SEND Young Inspectors: The Soap Box Derby
Introduction to the SEND Young Inspectors
SEND Young Inspectors are young people with a Special Educational Need or Disability who have volunteered to visit local activities and clubs to assess how suitable the provision is for young people with SEND. Their views help clubs to make sure they are accessible and welcoming, and they provide other young people with reassurances about what to expect at the activity or club. The young people who take part in this programme have done training with the Participation Team to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to carry out the role confidently and effectively.
The Aylesbury Soap Box Derby
On Sunday 19 June 2022, Aylesbury Town Council hosted its third Soap Box Derby. This event involved people racing homemade, gravity-powered karts through Whitehill Park. There were prizes for the best karts, as well as family entertainment and music.
Aylesbury Town Council promoted the event widely and one of our SEND Young Inspectors, Amy, and her dad decided to attend. They thought it would be the perfect opportunity to put Amy’s new SEND Inspector skills into practice.
The Inspection and the Inspection Report
Amy attended the event from 12 til 3pm. She paid attention to lots of different things at the event – the location, facilities, activities and entertainment, as well as the SEN support.
After the event, Amy wrote an inspection report, which you can view by clicking the button below.
A summary of her findings is given below:
- The event was good and there was plenty to do. The timing perfect, it was not too long.
- It was in a nice park that was easy to get to, and we were able to park near.
- It was good that there was a sensory space.
- I liked the deaf signer for the presentation at the end.
- People with sensory issues should be aware it is a noisy event. Also people who find it hard to wait should be aware there are some long queues.
After the Inspection
Shortly after the event, Amy’s dad sent Amy’s Inspection Report to the Bucks Participation Team and to the lead event organiser, Ruth Mayhew, by email.
Ruth replied to say “Thank You” to Amy, to acknowledge all of the points she had made, and to ask some follow-up questions. She promised to take Amy’s recommendations on board and factor them into next year’s event. You can read Ruth’s full email to Amy below.
Please could you pass on my sincere thanks to Amy for writing such a great report.
Amy, you have covered so many angles and raised some great points. We too agreed that the chill out zone was too close to the speakers and we will certainly change this location next time. Your comment about the area not really being suitable for your age group is spot on, and is something that we know we need to develop. The idea of having beanbags is a great one, and something that we would love to implement, however we simply don’t have the space to store them between events – I was thinking , do you think foldable “camping chairs” be a suitable alternative? Which would offer somewhere to sit, without taking up lots of storage space. Also do you think we need to offer anything for older teens with SEN something to do whilst sitting and chilling – or is simply having the space and chairs sufficient. Please do let me know your ideas and thoughts.
I know queuing can be an issue for many people. We have toyed with the idea of having some bright A4 cards that say “please hold my place in the queue” You would be able to collect the card from our information desk. Then give it to the person stood at the back of the queue, go off and do your thing, whilst watching the queue from afar – then when that person reaches the front of the queue they would wave the card in the air for you and you could go straight to the front. Do you think this could work? If not, please do let me know any other suggestions to make it easier for you and “fair” to those waiting.
The noise levels from the DJ is a tricky one, as we need to keep the vibrancy of the event going – but yes maybe turning it down more when the races aren’t on, could be a good idea, I will mull this over, thank you.
It is wonderful for us to have your feedback, thank you for providing us with your suggestions, to guide us to improve further. We hope to see you at the Parklife Weekend at the end of August, having you as volunteers would be amazing – and if not then please do come along and let us know how we could improve this event too.
With very best wishes and sincere thanks,
Ruth Mayhew, Senior Communities and Events Officer
Later in the year, Amy’s dad provided the following update:
“Amy was very keen and has now joined the Aylesbury Town Council Events Volunteer Team off the back of a Soapbox Derby inspection she did in the summer.
She helped at the Live in the Park event and has also just completed the Christmas on the Cobbles event where she worked on the Xmas crafts stand in Friar’s Square
Amy’s involvement in, and inspection of, the Soap Box Derby event will help to make future Soap Box Derby events even more accessible for young people with SEND. The Town Council will also follow her recommendations in their other events, such as:
- Aylesbury on Sea
- Live in the Park
- Proms in the Park
We hope that Amy will be able to attend the event next year to see if her recommendations are effectively put into practice.
How did we listen, act and respond?
Aylesbury Town Council were able to invite the feedback of Amy through the SEND Young Inspectors programme.
Amy attended the Soap Box Derby event with her dad, and wrote an Inspection Report to share her observations and suggestions.
The inspection report was emailed to the event organiser, Ruth.
The event organiser will be putting Amy’s recommendations into practice at the Soap Box Derby in 2023. Ruth asked Amy some follow-up questions to help with this – for example, asking if camping chairs would be a suitable seating for young people, rather than bean bags.
Ruth responded to Amy via email to her dad, thanking Amy, noting her suggestions, and promising to take them on board.
Aylesbury Town Council continue to be in touch with Amy and her dad.
“Through a SEN Inspectors opportunity Amy has managed to find a new and exciting way of challenging herself.
It was one of the first inspections she did and she now feels part of a welcoming volunteer team.”
– Amy’s dad