Educational inclusion and the poverty-related attainment gap are given a lot of focus. It’s often said we have some of the best legislation, policy and guidance to help us take on such challenges. We probably do. However, when you are in the job of supporting so-called vulnerable, marginalised or excluded children and young people with learning or schooling it feels hard going on the ground. When you are a parent or carer struggling to keep your child motivated and engaged with learning, when it seems little about the system is on your (or your child’s) side it can be frustrating – no, exhausting.
The real challenge then seems not to develop more policy, but to act to tackle the practical day-to-day embodiments of inequality and exclusion. It’s what we do to really make a difference that matters. This is where PINS hope to come in. The Pupil Inclusion Network Scotland (PINS) is a national network funded by the Scottish Government. The network operates online and our interests range from the early years through to post school learning. It’s a network for professionals working in any capacity with children and young people as learners – we are particularly interested in connecting with workers from community and voluntary sector agencies who make up about half of our 1300 members.
In a recent PINS blog educationalist David Cameron hit the nail on the head when he recognised that when it comes to inclusion there doesn’t seem to be a plan. What he proposed was that there should be more commitment to learners and less to slogans, with a range of provision to meet a spectrum of need. If PINS is to be of use as a network then it needs to both connect those involved in education with what’s good about what we do, and then also pose some challenges that point in the direction of making it better. Our focus then is on keeping practitioners informed and being a critical friend when it comes to Scottish Government and other public bodies.
Practically, PINS members receive monthly e updates, membership is free, individuals join via the link from the home page. The rallying cry is – come join us! http://pinscotland.org/
Follow us on twitter @PINScotland