The Equity Group
The Equity Group is a partnership of adults with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, educational professionals and other interested supporters who have come together because they share a commitment to inclusive education. Having completed a pilot supported by the Executive, the Equity Group is now working with a number of local authorities and health trusts to deliver an active learning programme bringing teachers, social work professionals, health professionals and parents to learn how to work in partnership to include all children in mainstream schools.
The Group hopes to move toward increased sustainability by securing further contracts with local government and health services throughout Scotland as well as other organisations involved in the education sector.
The Equity Group is working to develop sustainable inclusive education structures for all children in Scotland with additional support needs; irrespective of their disability, race, creed or sex. In achieving this aim, children with additional support needs will be able to reach their full potential through having access to an appropriate education. The Equity Group works with children and families to achieve the education and support they need, and with professionals to develop and promulgate sound inclusive educational practice.
The advent of the Additional Support for Learning Act, which comes into force later this year, further increases the demand on professionals to co-ordinate their working and to involve children and families in the process. The Equity Group is uniquely placed to provide training and consultancy support as organisations work to implement the requirements of the Act. The move from 'special needs' to 'additional support needs' shifts the emphasis away from children with disabilities to encompass all children who require support to learn. With this shift comes the responsibility on those delivering services to address the needs of children who have a range of issues in their lives, from homelessness to bereavement, disability to English as a second language.
Equity designs and delivers training designed to build awareness of the importance and effectiveness of inclusive education, and to promote best practice. For education, health and associated professionals, parents and policy makers, Equity training brings a unique blend of practical experience and in-depth knowledge of the theory and practice of inclusion.
Delivered by skilled and experienced trainers, Equity's training is designed to match the needs of the organisations and individuals involved. All training is competitively priced: contact us for a quote.
The Inclusive Learning Network
The Inclusive Learning Network was piloted two years ago with funding from the Scottish Executive. The Network was established by the Equity Group working in partnership with six local education authorities and brought teachers and parents together to learn how to work in partnership to include all children in mainstream schools.
The participating local authorities were: Argyll & Bute, North Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, North Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and Scottish Borders.
Local authority partners actively contributed to the programme and a representative from each Education department was appointed to the Project Steering Group. Also on the group were Equity Group parent representatives living in each of the local authority areas.
The programme comprised residential training sessions; two annual conferences; and 12 days working in participants' own localities spent on projects and case studies to apply learning in practical ways, developing collaborative approaches to the challenges of including individual pupils.
The residential training sessions included presentations, lectures, discussions, group-work, paired work, and informal evening sessions. Participants followed a curriculum of learning, sharing skills and problem-solving.
Moving the ILN Forward
The Scottish Executive has awarded project funding for the Inclusive Learning Network for the three academic years 2004-7. This has allowed for extending the work geographically by involving different authorities and different sectors such as NHS, social work and voluntary organisations as well as parents, teachers and support staff. The new programme provides a 2-year rolling programme of learning and networking for around 30 teachers, parents, health professionals and others involved in working with children and families. It commenced in the academic year starting in August 2004, with participants from Dumfries and Galloway, North Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Fife, and West Lothian.
The recruitment for the 2005-7 programme is now complete and the programme will commence in September. South Lanarkshire Council has joined the ILN this year and it is hoped to further expand the participants next year.
For further details about how to get involved email Dorothy McDonald on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01700 505145.
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