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News: More than £3 million in disability benefits for Scottish children

Posted 18 May, 2022 by Nina Joynson

More than 3,000 children and young people have received the Child Disability Payment since it was launched in July 2021, including 2500 new applicants.

The Scottish Government published its first round of statistics on delivery of the Child Disability Payment this week, showing national uptake in the eight months since the benefit opened.

Figures show that, as of 31 March 2022, £3.25 million has been issued in Child Disability Payments to an estimated 3,050 children and young people across Scotland.

Scotland Act 2016

The new payment arose from the Scotland Act 2016, which devolved new powers to the Scottish Parliament regarding social security, including responsibility for disability benefits.

The Child Disability Payment replaces the Disability Living Allowance for Children previously delivered by the UK Government.

Of those currently receiving the Scottish benefit, 555 have had their payment transferred from the UK Government’s payment. The remaining 2,500 are new applicants.

Approximately 43% of applications were made for children aged 5-10, 30% for children aged 11-15, and 27% for those aged 0-4.

Ben Macpherson, Scottish Government Minister for Social Security, said:

“It is excellent to see that Child Disability Payment is already making a difference to the lives of thousands of children and young people, and their families.

"For the first time anywhere in the UK, we have an online application facility for applying for our disability benefits, and the high number of people choosing to use this demonstrates that we have been responsive to the way people want to access social security.

“We are determined to ensure there is a seamless process for all recipients whose payments are moving from DWP to Social Security Scotland, and we will continue to transfer cases in a safe and secure manner. Importantly, the process is automatic – people do not need to reapply and they will be kept informed at all times.”

The Child Disability Payment was made available nationally from November 2021, following a pilot across three Scottish local authority areas.

A photo of a man doing the BSL signs for computer science with his hands. The text at the bottom reads 'computer science' and the Skills Development Scotland and University of Edinburgh logos are in the top.

News: 500 BSL signs added to create a more inclusive tech sector

Posted 30 March 2022, by Nina Joynson

More than 500 British Sign Language signs have been created for terms related to digital technology to make the sector more inclusive for Deaf young people.

The new British Sign Language (BSL) signs have been created for words used in the industry, covering computer science, cyber security, data science and software development.

The development is the result of a partnership between Skills Development Scotland, Data Education in Schools, the DDI Skills Gateway and the Scottish Sensory Centre which saw deaf tech experts spend eight months with sign linguists developing and testing the new signs.

Before the glossary was launched, Deaf people often had to spell out individual letters for specialised terms. These new signs will help the community to access qualifications and careers, making it easier and more efficient to communicate about digital skills and jobs.

Seventeen-year-old pupil Billy-Jack Gerrard is deaf and wants to pursue AI and computer science at university. He said:

“These signs will make a huge difference in terms of both studying for the right skills for a job in tech, and then also for actually working in the sector itself."

"Once embedded into the fabric of BSL, the consistent use of the terms will make life so much easier, and in turn far more inclusive, for deaf people like me wanting to pursue a digital career.”

One of the team members responsible for the new signs was Ben Fletcher, Principal Engineer with the Financial Times. He said:

“Throughout my whole life I have studied and worked in computing, but tech and BSL have often been a difficult combination.  There’s a huge list of computing terms, very few of which have dedicated and widely recognised signs, and others I just had to make up.  It was very frustrating.

“We now have a standard glossary that will really help Deaf people in schools, colleges, universities and workplaces across the UK.”

While there are already more than 500 signs in the glossary, the list will grow. Kate Farrell, Data Education in Schools, said:

“Like the technology itself, which is constantly changing, the accompanying language also has to be updated. So by its very nature, this BSL glossary will have to do the same. We therefore welcome the continued input from technologists, deaf or otherwise, to ensure that we stay up to date with the terminology around skills and jobs in tech.”

Click here to find the full list of signs on the SSC website

field of sunflowers

News: Forum for young people with sight loss relaunches

Posted 23 Nov, 2021 by Nina Joynson

Haggeye, which provides a space for young people with sight loss to campaign for change and meet new people, has relaunched.

The award-winning Scottish youth forum run by RNIB Scotland relaunched this month to give a voice to young people who are blind or partially sighted.

Haggeye began in 2007 as part of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland, with young people aged 16-27 from all over the country meeting to socialise and campaign on matters concerning sight loss, including transport and education accessibility.

The pandemic caused activities to be suspended but, as restrictions ease, RNIB Scotland hopes that the relaunched forum will boost the confidence of more young people with sight loss.

Rachael McMurchy, Policy and Campaigns Officer with RNIB Scotland, explains:

“Haggeye empowers its members to speak out about what it's like to be young and have sight loss in today's society, and also to have a say in shaping public policies that affect them.

"The last year or two has been more challenging than ever for young people who are blind or partially sighted.

"We want to ensure they still have that platform to talk and campaign about what matters most to them, to build up their skills, socialise with others, and increase their self-confidence."

Haggeye provides a friendly platform for young people to raise awareness of what’s important to them and meet new people.

Members have the opportunity to be part of Scotland’s youth parliament, with two MSYP seats reserved for the organisation. This year, Eilidh Morrison and Kerry Burke have been elected to represent Haggeye.

Kerry Burke, 17, from East Kilbride says:

"Growing up in primary and secondary schools with fully sighted peers really affected me socially. It was a huge blow to my confidence when everyone else in the room had no problem doing all the tasks while I sat there struggling.

"I think a surprising thing is how differently you address your disability in the class with teachers, and outside with friends.

"Discovering how to feel comfortable in asking for what you need vision-wise, while also being sociable, is a delicate balance.

"As a minority, it's easy for our needs to be overlooked. Haggeye creates a platform where our voices can be heard as a whole community.

"I hope we will be able to grow as a group of people from around Scotland who are passionate about campaigning for their rights and can make those changes that help us in our day to day lives."

Click here to learn more about Haggeye

Challenges of mental health and lockdown explored in new Perth Living Museums exhibition

6 September 2021

A new exhibition from young people involved in our Living Museums participation project has opened at Perth Museum.

Members of the Perth project group marked the launch of Our Lockdown Journey: Facing the Unknown through Creativity last Wednesday evening (1 September).

As part of Living Museums, which examines how to make museums and heritage sites more relevant and accessible to young people, the group chose to focus on the theme of young people's mental health during lockdown.

The exhibition has been created in the style of a young person’s bedroom, displaying items that supported the mental health of group members during the pandemic and reflecting a space where they’d spent the vast majority of their time over the past year.

A common space

The bedroom was described by one of the young people involved as “our hub”, and they stressed that “it was really good to portray what that environment was like.”

Members of the group had identified that museums could be overwhelming spaces, and accessibility was a key consideration throughout the project and the launch event.

In response to this, a sensory space in the museum, co-produced by the young people and Perth Museums, is in the process of being created.

Project group member Maden made a speech at the start of the event, emphasising how the group have become close friends and that being involved in the project has had a big impact on them as they realized that people have experienced common challenges.

Group member Billy, who was attracted to the project because he wanted young people to get more involved in museums said: “Initially what got me involved was pizza, but over time I got interested.”

Discussing the project, group members Becky and Vicky said they felt like young people weren’t the target audience for museums. Stigma should be removed and mental health discussed more, they said: “Museums have a power with engaging people, not only with the past but also with current events.”

Accessibility vs aesthetics

Jordan Irvine, Senior Officer, Communities and Learning, at Culture Perth & Kinross was open about the fact that museums struggle to engage with young people aged 14 – 26, and that they should be more proactive in working with them to shape exhibits.

He said he felt that accessibility is often overlooked for aesthetics, but museums want and need to overcome this. “If museums aren’t accessible for every body, what is the point in them?” he asked.

Reflecting on the launch, other museum staff were impressed by how the method of engaging young people had been used but recognized that this could take time.

Comments from staff about the exhibition included, “[it was] very creative and very real", and that it was "cool". One staff member said that they'd felt “challenged” by it because it raised issues about the accessibility of their heritage services: “why has no body thought about this before?”

Our Lockdown Journey: Facing the Unknown through Creativity is on display at Perth Museum and Art Gallery until 31st October 2021. Admission is free.  

Click here to find out more about Perth Museum

About Living Museums

The project looks at how the museum sector can appeal to young people aged 14 - 21

Click here for more

Our approach to participation

An advisory group of children and young people help shape our aims and work

Click here for more

Participation through the pandemic

This research project aims to gain greater understanding of engagement with children over the past 18 months

Click here for more

Our project work

We run a wide range of projects aimed at achieving our vision for children

Click here for more

Making rights real: new digital accessibility resource launches

20 November 2019

We’ve launched a new resource allowing visitors to our website to customise content so that they can access it in ways that work best for them.

The move reflects our ongoing commitment to accessible communications and is part of our activity marking World Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Recite Me is an easy-to-use web accessibility tool, which includes:

  • text to speech functionality
  • dyslexia software
  • an interactive dictionary, and
  • a translation tool with more than 100 languages.

It allows website users to interact with web content in the easiest and most useful ways for them.

To activate Recite Me, visitors to our website can simply go to the top menu bar on the home page and click ‘Accessibility help’.

Approximately one billion people globally have a disability and can face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites that prevent them from taking an active part in life.

In the UK, website accessibility is covered by the Equality Act 2010, which has provision for the right for disabled people to have access to everyday goods and services, which includes websites.

Article 2 of the UNCRC refers to non-discrimination, meaning rights apply to every child whatever their race, colour, gender, language, religion, ethnicity, disability or any other status.

Welcoming the launch of Recite Me, Children in Scotland’s Joint Acting Chief Executive Simon Massey said:

“We take our commitment to inclusion seriously, and that means making a real effort to engage and involve as many people in our network as possible.

“Adding Recite to our website is another step in making our communications as accessible as they should be, and removing barriers for disabled people to take part in what we do.

“We’re pleased to be introducing this resource on World Children’s Day and the UNCRC 30th anniversary, mindful of Article 2 of the UNCRC which reminds us that children and young people – including disabled children and young people – shouldn't be discriminated against.

“As the representative body for the children’s sector we’re interested to hear what our members and website users think of Recite and what further improvements to support accessible communications we should make in future. Please let us know!”

How to use Recite Me

Go to the top of the navigation bar on this website and click 'Accessibility'

Click to visit the website


Find out more about Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning

Click to visit the website

My Rights, My Say

The My Rights, My Say service supports children aged 12-15 to use their rights

Click to visit the website


REACH helps young people understand their rights about support for learning

Click to visit the website