Children and families judge their inclusion far more on the warmth of welcome than on whether all the ramps and handrails are in place. Inclusion is about valuing all individuals, giving equal access and opportunity for all and removing discrimination and other barriers to participation. To be included is to belong and that’s exactly what Merthyr Tydfil and SNAP Cymru want to encourage through their new Amber Green project.
We are really pleased to be working with Merthyr Tydfil LA to roll out this exciting new scheme which recognises and helps develop inclusive practice across Merthyr.
The scheme developed with Welsh Government Family First funding offers a structured approach for organisations to develop, and evidence their inclusive practice with the aim of providing choice and equal opportunity for all children, young people and families across Merthyr Tydfil…… irrespective of their additional learning need. Signing up to the AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme:
- Demonstrates an organisation’s determination to deliver inclusive activities
- Provides a checklist for organisations to consider their own practice
- Can be used as a development tool for advisers and those supporting settings
- Be a guide for parents, children and young people seeking a welcoming inclusive setting
- Be a measure for professionals seeking appropriate inclusive placements
“The single most important factor in a successful inclusive setting is a ‘can do’ attitude. Positive expectations, flexibility and a commitment to accessibility and inclusion underpins high quality services.” ESTYN
The AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme takes the social model of disability as its starting point, builds on existing good practice, and then offers a structured approach which guides each setting through the stages of preparation, development and review. The process of working with the scheme is itself designed to contribute to the inclusive development of settings.
The AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme is twofold:
Amber Award – Get Ready
Supports and evidences that a setting is reviewing their current practice and are working towards becoming fully inclusive
Green Award – Go
Supports and evidences active Inclusion for all
Once an organisation has ‘signed up’, the Inclusion Development Officer will meet with them, agree any support and offer a range of training sessions to support your progress. There are no timescales in which to complete the checklist and each organisation may require different levels of support at different times. Following a process of review, the setting and the Inclusion Officer will determine your level of award.
The project has many benefits, not least that it helps settings
- promote a positive image of disability and equality
- Demonstrate to Inspectors, such as ESTYN and CSSIW, that you treat all children with respect and equal concern
- Ensure each individual child or young person’s needs are planned for and provided for
- Improve their reputation
- be more responsive to the community you serve
Benefits for children and young people are also tangible:
- Children and young people with disabilities educated in inclusive settings have significantly better outcomes. They enjoy a better quality of life, including a sense of belonging, better social connections, increased community involvement, and greater earning potential.
- All children and young people benefit from inclusion, everyone does better educationally and socially when attention is focussed on how best to meet the needs of all children.
- Including children with additional needs is a major contributor to tackling discrimination. Inclusive education embraces the concept of equality of opportunity for all children.
“We moved our son here because they are different; they see our son for the whole child he is.”
Lots of different organisations have signed up so far, nursery and early years settings, youth services and even dental practices , the one thing they have in common is that they want to demonstrate how inclusive and welcoming they are and each one belives that all children and young people should have access to good quality services in their own communities. What’s not to like. If you are interested in learning more about the scheme and how to join please contact Teresa.firstname.lastname@example.org