New initiative to support social work and teaching students

The SSSC and the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) have launched an innovative new guidance kit to help disabled social work and teaching students to achieve their full potential. The guidance helps lecturers, tutors and others involved with students to provide vital learning support.

The ‘Learning support for disabled social work and teaching students: a guide’ was developed in response to the then Disability Rights Commission recommendation in its Maintaining Standards: Promoting Equality report which asked that all regulatory bodies provide guidance on reasonable adjustments and consider what other guidance is required to encourage others, such as universities, to adopt an enabling approach to disabled people.

Jess Alexander, SSSC Education and Workforce Development Advisor and co-author explains, “The guide is based around six scenarios which highlight some of the common issues which require consideration when providing learning support.  Each scenario is followed by a range of issues or questions that may be raised by the disabled student and those involved in supporting them.  Our intention is to update the guide regularly with new scenarios, advice, guidance and references.  We’d really like more real-life examples and would love to hear of more examples or experiences people would like to share.”

GTCS Chief Executive, Anthony Finn said: “All student teachers are expected to reach the Standard for Full Registration before they gain the right to teach in Scotland. However, we wish to ensure a level playing field which helps all teachers to reach their full potential. Consequently, it is important that teachers with disabilities have the same access to learning as other teachers.

“We work closely with the SSSC in a number of areas but we are particularly pleased to have worked with them to provide this useful and robust guidance that will help to ensure that our teaching workforce is as diverse as possible, giving our young people a rich and varied learning experience.”

Anna Fowlie, SSSC Chief Executive said: “Students affected by a disability are entitled to receive the right support when learning and is important that each person is treated uniquely.  The guide reflects real situations and has been developed with the involvement of many different people.  The guide is a true reflection of commitment made from the SSSC and the GTCS in supporting our future workforce in Scotland.”

Laura Carse, Student Social Worker said: “As a visually impaired student who has recently undertaken social work training I was excited about getting involved with the work of the SSSC and the GTCS in producing the guide.  The guide is one of the first documents I have read that is jargon free and easy to understand.  It was refreshing to be able to consult a proactive guide that offers information and practical advice to overcome the difficulties that many disabled students and practitioners feel.  The guide really demonstrates that both the SSSC and the GTCS understand that disabled people are the real experts for providing the depth of knowledge and examples.”

Sophie Galloway is a secondary school teacher in Modern Languages. She has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

“My teacher induction experience could not have been more positive. I was open with the Local Authority and the school regarding my disability. I felt welcomed whole-heartedly by all staff. There were no physical barriers to my development. I felt valued and supported, whilst being assessed fairly against all areas of the Standard for Full Registration, which is exactly how it should be.  I was lucky enough not only to meet wonderful colleagues but friends also.”

To read the full guide please visit,com_docman/Itemid,486/gid,2095/task,doc_details/