The Inclusion Ambassadors is a group of secondary school-aged pupils who each have a range of additional support needs and attend a variety of school provision.
Originally formed in 2016 by Education Scotland, the group was established to ensure the views of young people with additional support needs are heard in discussions about education policy. Children in Scotland have been involved in supporting the network since 2016 and formally running the group since November 2019.
Members of the group currently represent 17 local authority areas across Scotland.
The group members are encouraged to speak freely and openly, sharing their experiences of being a pupil with additional support needs in Scotland, including what works and what could make things better.
They are enabled to do so through meetings facilitated by professionals working within the children’s sector and engaging directly with parliamentarians and other decision-makers. Discussions and activity of the group is also shared with other peers, schools and those in positions of influence with the aim of reducing the stigma around additional support needs and additional support for learning.
The group is involved in a range of activities to influence and improve experiences for pupils with additional needs, including the creation of a number of practical resources.
Additional support for Learning Action Plan
In 2020 the Inclusion Ambassadors contributed to the independent review into the implementation of ASL chaired by Angela Morgan. They continue to be involved in work to support the Government’s Action Plan published in response to the review of findings and recommendations, including:
- Developing a Vision Statement, identifying what the Inclusion Ambassadors have told us they want from their educational experience - and how schools can help pupils feel more included and supported.
- Launching Success Looks Different - a new award to recognise schools who celebrate and support the non-academic success and achievements of their learning with ASN.
- Recording the 'Some Support Assistants are Sound' podcasts. Hosted on the Children in Scotland Podcast, Episode 16: Patient, supportive, understanding: what makes a good pupil support assistant and Episode 17: Nobody left out: why support assistants are vital for inclusion highlight the importance of pupil support staff.
Consultation responses and other policy work
The Inclusion Ambassadors are encouraged and supported to respond to calls for evidence and consultations on issues related to education, and specifically learning support.
Recently the group have responded to the Scottish Government's National Discussion on Education and Professor Louise Hayward's Independent Review of Assessments and Qualifications. They are also involved in development of the new national Transitions to Adulthood Strategy.
Qualifications and Assessments Click here to read the Inclusion Ambassador's response to Professor Hayward's Review
News: Person-centred planning is key for new Transitions Strategy Click here to read the news piece