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December 14
Education Campaign Reaches The Scottish Parliament
On Tuesday, ENABLE Scotland's education campaign reached the Scottish Parliament.  Earlier this year, our "Bridging the Training Gap" report revealed that none of Scotland’s 32 local authorities provide mandatory training on learning disability and autism - and in May we followed this up with a petition calling for the Scottish Parliament to act to ensure better training for education staff.

The petition gathered 2,500 signatures from concerned ENABLE Scotland members, parents, teachers and others.  On Tuesday 13 December the petition was presented to the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee for debate.  Nigel Over and Mandy Bradley, members of ENABLE Scotland, joined Linda Whitmore, Development Officer, Children and Young People, in giving evidence.
 
(David Stewart MSP, Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, is presented ENABLE Scotland's petition by Nigel Over, Trustee, Mandy Bradley, Chair of the Young Families Support Committee and Linda Whitmore, Development Officer, Children and Young People.)

 

We asked Mandy and Linda to tell us more:

What inspired the campaign?

Linda: "This is an issue which has been discussed at length by ENABLE Scotland's Young Families Support Committee over the last couple of years - and they have really driven the campaign.  Parents have been telling us of their concern about the number of young disabled people being excluded from schools - and how more support from teachers and other staff might help to prevent this."

How did it feel to be talking about such an important issue in front of a group of MSPs?

Mandy: "I watched the video back with my family afterwards - I didn't feel like I was watching myself!  The Committee didn't give us an easy ride but they listened to our opinions and are acting upon them." 

Linda: "Not knowing what we were going to be asked by the Committee was nervewracking - but the Public Petitions Committee really took what we were saying on board and showed a great interest." 

 

 (Linda Whitmore, Development Officer, Children and Young People, ENABLE Scotland, address the Public Petitions Committee)
 

Any tips for other people starting their own campaign or petition?
 
Linda: "Make sure you have a strong evidence base first.  The work that went into developing our report, Bridging The Training Gap, has helped us to build a strong,  evidence-based campaign.  The Public Petitions Committee is a good route to take your campaign down, but make sure that you know your subject inside out!"
 
Mandy: "If you are speaking at the Public Petitions Committee try and meet the Convenor beforehand.  He was able to make us more comfortable with what was expected of us and what the Committee would do."
 
Whats next for the campaign?
 
Linda:  "More evidence gathering and building behind the scenes.  It's important to maintain this as a burning issue and so we will be encouraging case studies to come forward as well as writing blogs and press releases.  At the same time the Public Petitions Committee plans to write to the Scottish Government and others to find out their views."
 

Inspired by Linda and Mandy's story?  Why not check out ENABLE Scotland's "How To Campaign" site for more on starting your own petition.  Click here to find out more.
 
  
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