Author Archives: Amy

Young people in foster care have their say “Give me a chance”⤴

from @ Reach

Young champions from the Fostering Network Scotland have made an ace film called “Give me a Chance” about the positive role that foster care can have in young people’s lives. Here’s what they told Reach.Scot about why they did it….

“We made this film because we wanted to highlight the challenges children and young people can face in everyday life when placed into care, which is no fault of their own.  This film is the experiences of 9 people rolled into 1.

We chose the medium of film because we personally don’t usually pick up leaflets when out and about, but if something of interest is on Social Media we are more inclined to click on it and share it with our friends.

This film is for everyone, for those in care themselves and carers, teachers, social workers and for classmates of anyone who is in care.

We hope people discuss the positive impact a foster placement can have on the life of a child/young person and how when given the chance, any child can achieve their positive potential.”

If this film has raised any questions or issues for you, or if you’d like to find out more about the Fostering Network Scotland’s Young Champions, you can call the Fosterline Scotland on 0141 204 1400 or email fosterlinescotland@fostering.net

 

 

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Getting it right for all pupils⤴

from @ Reach

Here’s something that can make a big difference to pupils’ lives. Ever heard of GIRFEC? It’s short for Getting it Right for Every Child. GIRFEC helps the adults who support you to work together to make sure you are ok and that you get the support you need. Check out this GIRFEC wheel picture. Teachers and other people who support you might use this wheel when talking to you about what is going well in your life and where you need more help.

What does GIRFEC mean for you?

GIRFEC should make sure that:

  • You understand what is happening and why.
  • You have been listened to and your wishes have been heard, understood and taken into account.
  • You feel confident about the help you are getting.
  • You are involved in discussions and decisions that affect you.
  • You know you will get support that is right for you as soon as possible.
  • People that are supporting you work together to make sure you get the support you need

Check out Ryan’s story to get an idea of what GIRFEC looks like in real life.

GIRFEC isn’t that easy to get your head around. One council has made an app to help make sense of it, worth checking out. 

Here’s how some of the older pupils at Gourock Primary  have helped people understand what GIRFEC is about by setting up a social enterprise. If your secondary school have done any projects like this, would be great to hear from you.

“The Games Café began with an idea from our P6 pupils in the school. They wanted to make sure that the rest of the pupils in the school knew the 8 wellbeing indicators. They thought of a game board with the wellbeing wheel in the centre and some stops around the outside where the player would think about the indicators. The Girfec Gameboard with question cards was completed and printed a year later.

We entered a local Dragons’ Den style competition where we pitched an idea to spread the word of our Girfec Gameboard through a Games Café for the school and community. This was a Social Enterprise bid and all funds would go to our Partner school in Malawi.

The Games Café has been running since August 2016 and already we have had parents, pupils and members of the community coming along to the Games Café for a coffee or tea, home baking and a chance to play the game.”

A big thank you to the Girfec Group at Gourock for writing this – Jess, Adam ,Duncan, Ellie & Maya.

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What helps young people feel included in school?⤴

from @ Reach

Hello, I’m Mark, I’m a 17-year-old pupil at school in Cumbernauld and I’m the Inclusion Ambassador for North Lanarkshire.

I went to Luxembourg to represent Scotland in a Europe-wide inclusive education conference. When we were there I got a good idea of what was important for pupils all over Europe – the key message is “Everything about us, with us”. We want to be heard and we want to have a say in anything that has to do with us. We are the experts in our own needs and we know what works and what doesn’t.

This is not just a message for politicians. It is the teachers that make the immediate difference to how inclusive a school is.

Take my school – before I moved up to high school my year head met with my parents and me. We worked out barriers for me in and around the school, spoke with teachers in private to make sure they understood my needs and made a clear plan for every type of situation at school. This might all seem quite a bit of work for one pupil, yet this only took three meetings and it was all made so much easier because of the talking and listening that went on between me and the teacher.

Sadly, some pupils do not have such a good experience as me, which is why I’m pleased to be one of the Inclusion Ambassadors for Education Scotland. We are a national group of young people who act as a ‘voice’ for pupils on inclusion. We share our views and experiences with Scottish Government Ministers, local authorities and schools. We are hoping to develop resources, a school pledge and a film in the coming months.

Here are three of our top priorities to make schools more inclusive:

  • Social Problems: being excluded at break times and not having enough chances to be included and make friends are big issues. My school found a way around this by setting up a club where pupils could play computer games and socialise. This helped pupils who were often quiet to come out of their shell.
  • Issues with Support staff: For some pupils (but not all), having support staff can sometimes feel like a barrier to their social life, and they might not need them as they get older.
  • Awareness: We feel that there isn’t enough done by schools to raise awareness of the issues that pupils face or the reasons they need support. The worst thing schools can do is to pick out a specific pupil – that’s just everyone’s worst nightmare – but what schools can do is to educate the year group that other people have different needs and promote the fact that you are a diverse and inclusive school so it’s great to have all types of pupils.

For me, talking and listening are the key to true inclusion because without this everything you might be doing could be entirely irrelevant to the pupil. After all, how can you include someone who isn’t involved in the conversation?

 

 

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The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is listening to 1,000 care experienced voices⤴

from @ Reach

“I’m Lynzy and I work as the Policy Ambassador for Who Cares? Scotland. I also grew up in care. Who Cares? Scotland is an independent advocacy and campaign organisation that works with care experienced young people, helping them to be listened to. We know that when young people are heard great things happen. The last time the Scottish Parliament listened to care experienced young people, a law called the Children and Young People Act 2014 was brought in and it included some of the biggest changes to care in a long time. However, we know that bigger changes are still needed. This is why Who Cares? Scotland came up with the 1000 Voices campaign.

1000 Voices asks that 1000 care experienced young people’s voices are listened to by the First Minister. We hope that by hearing from 1000 care experienced young people the First Minister will understand how things can be made better for them. In September 2016 the First Minister visited our national office in Glasgow and I got to meet her.  After she had spoken with us she decided to back the 1000 Voices campaign over the next two years. Not long after this, she also decided there should be a review of care in Scotland.

As someone with care experience I think it is vital for our voices to be heard. We are the ones that live in care so we know how it really works and what it feels like, better than anyone else. Sharing things about yourself can be scary at the time, but afterwards I have always felt empowered. I remember the first time I shared my story, I felt like a bag of nerves but then I felt really listened to. I felt that everything I said had meaning and that finally my story was being understood and not judged.

I believe that the First Minister listening to 1000 voices could improve the life chances of young people who come into care. I especially hope that ‘1000 voices’ can make it easier for care experienced young people to get the support they need to get the most out of their education. Young people in care already face lives full of upheaval and uncertainty. They must cope with being separated from their families, adjusting to a new way of life, getting to know new people, as well as going to meetings, reviews and children’s hearings. Even though care experienced young people have the right to extra support in school, this doesn’t always happen. I believe that if our views are listened to, more people will understand what support we need in education and how important it is that we get it. We could improve the chances of care experienced young people going on to college and university, something that a lot of us never think we can achieve. I believe that if we, care experienced young people, are listened to, there is so much more we can achieve in the world.”

 

If you are interested in hearing about how you can get involved with 1000 Voices, contact hello@whocaresscotland.org.

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Just found out you’ve got dyslexia? Get advice from young people who know how you’re feeling….⤴

from @ Reach

This letter has been written by 2 pupils who wanted to offer advice to any young people who may have just found out that they are also dyslexic. 

Dear friend,

Don’t worry. It might be a bit of a shock to find out that you are dyslexic. However, some of the smartest people in the world are dyslexic. Did you know that Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean is dyslexic? Also Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One driver. Richard Branson is a millionaire and owner of Virgin T.V, Virgin airlines, Virgin money and lots of other businesses. Not only is he smart but he is also dyslexic.

There are lots of things that you can use to help you with your learning. Your school, family and friends can help. Some of the things we use are coloured reading rulers or tinted glasses. You can use computers to help you search for information or for writing. There are lots of dyslexia friendly games you can use and dyslexia friendly books.

Don’t be embarrassed about telling friends and family. The more people who know, the more people can help. The same at school. If teachers know they can help and give you suitable work.

Thanks for reading this. We hope this has helped you,

From Joshua and Alistair.

If you’re a young person with dyslexia, you can get in touch with Dyslexia Scotland on 0344 800 8484 or email helpline@dyslexiascotland.org.uk . There’s also some good advice and info on the Dyslexia Scotland website, including how to get your voice heard. 

This letter was in Dyslexia Scotland’s publication Young Persons’ Dyslexia Voice. Many thanks to the young writers Joshua Geddes and Alastair MacDonald for letting us feature it on Reach.Scot 

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Tips on going to school meetings⤴

from @ Reach

You should get the chance to have your say at meetings to plan what you learn and the support you need. If you’re nervous about going to meetings you can take someone with you to help you get your views across.

Remember:

  • You know yourself better than anyone else does
  • Before you go into a meeting think about what’s important to you
  • Adults must listen to what you think is right for you
  • Getting involved can make you feel more in control of your life
  • There are people who can help you have a say. They are called advocates. Ask your school to help you find one.

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