Let’s SEND a message- school is for all 9 August 2019 Advocacy Each year, on the 12 August, International Youth Day is marked by people across the globe. It serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges facing the world’s youth. This year’s theme, “Transforming Education”, is at the heart of Norwood’s education services. We are committed to bringing about positive change in schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), by bringing inclusion to the forefront of the school agenda. For Norwood, the key to transforming education for the people we support is access. Our educational practitioners ensure that pupils are supported to access the same curricula, social activities, employment and social opportunities as their peers. By addressing particular SEND-related needs, and supporting positive social growth from an early age, children are better placed to start school with fewer anxieties. Fostering a positive self-image as a learner from a young age is fundamental in making sure a child gains the confidence they need to go on to enjoy a meaningful relationship with their education. A lack of support and encouragement from teachers often results in low self-esteem and frequently sees the child develop gaps in their learning. Once these gaps begin to appear, pupils are often at risk of losing pace with their classmates and the separation from their peers begins. This is why Norwood is passionate about ensuring inclusive practices are in place from the earliest stages of education. It is vital to champion pupils on their abilities rather than focusing on the challenges that could hold them back. When a school begins to adapt the environment to benefit a particular pupil’s needs, rather than label and separate them, the real success stories begin. This is something we advocate for strongly at all our partner schools. Norwood’s team of educational practitioners are here to ensure that the most vulnerable children in the community have direct and early intervention. We also ensure that all the schools we work with are fully aware of inclusive practices and feel confident to promote independent learning with the pupils who need extra support. We hope for a future where no child is left to struggle or feel isolated at school; a future where, with the right support, they can achieve more than they ever thought possible.