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?
Free breaks for Scottish families. As part of VisitScotland’s Spirit of Scotland campaign a range of businesses will offer almost 100 vulnerable and disadvantaged Scottish families the opportunity to experience more of the Spirit of Scotland for themselves. All families must be referred by someone who knows them professionally like a teacher, social worker, health visitor or another charity. To find out more and apply for a break click here http://www.familyholidayassociation.org.uk/scotspirit/
In support of the Gender Balance Interim Report published by the Scottish Funding Council this research maps out the approaches currently taken by colleges and universities to address gender imbalance. It aims to:
- map current activities tackling student gender participation imbalances across Scotland’s FE sector;
- assess what approaches work best and why in terms of achieving sustained change in relation to gender imbalances;
- assess what approaches do not work;
- offer recommendations for tackling gender imbalances to achieve sustained improvements.
You can access the full report here: Post-proofread report – gender imbalances HEA
This document aims to support care staff working collaboratively with education staff to support children and young people with their learning in the care setting. It recognises that care staff are already supporting children and young people’s learning in care, and aims to provide them with practical examples which will assist services to further improve learning outcomes for children and young people across care and education. The examples of learning experiences which follow are organised in the 3 key curriculum areas which are the responsibility of all: literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.
Click here to open the document as a pdf.
Click here to discuss this in the Inclusion Hub on GLOW.
CELCIS is looking for a looked after young person to help them by designing for their 2015 Christmas card
Their New Website makes it easier to keep up to speed with what’s going on for looked after children and young people in Scotland, and beyond. Find out more at their Knowledge Bank
Free Event for Education Professionals
10.00 – 15.00
17 November 2015
COSLA, Edinburgh, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh, EH12 5BH
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading known preventable cause of permanent learning disability worldwide and is caused by maternal use of alcohol during pregnancy. Affected children can have a wide range of physical, growth and neurobehavioural problems which impact on their everyday lives and limit their independence. Often teachers are the first professional to notice a child has difficulties.
As part of a programme of events over the last 4 years, the Scottish Government has arranged a free event for nursery and primary school teachers. The event’s keynote speaker is Dr Ana Hanlon-Dearman – a Developmental Paediatrician from the Manitoba FASD Centre in Canada. The Scottish Government has worked closely with Dr Hanlon-Dearman in moving FASD forward in Scotland. Dr Hanlon-Dearman has a wealth of experience working with schools in Manitoba, and will be discussing their work supporting children and young people, as well as tools that have proved successful.
For further information or to book a space on the event, please contact Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org 0131 244 4634.