The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

Inclusion on the road

Well, we all survived the three-day residential trip to Anglesey at the Conway Centre – despite some minor knocks resulting in two trips to Ysbyty Gwynedd! After careful planning to ensure a truly inclusive educational visit (see SENCology part one), the three days afforded some amazing moments. Every young person did something new and challenged themselves to broaden their horizons, both personally and with regard to the activities and challenges undertaken. Having been involved with residential trips abroad and in the UK facilitating the inclusion of students with SEND for over 150 days, you never come away without seeing something truly inspirational! However, before any trip is undertaken careful planning and management of risk is required, especially when ensuring access to everything for all. As we discussed in part one we always operate a clear policy of ‘trips for all’. This does mean that some reasonable adjustments and additional planning are required; however, as part of our truly inclusive approach, we see this as essential – not optional.

‘Young people of all ages benefit from real life 'hands on' experiences; when they can see, hear, touch and explore the world around them and have opportunities to experience challenge and adventure.’ (Council for Learning Outside the Classroom)

The students took part in a variety of activities including:

  • raft building
  • sailing
  • canoeing
  • abseiling
  • climbing
  • bushcraft
  • orienteering
  • problem solving
  • zip-wire and high-wire course

...to name but a few – in addition to evening activities including a quiz and disco! For 220 of our Year 7 cohort this was a memorable few days, but for a smaller number of pupils the experience was even more valuable. To see a young lady get out of her wheelchair to abseil down a cliff and a young man with autism challenge himself in learning how to sail was inspiring.

‘.....learning outside the classroom contributes significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.’ Ofsted Report: Learning outside the classroom - How far should you go?

Our plans and preparation ensured a successful trip for a number of young people with complex SEND – making sure risks are assessed and specific needs are considered individually is the essence of an inclusive trip. It’s also a timely reminder that Every Child still does Matter at our school:

  • Being Healthy
  • Staying Safe
  • Enjoying and Achieving
  • Making a Positive Contribution
  • Economic Wellbeing

Visit the Conway Centre website for more information. You can follow the Conway Centre on Twitter at @conwaycentre.

 

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