Posted on Friday 1st June 2012
Young people living with disabilities and/or Special Educational Needs throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf are taking to the stage to showcase how they’ve improved their lives through specialist learning schemes thanks to a groundbreaking service offered by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
The four special schools in the area have combined for the first time to work on a joint project which uses creative, cultural and artistic methods to engage with students.
Now the young people will be illustrating their talents to a wider audience at Cardiff Bay by offering a show-stopping performance at Unity, Wales’s premier international arts disability celebration event.
The Special Schools project has worked with 14 specialist artists and organisations, offering a whole range of workshops for young people living with disabilities and/or Special Educational Needs in the County Borough.
The project is being delivered through the Council’s Building the Future Together programme, a £14m initiative part financed by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, which aims to support young people to aquire the right skills to prepare them for further learning or employment and to maximize their potential.
Young people are having the opportunity to participate in accredited courses, in areas such as visual art and design; large scale puppet making for theatre; poetry; digital media and film making; drama improvisation and musical theatre inspired by the hit TV show ‘Glee’; and photography.
An outstanding feature of this project is that everything created during the workshops is made by young people and will be used in the multi media production, looking at themes of Welsh Culture, Citizenship and what it means to ‘belong’ to school, to community and to Wales.
Louise Cook, Head of Services for Young People at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council explained, “Feedback on the project has been incredible, with teachers reporting that they have been inspired as a result of the project working side by side with community artists. They have taken learning that occurs during the project back into the classroom.
“The Special Schools are working closer than ever before and ‘social-days’ have been planned between the schools as a result of this initiative.
“Effectively, this means that pupils who are socially isolated are now building friendships with pupils from neighbouring schools which hopefully will lead to a stronger network of disabled young people in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and furthermore, providing the young people with the confidence to participate fully in society.
“The project has been recognised for achieving remarkable results in Autistic children which has helped them grow in confidence and improve their communication skills
“Providing opportunities for them to participate and engage supports the young people’s health and wellbeing, enabling them to express themselves through the creative process; and also supports the delivery of the Single Plan for Children and Young People, providing them with access to cultural activity, specifically aimed to develop skills required to meet their needs as individuals.”
The BTFT Special Schools Project si working alongside the Council’s Arts Development Team’s Youth Arts Programme – funded by Fframwaith as well as collaborating with community and educational practitioners, and with the emergence of strong local authority partnerships are delivering a term-time and holiday provision that ensures the best experience for young people in RCT, in particular those with higher support needs.
For further information on the Building the Future Together project please email the BTFT team or ring them on
or 01443 744304.