I work in a special school. We have a wide range of children with different needs but approximately half of our youngsters are autistic, and working at all different levels both socially and academically. Our classes are based in pathways, we have a sensory/engagement pathway for our severely disabled children, life skills pathways for those with severe learning needs, a more sensory pathway for our ‘bouncy’ autistic children and a curriculum pathway for our learners who have the knowledge and understanding to sit exams. They tend to work towards functional skills and entry level exams and our goal is to help them on their road to perhaps college and eventually employment.

Over the past two terms I have had the pleasure of spending time with some of these youngsters whilst they have done work experience with us in the finance office. Our first candidate was Lily, a clever young lady from 6th form who spent a morning a week with us in term 5. Lily very quickly got the hang of the budget, she helped me build the budget looking at previous years spend, what we knew was coming up in the next 12 months and the final budget was one that she had had considerable input into. Lily was the business lead for our Young Enterprise business and did so exceptionally well she received an award for her progress from Young Enterprise beating youngsters from right across the South East. I have no doubt that Lily will leave us one day and be successful.

Over the past two weeks I have had three youngsters from key stage 3 with me. Each time I have worked through a presentation I did for governors, explaining how the budget is created, how I monitor it and how we keep the school running. Their comments and input have been amazing. They have amazed me with their understanding, their enthusiasm and their constant interest in how we operate. I have no doubt that two of the three could go on to become very successful, probably in finance as that seemed to be where their interest lay. The other? She was fascinated and had constant questions about how things run in school, question after question! She will make a brilliant, precise, administrator.

Our youngsters never fail to impress me with their enthusiasm and gusto. One day, there will be some lucky employers who will snap them up. If we can continue to build their confidence they will go far. I wouldn’t even mind if they came and worked with me!

Hopefully they have enjoyed their time working with me and have taken lots away. I know I have learnt so much from them, their enthusiasm was infectious, their interest so engaging and I can’t wait to see what they all go on to do after they leave.

They all have so much potential.

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