Health student supports children with additional needs

26th May 2022

A Health & Social Care student from Stratford-upon-Avon College has impressed during a recent placement working at a SEND school, supporting children with additional needs.

Keavy Mclean, 18 from Shirley, is in the second year of her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care and began a placement with Hazel Oak School to prepare her for working with children as a career.

Keavy has always wanted to work in care. Starting off with a desire to be a midwife before realising her passion lay in becoming a paediatric nurse, she has always wanted to be in a profession that helps others.

So, when choosing what to study, she decided to choose the Health & Social Care course at Stratford-upon-Avon College: “I really liked the sound of the course. It is more coursework based which matches my learning style and also, they have a strong placement element which is more hands on and allows greater insight into the type of work I want to do.”

Keavy at school
Keavy really loved her placement at Hazel Oak and continues to enjoy the work there

Keavy began her placement in October and has already completed the number of hours required. However, she likes the work so much she is continuing working a day a week until the end of her course.

There is a lot that Keavy enjoys about the work at Hazel Oak: “It has been an amazing learning experience. I have worked with children with a range of additional needs like autism and down syndrome and have developed skills to communicate better with the students. I have even learnt some Makaton!”

Keavy worked with teacher Lucy Obyrne. Lucy details: “It has been a delight to have Keavy as a student in our class and she has been an incredible support to both our children and staff whilst working with us.

Keavy worked in a mixed class, aged between 7-11. The children have a range of moderate to severe learning disabilities e.g. Autistic, ADHD, Down Syndrome and Speech and Language impairment. Many of our children present with a range of complex sensory needs and Keavy has learnt how to support children to regulate their sensory needs in different ways.

She has observed a range of different learning approaches and taken on board and modelled excellent SEND teaching practice. Keavy has grown in confidence and is a real team player. She has been a true asset to our class and the children enjoy and value ‘Miss Mclean’s Thursday’.”

Lucy also details why work experience of this type is so valuable for students like Keavy: “It is so beneficial to be given the opportunity to observe and experience life in a special needs school so that you can see the multi-agency approach to supporting a child’s need. We at Hazel Oak have our children at the centre of everything we do, with compassion and understanding shining through, even on the challenging days. Health and Social care is all about having the service user’s best interest at the heart of everything and I feel SEND teaching models this.

Our world is slowly becoming a more inclusive place and that’s thanks to education and acceptance of others. The College providing students with the opportunity to work with young people with special needs and disability enables them to develop a true understanding of how we can support inclusion for all in our current and future society.”

Keavy has had offers from three different universities to study Paediatric Nursing. Ellie Davis, Health & Social Care lecturer is extremely proud of Keavy’s achievement: “Keavy is one of the hardest working and dedicated students I have ever had! Keavy will make an excellent paediatric nurse and will be a credit to any university she goes too.”

Congratulations on your success Keavy!

Find out more about the College’s Health & Social Care courses: Health & Social Care courses