needs through identification, provision, funding and services such as education psychology and specialist support teaching services
- Making school transport accessible to those that need it
- Ensuring adequate pre-school places are available
- Monitoring the quality of teaching and learning within the county
- Monitoring schools and their policies such as admissions policies and school attendance
All LAs have a department responsible for services for children and young people with Special Education Needs.
All LA policies are available to the public and can be obtained by contacting the County Council directly or by downloading them from the County’s website. Specialist facilities can be found in the County Provision booklet.
Emotional Health, Depression & Anxiety
Emotional health is about the way we think and feel, and the ability to cope with difficult things in life. If something happens and we feel low emotionally, getting back on track can be difficult.
Good emotional health is important
www.theSite.org is the online guide to life for 16-25 year-olds in the UK. They provide non-judgmental support and information on everything from sex and exam stress to debt and drugs.
They provide straight-talking emotional support is available 24 hours a day.
Emotional Health and support
http://www.childline.org.uk 0800 1111
www.angriesout.com – Good information on how to manage anger, section for young people
Tel: 08457 90 90 90
Tel: 08444 775 774
BEAT – Eating Disorders
Tel: 0845 634 1414 / 0845 634 7650
Get Connected – for under 25’s
Tel: 0808 808 4994
Email: via Website
MINDInfoLine- Tel: 0300 123 3393
Papyrus – Prevention of young suicide
Tel: 0800 068 4141
SMS: 07786 209697
SupportLine Telephone Helpline:
or write to SupportLine PO Box 2860, Romford, Essex RM7 1JA
Provides emotional support and information relating to other helplines, counsellors and support groups throughout the UK including helplines and face to face for young people.
www.depressioninteenagers.co.uk – An interactive site with resources for young people with depression using self-help ideas and relaxation techniques
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Information Coming Soon!
www.youthhealthtalk.org – Collection of interviews with young people about their experience of health or illness. You can watch videos, listen to audio or read interviews
Information on diabetes, especially for children and teenagers. Find out all about the condition, share your story, and hear from others just like you.
http://www.asthma.org.uk/advice-young-people-and-asthmaAsthma UK has launched information exclusively for young adults to help you deal with your asthma and the challenges life throws at you while you finish school and head off to uni or into the working world
Money, Benefits, Student Finance
The phrase ‘self-harm’ is used to describe a wide range of behaviours. Self-harm is often understood to be a physical response to an emotional pain of some kind, and can be very addictive. Some of the things people do are quite well known, such as cutting, burning or pinching, but there are many, many ways to hurt yourself, including abusing drugs and alcohol or having an eating disorder. Sometimes, it’s more important to focus on how someone is feeling rather than what they do to themselves. Quite often, people find that more helpful.
Self-harm often happens during times of anger, distress, fear, worry, depression or low self-esteem in order to manage or control negative feelings. Self-harm can also be used as a form of self-punishment for something someone has done, thinks they have done, are told by someone else that they have done, or that they have allowed to be done to themselves.
The important thing isn’t to focus too much on the labelling, but to recognise when help is needed and find some support as soon aspossible.
This website is full of information about who self-harms, why people might self-harm and what you can do to help or support. Everyone has a different understanding about why it may be happening to them, but this should provide you with some basic information if you are encountering self-harm for the first time.
What can I do if I disagree with the statutory assessment process?
A parent can appeal:
- If the Local Authority (LA) refuses to formally assess or reassess a child’s needs (the LA will not consider a further request until a period of 6 months has passed following a previous request)
- If the LA refuses to issue or fails to maintain a statement of educational need
- Against the contents of Part 2 and/or Part 3 of the final or amended statement
- Against the school named in Part 4 of the final statement
- If the school is not named in Part 4 of the final statement
Where a parent disagrees with and wishes to challenge a decision made by the LA relating to any of the above, they have a right to appeal to the Special Education Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW). SENTW is an independent body set up to hear disputes between parents and LAs. SNAP Cymru can help guide you through this.
What can I do if I feel the school has discriminated against my child because of their disability?
Where a parent considers their child has been discriminated against or treated unfairly in any way due to their disability they have a right to make an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDisT). Contact SNAP Cymru to help with this process.
A Parent can make a claim to the tribunal about disability discrimination in Welsh schools including nursery schools and nursery classes in schools.
The Equalities Act defines disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse affect on a person’s ability to perform normal day-to-day activities’.
How can I identify discrimination?
There are two ways to identify discrimination:
- Less favourable treatment – A school may be discriminating if it treats a child “less favourably” for a reason related to his/her disability, and it cannot justify that treatment.
- Failure to take reasonable steps – The school can also be accused of discrimination if it does not take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure your child is not at a substantial disadvantage compared to the other pupils at the school.
How long do I have to appeal?
There is a 6 month time-limit for making a claim which starts from when the alleged disability discrimination took place.
How will I know if my concerns are taken seriously?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Has confirmation of the decision been received in writing from the Local Authority (LA)? An appeal cannot be lodged until formal notification of the decision has been received or the final statement has been received
- Has a copy of the booklet for parents entitled ‘How to appeal’ for SEN appeals or ‘How to make a claim’ for Disability Discrimination Appeals been received?
- Has the LA been contacted to discuss concerns?
- Has the local Disagreement Resolution Service been brought to your attention or accessed?
Participating in Disagreement Resolution does not affect a parents right of appeal to SENTW.
What if I’m not satisfied with the Local Authority’s decision?
If, after discussion with the Local Authority, a parent wishes to lodge an appeal with SENTW or SENDisT, they have 2 months from the date they received the letter informing them of the decision or the final or amended statement in which to do so.
The whole SEN appeals process, from registration to hearing and the issuing of a decision, usually takes between 3 and 4 months.
Contact SNAP Cymru to help guide you with this procedure.
Who can I contact for information about appeals?
You may find the following organisations helpful in this area:
SNAP Cymru IPS service
The Law Society or local Citizens’ Advice Bureau’s will be aware of solicitors that could assist with the appeal where required; also, those solicitors who offer public funding.
SENTW and SENDisT are available at: www.sentw.gov.uk or telephone 01597 829 800
Sex and relationships
Brook – Ask Brook Helpline – sexual health / pregnancy
Tel: 0808 802 1234
SMS: 07717 989023
Website: www.askbrook.org.uk Brook Young People’s Information Service- Information, support and signposting service for young people under 25 on sexual health. Also run a confidential enquiry service via the Brook website. Details of local services available via text message (see website for details). 24hr recorded information line on a range of sexual health topics (020 7617 8000). Centres throughout the UK offering free contraception, pregnancy testing and counselling.
Worth Talking About
0300 123 2930 – www.nhs.uk/worthtalkingabout
Helpline providing information, advice and guidance for young people aged 12-18 on sexuality and sexual health. Issues dealt with include contraception, pregnancy, family planning clinics, sexually transmitted diseases, peer pressure and relationships.
AIDS Trust Cymru
Drop-in centre providing social, emotional, educational and practical support for anyone affected by HIV.
BHA – National Organisation
Health related services for black & minority ethnic communities.
B C AIDS Homelink Service – National Organisation
Helpline for people from Northern Ireland affected by HIV who are living outside Northern Ireland and are considering returning home, short or long term.
Medical Foundation for AIDS & Sexual Health – National Organisation
Promotes excellence in the prevention and management of HIV and other STIs.
Embrace UK Community Support Centre – National Organisation
Advice, information and guidance for disadvantaged groups including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Family Planning Association (FPA) – National Organisation
Information service on contraception and all aspects of sexual health.
Herpes Viruses Association – National Organisation
Helpline for people with herpes simplex (cold sores, genital herpes, whitlows) and herpes zoster (shingles and chickenpox).
Marie Stopes International – Head Office – National Organisation
Help and advice on contraception, termination of pregnancy, female sterilisation and vasectomy.
Men’s Health Helpline – National Organisation
Telephone information service on issues relating to men’s health
Worth Talking About – National Organisation
Telephone: 0800 28 29 30 freephone 7.00am – 12.00 midnight.
Helpline providing information, advice and guidance for young people under the age of 18 on sexuality and sexual health.
Terrence Higgins Trust – National Organisation
Advice, information and support for anyone affected by HIV
Turning Point – National Organisation
Social care charity providing services for people with complex needs across a range of disability issues, including residential rehabilitation and advice and support
0800 0568 578, www.afteradoption.org.uk
Helpline for up to 25 years re adoptees and for their birth parents, siblings and friends. Information and support on issues relating to adoption, including tracing relatives, rights, birth identity and other services.
0800 1111, www.childline.org.uk,
Emotional support for children and young people on issues relating to child abuse, bullying etc.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Child Law Advice line – 0808 802 0008 www.childrenslegalcentre.com
Children’s Legal Centre, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3QS Represents the interests of children and young people in matters of law and policy affecting them. Providing free advice and information service by letter and phone. Free representation service to children and parents in education disputes.
020 7008 0151
Enter Forced Marriages into search bar at top of site – Service provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to protect young people from forced marriages abroad. Service offers help to young people in these circumstances to help get them back to the UK.
0808 808 4994, www.getconnected.org.uk
Free telephone and email helpline which can connect a child or young person to any UK helpline where appropriate.
Muslim Youth Helpline
0808 808 2008 (Area served London)
Helpline providing culturally sensitive support to Muslim youth under the age of 25. Outreach services including family mediation, face to face counselling and befriending.
National Youth Advocacy Service
0808 808 1001
Provides information, advice, advocacy and legal representation to young people up to 25 through a network of advocates through England and Wales.
0845 790 9090 (Republic of Ireland – 1850 60 90 90) email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.samaritans.org – 24hr service offering emotional support.
0808 800 5792
Other Useful Links
Telephone advice, information and advocacy services for children in care. Helpline for care leavers 0808 100 324. Visiting advocacy service for children in secure units and other residential homes.
www.anationalvoice.org – Online information and support for young people in care or leaving care including rights and entitlements and the Care Act
www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/advice – Advice and information on wide range of issues including bullying, sex and relationships, drink and drugs, body and mind
www.catch-22.org.uk – work in 150 towns and cities supporting young people with tough lives and facing difficult situations, programmes help to develop a young person’s confidence and skills. Work covers substance misuse, family support, health and well being, education and training including apprenticeships, offender rehabilitation, and community activities leaving care and advisory service, housing services.
www.chatdanger.com – Site aimed at children and young people with advice on staying safe online, online games, chatrooms, email and mobile phones
www.cliconline.co.uk – Clic is the national information and advice service for young people in Wales aged 11-25
www.divorceaid.co.uk – If you have concerns and fears relating to your parents divorce click on ‘Child Aid’ button at top of home page and then go to the Child or Teenager section as appropriate.
www.docready.org – Helps young people get ready for the first time visiting a doctor to discuss mental health. Digital tools aimed at ensuring young people get the most out of their appointment with the doctor.
Giving children the tools to cope with risky situations
www.headmeds.org.uk – website for young people with information about mental health medication, site owned and managed by national charity Young Minds.
www.kidshealth.org – Has a teens section dealing with issues like body image, sexual health, drugs, alcohol etc
www.nightline.ac.uk – Trained student volunteers provide emotional support to students. Operating in the night when many other university services are closed.
www.shelter.org.uk – Shelter also provides information and advice to young people
www.studentdepression.org – Site contains excellent information and help for anyone feeling depressed
www.teenagehealthfreak.org – Lots of information including advice and information on bullying, eating disorders, legal rights, self-harm, suicidal, confidentiality when seeing a GP
www.thesite.org – Advice, information and support for young people
www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk – Online support for young people who are in or have been in care
– Website run by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers – online support for young carers, chatroom, discussion boards
– Online information on local youth information, advice, counselling and support services
Meic is the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales. From finding out what’s going on in your local area to help dealing with a tricky situation, Meic will listen even when no-one else will. We won’t judge you and will help by giving you information, useful advice and the support you need to make a change https://www.meiccymru.org/category/online-safety/
This guide features what children do online, the threat of online strangers and how to ensure a healthy balance between Internet use, your children’s online privacy, digital security, and more on online safety to mention.
What is Wmff!?
SNAP Cymru is offering a fun and unique opportunity for young people from across Wales to get involved in the Wmff! project at this exciting time in its growth and development. Wmff! is a bilingual Smartphone app that went live in December 2012, designed exclusively for young people by SNAP Cymru, Wales’ leading parent partnership organisation. Wmff! aims to encourage young people to seek support and advice for themselves and covers a number of key areas identified as being important in their lives. The areas covered include bullying, exclusions, getting back into education, finding work and young people’s rights. The app has been designed and built by Galactig, a North Wales based digital creative agency. Young people have been heavily involved in the design and development process from the very beginning. Gwirforce, a panel of volunteers aged between 14 to 25 helped choose the winning supplier and it was through consultations with young people in North Wales that the name Wmff! was decided upon.
What we’re looking for?
We’re looking for bright, passionate individuals, who want to make a positive difference in their schools and local communities. Ideally, you’ll be 14 – 25 years old and in education, training or employment. You’ll need to be a confident communicator, who has the ability to inspire and connect with other young people.
What are my responsibilities?
As a Young Ambassador, you will be responsible for spreading the word about Wmff! to young people across Wales. From time to time, you will need to attend events to represent and promote the Wmff! brand.
What’s in it for me?
As a young ambassador you will:
• Be part of an exciting and growing project.
• Have the chance to influence local and national policy affecting young people’s lives.
• Meet and socialise with other young people in the Young Ambassadors Network.
• Have access to plenty of training opportunities and a chance to develop key skills.
• Have a great addition to your CV – great for college and university applications. If you’re interested in becoming a Young Ambassador, please email Business.Support@snapcymru.org and ask for an application form.