West Lothian school receives life skills lessons to tackle homelessness
Lessons in practical life skills such as household budgeting and managing your finances are being rolled out to all 11 secondary schools in West Lothian in a bid to prevent teenage homelessness.
It follows the success of a course developed earlier this year for students attending the Burnhill School Skills Center in Whitburn.
Skills Center staff work with students with a wide variety of additional support needs.
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Youth homelessness is widespread across Scotland. There are few specialist accommodation units for those with additional needs and West Lothian Council is still looking to identify a site to build a new assisted accommodation unit in Livingston.
Rising levels of homelessness, particularly among adolescents with additional support needs, have prompted the development of courses for the Skills Center to help students build resilience and prepare for a life independent when they leave school.
The result was the National Progression Award in Tenancy at SCQF Level 4. The course offers practical help and advice on securing a rental for the first time and preparing for independent living.
It covers issues such as the process of obtaining a rental, the behaviors and attitudes needed to maintain a rental, and practical lessons on how to maintain your home. Other elements include personal finance, money management, cooking skills, and healthy recipes on a budget.
A presentation to the board’s Education Policy and Review Committee (PDSP) highlighted positive feedback from Burnhill students who attended.
One said, “I understand how I could budget for bills and food.”
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Others said, “I was lucky enough to see activities and clubs I could get involved in within my local community” and “I know where I can ask for help if I need it. I need. »
Reporting to PDSP, Andrew Millar, Additional Support Needs Manager, said: ‘The Competence Center team sought support from all service areas of West Lothian Council, including the Anti Action Group. -poverty and housing, to support the delivery of the qualification and to ensure that the learning experience is linked to real life scenarios. Support from service areas highlights a West Lothian Council-wide commitment to improving outcomes for young people.
“The success of the program to date in West Lothian has led e-Sgoil, Scotland’s national e-learning program, to work with the team to explore how to add the Skills Center program approach to achieving the learners across Scotland.”
Education officials also plan to share course materials with council colleagues who work with young people outside of school as well as share materials and coursework with mainstream secondary schools, initially for students supported in Skill Stations, and to also make the work available as a Level 4 course as part of traditional course choices.