Tag Archives: Support for Learning

Need help to get your views heard?⤴

from @ Reach

An advocacy worker can help you share your views at meetings where decisions are made about you. They can help you work out what you want to say and can even speak for you if that’s what you want.

You can ask your school or council for help finding an advocacy worker. Or call the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance 0131 524 1975.

If you’re care experienced, check out who your local advocate is at Who Cares? Scotland. 

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Young carer has her say on leaving school and the difference support can make⤴

from @ Reach

Young carers do an amazing job juggling caring and school work, but it’s not always easy.
If you’re caring for someone at home, the right support can make all the difference in helping you get the most out of school. Young carer Lauren, who shares her story below, is a great example of this.
Got a story (good or bad) about what school’s been like for you as a young carer? What do YOU think schools can do to help young carers? Get in touch, we are here to listen and have useful advice about getting support… 

 

“My name is Lauren, I’m 18 years old, I’ve been supported by the Falkirk & Clackmannanshire Young Carers Project since I was in primary school and I’m in my last week of sixth year! I’m so excited to leave school, feeling as ready as ever to begin the next chapter at university. I’m only feeling ready to leave because of the amazing support I received at school for being a Young Carer.

Over the last three years I’ve had the support from the most amazing Pastoral teacher who has helped and guided me into the next path that I’m about to take and I’m forever grateful that I’ve had her support.

Until I started getting support from my pastoral head, I was in a horrible place at school, where I bottled up all my stress and worry about home life and life as a Carer and it was eating me up. One day I burst into tears in the middle of a class because I didn’t understand what was going on and the stress got too much for me. And that was my first encounter with my Pastoral.

Since then I’ve gone nowhere but upwards, achieving National 5s, Highers and even having a stab at an Advanced Higher, as well as getting a place at university. I’ve heard so many stories about young carers not receiving any support from school and I don’t know what I would do without my pastoral, she’s been my safety net more times than either of us imagined!

I can’t wait to leave school. Because of all the support I’ve had from school and from the Young Carers Project, I feel ready to experience university life while being a Young Adult Carer because I know who I can turn to. I’ll miss my Pastoral teacher so much when I leave, she’s been a rock and I’m forever grateful to her. Here’s to new beginnings!”

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Seems like everybody’s talking about mental health⤴

from @ Reach

It seems like everybody’s talking about how Scotland can get better at supporting people’s mental health. The Scottish Government have a new plan – called the ten-year Mental Health Strategy.

We like the way See Me Scotland explain why having a plan like this matters: ‘We all have mental health and the results of this strategy must be that when we are struggling, we feel safe and supported to speak out and get help, in any area of our life, without the chance of being dismissed or judged.’ 

The Mental Health Strategy has lots of plans for making mental health support for young people better. Here are some of the things it sets out to do:

  1. To review the mental health support that pupils get in schools.
  2. To look into counselling in schools and other places for young people.
  3. To think about how Personal and Social Education (PSE) lessons at school could do more to get pupils talking about mental health and teach them about where they can get info, advice and support.
  4. To get better at supporting young people with their mental health issues early on, before they get worse.
What do YOU think of the Government’s Strategy for Mental Health?
We’d love to hear your views. 

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) have been campaigning about many of the issues talked about it in the strategy for over a year with theiSpeak Your Mind campaign and their report Our generation’s epidemic. MSYP Lewis Douglas recently told Reach that after talking with almost 1500 young people, MSYPs had found that “one in five young people did not know where to go for advice and support for a mental health problem. Young people also said that, as well as embarrassment and a fear of being judged, a lack of understanding about mental health is a major barrier to talking openly about the issue.”

The good news is that there are already schools that are doing some great things around mental health. For example, we just read about how pupils at Castle Douglas High School staged a take over at their school for a week to get people talking about mental health and how to challenge stigma.

Castle Douglas pupils used See Me Scotland’s What’s on Your Mind?’ pack to do their own lessons on mental health with younger pupils at the school. Genius! No wonder they even got their story on the telly… Check out what they had to say here.

 

 

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It’s not always easy to ask for help⤴

from @ Reach

If you’re having a hard time and life is getting you down, we totally get that it’s not always easy to ask for help. Here’s some of the reasons why you might not want to talk about issues in your lives:

  • No one will understand
  • I feel I can cope on my own
  • I don’t want adults interfering in my personal life
  • People might label or judge me
  • My friends won’t want to hang out with me anymore.

So why ask for help? By sharing your problems with someone you trust, you might find it easier to cope with them. And they might be able to help you find ways to change the things in your life that you want to.

We like what Childline say about this: “Someone else can often help you see your problem differently. They could give you new ideas on how to cope with things…Putting things into words often helps. Sometimes it’s just good to say what’s on your mind. Talking to someone could make you feel like you don’t have to deal with it on your own.” 

First steps. Starting the coversation might be the hardest part. Here’s 3 great conversation starters from Childline:

“I want to tell you something but I don’t know how.”
“This is hard for me to say, but I have something important to tell you.”
“I need some advice on something I’m stressed about.”

Or you could say that you’re asking for advice for a friend. Sometimes it’s easier to pretend you aren’t talking about yourself.

There’s loads more good advice on Childline’s website about who to talk to, how to plan what you want to say, and what to do if you don’t want to talk to anyone face to face.

 

 

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Your say: how my teacher supported me the day I went into care⤴

from @ Reach

“I was heading down a road that would help me. The road would change my life forever and anything was better than the war zone.”

Young spokesperson for the Fostering Network has his say.

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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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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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