Inspiring Pupils from Dundee Chosen as Ambassador for Inclusion18/12/15
Alyssia Smith and Blake Donald from Braeview Academy and Morgan Academy, Dundee have been chosen as one of Scotland’s Young Ambassadors for Inclusion.
Alyssia and Blake were chosen to represent Dundee as part of the new Scotland’s Young Ambassadors for Inclusion programme developed by Education Scotland.
Through the programme, young people who face barriers to education will be given a voice at a national level to help make a significant impact in raising awareness of the issues around additional support needs and inclusive education.
Alyssia and Blake met with their fellow Ambassadors for their first meeting on 8 December where they discussed their experiences of inclusive education and how they have benefited from having the right support in place.
The meeting hosted by Education Scotland also provided the opportunity for Alyssia and Blake to share their views of the support provided by teachers and classmates, their learning environment, and give their perspective on how additional support for learning can be further improved.
Alyssia, said: “I thought it was fantastic meeting different people from across Scotland who have ASNs. I enjoyed the discussions and the activities that we participated in throughout the day. It was a good learning experience for me as I was able to hear the opinions and experiences of others about inclusion and what happens at their school. I was also able to tell people about the opportunities that I have received at Braeview Academy which has helped to increase my confidence.”
Blake added: “It was a very insightful day. I felt honoured to take part.”
Minister for Learning, Sciences and Scotland’s Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan, said: “The Scotland’s Young Ambassador for Inclusion Programme is a great opportunity for young people to make a difference to how additional support for learning teaching is delivered across the country. Their insight into inclusive education is invaluable. It will help to identify areas where practice can be improved upon to ensure that young people have the correct support available to fulfil their potential.”
So far, 21 Ambassadors have been chosen to represent their local authority and school.
Lesley Brown, Education Scotland’s Strategic Director for Families, Inclusion and Local Authorities, said: “We are delighted to launch Scotland’s Young Ambassadors for Inclusion programme and look forward to working with Alyssia and Blake and their fellow Ambassadors.
“The group will work together to share views and experiences of inclusive education and act as a ‘voice’ at a national level. We want their perspective on what approaches work well and consider ways to develop and support inclusive education in Scotland.
“These inspirational young people have overcome many barriers to education and we hope they feel proud in their new role. Their knowledge, experience and empathy with others make them a great choice to represent their peers within inclusive education.”
Teresa Little, Headteacher at Braeview Academy, said: "The staff, pupils and the community of Braeview Academy are delighted that Alyssia has successfully been appointed as one of Scotland's Young Ambassadors for Inclusion. Alyssia is a perfect example of how inclusive education can support our young people to overcome difficulties or barriers to their learning and help them grow in confidence and self-belief. Alyssia has fully embraced the additional support provided and flourished as a successful learner and a positive ambitious young person. She is a real inspiration to others. This is an exciting programme for Alyssia to be involved in, and one that will provide further opportunities for growth and development of skills for learning, life and work. We wish her every success for the future."
Stephen C. Shaw, Rector at Morgan Academy, said: “All of us in Morgan Academy are very proud of what Blake has achieved and we have enjoyed watching him grow, mature and develop in confidence to the extent that he can now use his experiences to make this positive contribution which will help other young people . We have no doubt Blake will make a significant contribution as an Ambassador and indeed talking to him after his first meeting on Wednesday, he is full of enthusiasm and keen to get fully involved.”
As a member of the group, each Ambassador will participate in national meetings, they will share the work of the group in their school and local authority area, and work to take forward the outcomes of national meetings.