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800 pupils with learning disabilities, parents, carers and teachers have their say about inclusion
As part of the Included in the Main?! campaign run by Enable Scotland, 116 pupils, 503 parents and carers and 204 teachers shared their views about the realities of school education for pupils with learning disabilities. Findings from the campaign suggested that for many pupils school can be a lonely place where they struggle to feel included. It also highlighted that parents and carers feel they have to battle to get the support their child needs. Here are some of the key findings from the survey:
- 60% of the pupils who responded to the survey said they feel lonely at school and 62% feel people do not understand them
- only half of those asked feel like they are achieving their full potential at school
- 23% don’t get to go on school trips
- 46% don’t get the same chances to take part in the playground as everyone else
- more than half said they felt like they weren’t getting the right support at school.
Parent and carers
- 22% of parents and carers described their experience of education as positive; however, 50% described it as negative
- parents feel that having access to relevant information and knowing where to go for support helps them cope but many do not have access to information or support.
The campaign highlighted that education staff also feel more support is required to meet the needs of young people with learning disabilities and that they themselves would benefit from more training to support them in their role:
- 62% of subject/classroom teachers said they had experienced stress and professional anxiety due to not having the right support to meet the needs of pupils with learning difficulties
- 78% of education staff said there is not enough additional support staff in their school to support pupils with learning disabilities
- 98% of education staff who responded said that teacher training does not adequately prepare them for teaching young people who have learning disabilities.
22 steps on the journey to inclusion
After considering the findings from the campaign, Enable Scotland has produced a set of 22 recommendations they think will make things better at school for young people with learning disabilities. These include:
- making sure teachers get the right training so they can support pupils with learning disabilities and their families better
- making sure schools teach all pupils about learning difficulties
- improving and standardising the assessment and recording of additional support needs
- renewed and continued investment in additional support for learning staff
- school inspections to include questions about children with learning disabilities’ inclusion in school trips and extra-curricular activities.
To read the full Included in the Main?! report visit Enable Scotland website. Take a moment also to read how Lucy Mckee – a young person who spoke at the launch of the report – decided to take positive action to change attitudes towards learning disabilities in her school.