The Enquire blog is a great way to hear from children and young people
about the things that matter to them and the support that helps.
You'll also find info on campaigns, youth projects and films made by young people.

 

Starting at high school is a big change, especially when your primary only has 23 pupils in the whole school

Moving to high school is a big change, especially when you live in the countryside and have been going to a really small primary school with only a few other children.

This week on the blog, 12 year old Luke from Shetland shares his feelings about moving on to high school from his rural primary school, which has just 2 teachers and 23 pupils. I was looking for a good picture to go with this blog, and couldn’t resist including this one from the Visit Scotland website of ponies in Shetland wearing jumpers!

Anyway… here is Luke’s blog:

There were only 2 people in Primary 7 at the beginning of last year, then 2 other kids from a bigger school on Mainland Scotland came to join us. So now the 4 of us will be going up to high school together.  We will be in 2 different classes at high school although I am glad that I will still be in the same class as my best friend.

At our primary school you get to know everyone really well. In the early years when I was very little it was great that everyone from P1 to P7 was involved with all the activities together. But now that I am in Primary 7 and the oldest, I am looking forward to having more friends my own age to play with and get to know. I am also really looking forward to having more than 1 teacher and a bigger range of subjects. I think science and woodwork should be interesting. At a little school it is difficult to do sports. We can’t play team sports because there are not enough people and for things like athletics and sports days as there is not enough competition. We can join up with other small schools for competitions but it is not the same and does not happen often enough.  I really like sports so I am looking forward to PE at the high school and the chance to compete against people my own age.

One thing that will be different, and maybe not so good, is having to get up much earlier to catch the school bus. Because we live in the country, the bus has to pick us up really early at quarter to eight in the morning. I am not worried about the journey which should be quite good fun. My big brother and cousin get the bus and I will know everyone else on the bus from our area.

All in all I am really looking forward to High School and leaving primary school behind.”

A big thank you to Luke for sharing his views on the blog, here’s wishing you all the best for high school.

Need advice about moving to a new school? Check out this Enquire guide. It looks at the mixed feelings that young people have about starting at a new school, gives tips on how to get ready for the big move and explains how it will be different from your primary school.

For other blog posts about moving schools, remember that you can select the blog category on the right ‘changing or leaving school’.

 

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Teapot Trust art groups are making hospital easier for hundreds of children

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Waiting around in hospitals to see doctors and get test results can get pretty boring, especially when you have to do it often. You might also feel scared or worried about your health and about the treatments that you need … Continue reading

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27,000 children and young people have a family member in prison – hear from some of them about what it’s like

Did you know that every year 27,000 children and young people have to cope with someone in their family being in prison? That is even more than the number of you each year who see their parents get divorced.

 

Art by 8 year old girl with a family member in prison. Thanks to Children of Prisoners Europe.

Seeing someone you care about in prison is really hard, and you might have a whole mix of feelings about it. You might feel shocked, angry, upset or lonely, or you might feel relieved and glad. The truth is there isn’t just one right way of feeling. Here are some of the things that children and young people have said to Families Outside, a project which helps families with someone in prison: “I am so angry with my dad about what he did, but I miss him every day.” “It was such a shock that I don’t want to see my mum right now, but I am also really sad about what happened.” “No one’s telling me anything”. “I want to be like everyone else”. Speaking about what it’s like to visit family in prison, young people have said things like “it takes ages to get there”, “I don’t like the dogs”, “visits are boring” and “the officers look scarey in their uniforms”, although others have had a better time during visits, enjoying the toys and games they’ve been given and saying that the officers were friendly.

Whatever you’re feeling, it can be hard to speak about someone in the family being in prison, especially when people at school start talking about it or when the local news gets hold of the story. There are three things to remember: Firstly, it is not your fault. Secondly, people who go to prison are not bad people – they are good people who have done a bad thing. Thirdly, you are not alone. There are thousands of other children and young people who have gone through the same thing as you, and there are projects like Families Outside that can help.

And what about school? What can schools do to help? Schools can help to stop bullying by educating other pupils that it isn’t a young person’s fault if someone in their family is in prison. It’s also really important for young people to feel like school can be a safe place to share their feelings, like this pupil felt: “I’m really glad I told my teacher about dad being in prison. He asked about how I was doing and helped me when I was having a bad day.” Another young person had this good idea “I think it’d be good if teachers got a kind of lesson on how kids like me feel and what it’s like for us”. That’s just what Families Outside have been doing. They’ve even taken teachers to visit prisons so they can see for themselves how hard it can be for children and young people who do this.

So what next? Hopefully if we keep listening to children and young people and bringing this difficult issue out into the open, we can change attitudes and makes things easier for families. One girl called Amie put it well when she spoke at an event recently: “We need to stop seeing ourselves as broken and awaken ourselves to the fact that, because of our story, we have something to offer in creating a better society.”

Check out this film to hear from more children and young people about how it feels having family in prison

For more info and support, check out www.familiesoutside.org.uk or call them on 0500 83 93 83.

 

 

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Supporting deaf young people to make a positive move after school: One young person shares his views

In this blog, Glen, a young guy who volunteers with NDCS, the National Deaf Children’s Society, shares his views about their recent resource “A Template for Success”. The goal of this resource is to make sure that young deaf people who are getting ready to leave school have the support they need to make a positive move on to college, uni, training or work.

NDCS young volunteer Glen meeting with an MSP and Minister

The intro to Template for Success states this goal really well: ‘Everyone who works with deaf young people needs the knowledge and the skills to advise, support and encourage them not only to make the right decisions, but to make a success of whatever they choose to do. Everyone involved needs to make sure that deaf young people are encouraged to be ambitious and are ready to take the opportunities offered to them.’

“Speaking from personal experience”, writes our young guest blogger Glen, “a successful move from school involves many factors – advising deaf young people on their choices post-school, moving from children’s to adult services, and supporting the deaf young person as they make the transition from relying on others, to becoming independent.”

Glen thinks the move from school can be “a chaotic and uncertain time of life for all teenagers. There are often high expectations to succeed, with added pressure of exams and deciding on a future career or college/university course. It can be a very difficult time of life, especially if someone just doesn’t know what to do after school. As a deaf young person, life can be even tougher, as many young deaf people rely on certain support, or are used to their communication being handled by others, so leaving this supportive environment can be daunting.”

Glen feels that his own experiences show some of the challenges that deaf school leavers may face, and why it’s so important that professionals work closely with young deaf people to help them plan a positive move on from school. Having got a place at university, Glen had to “work with the university disability department to arrange the support. But the university staff didn’t have much experience of deaf students, so there were delays in getting vital equipment. I was moving from child to adult services for deaf people at the time – and sadly the hearing aids I had got from the child service were not offered on the adult service. Without the right hearing aids, everyday life becomes much more difficult. Luckily, I was able to resolve my issues,and I am now very happy at this stage in my life.”

Glen thinks that “A Template for Success” is a resource that should be read by all young deaf people, their parents and the professionals who support them, to help them to understand the challenges for deaf school leavers:”By being prepared and having a good understanding, leaving school becomes much less daunting, and far more likely to be a positive first experience of the world outside of high school!”

……………………

“A Template for Success” is a joint project between NDCS, Skills Development Scotland and Donaldson’s School.  Read more about it here.

Glen is a young deaf person volunteering at NDCS. As well as being involved with “A Template for Success”, Glen has also given talks to parents who have just found out their children are deaf, and also to MPs about why it’s important that new buildings in Scotland have the right set up and equipment to support the needs of deaf people.

 

 

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How poverty impacts on learning: biggest ever survey with pupils in Scotland

In the biggest survey ever done with young people to find out your views on poverty and education in Scotland, almost 1,000 of you gave a clear message: lack of money puts up barriers to learning that hold pupils back, prevent you from having a fair chance at school and affect your life chances in the future.

The issues


Talking about how the stress of living in poverty can make it hard to do well at school unless you get the right support, one young person said “It’s like the way you grow up that makes you want to learn, or what kind of person you are as well. So [if] you’re growing up, like, in an environment where everybody helps you and that, like supports you and that, then you’re going to have a good future. But if you don’t then it’s not really going to be a good future”.

The secondary pupils from across Scotland who took part in this research by SCCYP and Save the Children talked about how not having enough money made it hard to get a range of basic things needed for learning. One pupil said “School uniform, getting food, going places with friends, money, finding a good house to live –you need a good house to keep you warm. Getting food and water, paying the bills, to be able to go out and spend lots of money and buy things that you want. But basics like housing, they are maybe too dear. Pens, pencils and paper.”

The expense of school uniform was a big deal for a lot of you: “For single parents as well, because my ma’s like, just a single parent. And like it’s hard because I have got my big sister, my wee brother and she has to pay for all of yous [to get uniform]”.

Young people affected by poverty also talked about having to do without other important things that help with learning, like going on school trips, or being able to buy textbooks or equipment needed to take part in design and technology classes or home economics or music lessons. Not having a computer at home to use for homework was also a common issue, as was not getting enough support with home study – especially in families where the parents had jobs where they worked long hours or because they had not had good learning chances themselves as kids. Looking ahead to the future, half of the pupils surveyed thought that not having much money did impact on whether young people went on to further study or training after leaving school.

Support that helps

In the research, young people had lots to say about the support that can help pupils whose learning is affected by poverty. Classroom teachers, guidance teachers, learning support teachers and home-school link workers were all mentioned as people that were really important in supporting pupils to do well at school and in the future: “Like your teachers and, like, your guidey. Because, like at the end of the day they’re the ones that can help you get a job. They’re the ones that gives you a good reference when you leave here.”

As well teachers, young people talked about other forms of school support that they found helpful, like homework and study clubs in lunch breaks and after school; help with buying school uniforms for parents on benefits; counselling; free school lunches; financial help to go on school trips; resources for dyslexia and other support needs; free out-of-school activities; more support for parents so they can help with homework; and school libraries with internet access.

 

You can view the full report, Learning Lessons: Young People’s Views on Poverty and Education in Scotland, here. Congrats to the 885 pupils who did the survey, the 64 of you who took part in focus-groups, and of course the six young people from Save the Children’s Young Leaders programme who did the research with the focus groups.

 

 

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Young carers in Glasgow have their say: “My friends don’t understand or don’t know the situation at home.”

Did you know? The Carers Trust reckons that there are about 100,000 young carers living in Scotland. That’s 100,000 young people who care for someone at home by taking on practical and/or emotional caring that would normally be done by an adult. It might be that their family member is disabled or has a long term health issue, or that they struggle with mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems. Whatever the reason they need support, young carers play an amazing role in helping their family.

Enquire recently did a workshop with an awesome bunch of young carers who are supported by the West Glasgow Carers Centre. They shared some really interesting and important views and ideas about the stuff that makes school hard for young carers and the support that helps. Here are just some of the things they said:

Issues for young carers with school

EXAMS AND SCHOOL WORK

  • “I don’t have enough time to study while caring for someone at home”.
  • “A young carer might be worrying about the person they are caring for while trying to study”.
  • “I might be off school because of young caring. Might not understand  the work due to lack of attendance.”

MONEY

  • “Might not be able to afford school trips or school lunches or the uniform”.
  • “People might not like young carers because of their clothes and shoes – they might have to walk about with old clothes (might get bullying because of it)”.
  • “We don’t have enough time to go out and buy stuff’.

FRIENDS AND SOCIALISING

  • “Not enough time to spend with friends due to caring”.”Might feel worried about leaving the person they care for at home. Might feel left out if can’t go”.
  • “My friends don’t understand or don’t know the situation at home. They might be embarrassed or find it hard to talk to me (if they knew)”.

BULLYING

  • “Might make young carers feel stressed – might result in taking drugs and alcohol”.
  • “Might not want to go to school – might feel different, depressed or anxious”.
  • “I’m too busy to talk to someone about it (the bullying)”.

What can help young carers have a better time at school?

  • ‘Money for equipment and school trips”
  • “Emotional help”
  • “Extra time for homework (and less work!)”
  • “Teacher tutoring so that if you miss a class they help you catch up”
  • “A ‘time out’ pass –  Getting time off school, or access to a quiet place to chill”
  • “Young carer awareness assembly”
  • “Getting home schooled instead”
  • “Help managing stress and with time keeping – flexible times and dates”
  • “Young carer support worker should always be in school for support”

A big thank you to all the young carers who shared their views with Enquire.

For advice and info check out YC.Net

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Hillpark school buddies win Autism Champions award

Big congratulations to the pupils at Hillpark Secondary School in Glasgow, who Autism Network Scotland have given their Autism Champions Award to.

Pupils in 5th and 6th year have got the award for being buddies to younger pupils who get support from Hillpark school’s autism unit. The buddies have been helping pupils with autism in lots of ways, as this young person explains: “The buddies helped me well with social skills. Classes were better when they were there because it was much more fun and they understood the kind of difficulties I had when I came to secondary school. The buddies can explain how the school works and how to get on with people. I would like to be a buddy when I am older because I like helping people and the buddies certainly helped me. It is good to have older friends in the school because it helped me to feel more part of the school when I first came here.”

To become buddies, the prize-winning pupils took part in training to learn about autism and think about how they could relate to this in areas like feeling shy and finding it hard to make friends or be organised. This helped the buddies to see that people with autism are just like them in many ways, and that you can’t put them in a box and make judgements because everyone is different. The buddies also learnt about how pupils with autism might be feeling about issues at school like bullying, mis-use of social media, and finding it hard to make friends, which has helped them understand better how they can help.

It’s clear that the buddies have got a lot out of their friendships with pupils with autism. One buddy Christina said: “Being a buddy has given me so much insight into what being on the autism spectrum means and has given me the chance and become more knowledgeable and understanding of and encouraging to others I will meet in my life beyond school.”

You can find out more about the autism buddy project at Hillpark here.

Hillpark school have got a website too.

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Coping with anxiety

This year Mental Health Awareness Week is looking at worries and anxiety. For those of you who are getting ready to change schools or leave school, and for all of you doing exams, you might not be a stranger to these feelings. Feeling anxious at times of stress and change is normal, but if it goes on for ages and stops you taking part in things you like doing, it can be really hard to cope. If this is you, know that there is help out there. Check out childline’s online advice about coping with anxiety and suggestions for people who might help.

The Place2Be is one fab example of a service that is making a difference to thousands of pupils in helping them cope with difficult feelings and tough stuff going on in their lives. Enquire have been fans of the Place2Be for a long time – check out this blog we did after spending a day with pupils at Canal View Primary in Wester Hailes: “Without the Placw2Be we would be a more worried school”.

I really love this animation film that the Place2Be have made, in which children talk about how talking to their counsellor and doing play and art therapy has helped them cope with difficult feelings they have had.

Last but not least, you might like to support this campaign, Speak up for Kids, which aims to raise awareness about why it’s so important for children and young people to get the care they need for their emotional well being and challenges some of the things that make it hard to get support, like because of stigma about having mental health issues.

 

 

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MSYP has her say: How money issues affect young carers’ chances to get the most out of their education

 

This week on the blog, a young carer called Lauren King who is part of the Scottish Youth Parliament talks about their campaign Care.Fair.Share. This is a campaign about helping make sure that issues with money don’t stop young carers getting the most out of school and being able to carry on their studies at college and university.

What do you do at the Scottish Youth Parliament? As MSYP for Motherwell and Wishaw, I am proud to speak up for young people and to have been a part of some very big moments which have shaped the future of our society, such as making equal marriage legal and votes at 16.

Why did you want to become an MSYP? I became an MSYP to make sure that young people have a voice and so that the young people from Motherwell and Wishaw have a say in decision making.

What is the Care.Fair.Share campaign about? There is a growing 100,000 strong army of young carers in Scotland – not to mention the young people who don’t identify themselves as being carers. These selfless children and young people do an amazing job, day in and day out to give support and care to their loved ones.

The Scottish Youth Parliament says that carers save the Scottish Government more than £10 billion every year through providing unpaid care. That is about the same as the total cost of the NHS in Scotland! And yet young carers often struggle with money. They have enough to worry about; they don’t need money issues as well.

What are SYP hoping to get out of the campaign? By getting as much support as possible, we can improve the lives of Scotland’s young carers. The campaign is looking at some of the key money issues for young carers, including: looking at who does and doesn’t get access to funding such as Educational Maintenance Allowance; more financial help for young carers struggling to afford further education; and ways to lessen the cost of travel for young carers to and from school and college.

Why do you think the campaign is important? This campaign is very close to my heart. As a young carer, I know first-hand how hard it is to care, be in education and hold down a job. It is stressful, and for many young carers it is almost impossible to do all three. I was very lucky as a young carer because my mum supported me through everything. I became an MSYP, finished school, got into university and got a job, from all of which I did things I could have only dreamt about! These chances have been life changing for me. However, I know that in reality many other young carers do not have these chances.

This only makes me want to work even harder to stand up for this cause and make sure that a real difference is made to young carers. By helping young carers with the issues they have with money in education, I really believe their lives will get better in many different ways!

How can other people support the campaign? There is still lots to do. We need your support to be able to bring about lasting change for Scotland’s young carers.

Find out how you can support the Care.Fair.Share. campaign by checking out the SYP website here.

There’s a cool youtube video about the campaign too.

 

 

 

 

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Joint creativity – art by young people with arthritis

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Arthritis is a health condition where you suffer from pain in your joints and can have trouble moving about, doing sports and even sleeping. You might think that arthritis is a condition that only old people get. But there are actually … Continue reading

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