Out and about in Maryhill with Beth Fyfe from Enquire

We met at the Maryhill Burgh Halls in the West End of Glasgow which was hosting an exhibition on the 150th anniversary of East Park School. After the Education Act 1872 made it compulsory for all children from ages 5-13 to attend school, William Mitchell founded East Park for children who were unable to access education due to illnesses, disabilities, or family circumstances.

The exhibition gave a fascinating insight into the past (and present) and how children with additional needs were accommodated for. It also tied in well with our April blog as only last year East Park School was announced runner-up in the Special School category in the Success Looks Different Awards, which recognise those who celebrate, promote and support inclusion in schools and early learning and childcare settings. It was great to hear that they are continuing to champion inclusion to this day.

Neo-classical Mary Burgh Halls and archive photo of East Park school pupils and staff

Anyway, back to the meeting…

Beth is an Advice and Information Officer for Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning who provide support to parents, children and young people, and professionals. They do this through their website, helpline and webchat service as well as their free information events.

In the last year, Enquire dealt with over 1500 enquiries via their helpline service. Beth highlighted the range of enquiries that Enquire receives, from parents who are just beginning their journey to understand their child’s needs at school and what support is available, to families who are looking for advice on complex or long-standing issues related to their child’s support.

Parents often cite a breakdown in communication between themselves and their child’s school, which Enquire staff give advice on how best to handle, to ensure the best interests of the child are at heart. They have clear step-by-step guidance on how to help resolve issues parents may be experiencing.

Support planning is an important part of their work at Enquire, providing guidance to parents and carers about the different types of support plans available to children with additional needs. Beth highlighted how the term ‘additional support needs’ covers anything that has an impact on a child’s time at school and children do not need a diagnosis to be entitled to support.

Enquire have a range of information and advice on themes and topics relevant to additional support in the broadest sense covering identifying need, planning and delivery of learning support, families and schools working together and dealing with disputes. But part of their remit is also to identify where there is a gap in information provision which can lead to specialist work on projects related to a specific support need.

With this in mind Enquire are working on a new project as part of Scotland’s commitment to Keep the Promise. The project team, funded by the Promise Partnership until 2025, are currently developing ‘Navigate’ - a new digital toolkit focusing on care experienced children and young people. Find out more about the project here >

It is evident that we as a society have come a long way since the opening of East Park 150 years ago in terms of support that is available for additional support for learning - but with the volume of enquiries that Enquire deal with, there is still a long way to go.

Enquire and Reach combined logo

You can check out more of Enquire’s resources here: www.enquire.org.uk

For their children and young people advice, visit: www.reach.scot