The school based, ‘See me, not my CP’ started back in March 2021, when Claire Buckle was determined to destigmatise disability using her lived experience of Cerebral Palsy (CP). Being born with CP, Claire, the founder of both the Ability Consultancy and Ability Digital companies doesn’t know anything different. What she does know, is the effects being disabled has had on her. From low academic expectations due to being disabled, and the bullying she ‘sucked up’ in school, through to the discrimination that occurred when finding employment – all these experiences have shaped her, but they certainly haven’t stopped her. Ultimately the desire to help educate people from a young age came from the realisation that things could be so different, with a little awareness and empathy (not sympathy – that isn’t required!).
After Claire retired from athletics, the former GB para-athlete created the school-based programme ‘See me, not my CP’ for children, young people, and their educators to learn about disability. The programme is led by disabled people sharing their experiences, which in turn supports other disabled young people along with their peers, and addresses the general stereotyping of disability in society. The sessions range from inspirational talks and fun interactive activities, to delivering and training in inclusive and disability sport. The programme is available to all schools in Lancashire and can be tailored to suit the school’s focus or priorities. Sessions can be delivered face to face or via zoom.
School support sessions
In this blog we explain why Claire and the team at Ability Consultancy are so passionate about connecting and communicating with children (disabled or not) and why this programme is a perfect way to ensure schools have disability equality in the curriculum.
- Representation and implementation
The first element addresses disability representation and implementation. Claire is a strong believer that what is taught about disability should be designed by disabled people, so that it is accurate and doesn’t understate the ability in disability. One thing you can guarantee from the sessions, is that they are not average or boring (neither is Claire!). We can help you to include disability education in a memorable way in the long-term and in line with education inspection framework (EIF).
- Legal compliance
Secondly, the whole purpose of Ability Consultancy is to break down the barriers of disability, and this aligns perfectly with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which is part of the Equality Act 2010. Through our sport and inclusive team-based activities, we will help foster good relationships between disabled pupils and non-disabled pupils. We utilise games such as Boccia (pronounced bot-cha, a Paralympic sport like bowls), and other games such as table cricket and zone hockey to help tackle prejudice and promote understanding. There is nothing quite like watching a team of children working together, helping to erase negative attitudes and ensure stereotypes are refuted and removed from the school culture.
- Statutory PSHE
Thirdly, curriculum wise, we can support schools to confidently carry out compulsory personal, social, health and economic studies, which includes relationships education. We work both with disabled students (to help them be inspired and feel more supported in the ways they need), and with non-disabled students (to help prevent ableist attitudes developing).
- Bullying and discrimination
We can help you to banish bullying and ditch discrimination. As a survivor of bullying in school, Claire is an anti-bullying advocate and says,
“My CP has never stopped me from living life. I have had many wonderful experiences, but the impact of bullying and discrimination will never leave me, instead it shaped the person I am today. If I can change the mindset of one person, I have done my job”.
- Physical health
The ‘See me, not my CP’ is a great way to help promote a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise. Who would have thought that Claire would now ride a mainstream bike, 20-30 miles a week, after being told as a child that she would never ride a bike as a limitation of her CP.
- Mental health
Mental resilience is a key topic that Ability Consultancy promotes. The team share the belief that disabled people are more resilient than people may think, due to the way they need to adapt to their life circumstances. We can also support disabled young people, who may experience negative experiences by their peers or in life.
- Community and responsibility
We can teach about the importance of individual and community responsibilities. By delivering sessions to young people, we hope to change the mindset of future communities, so disabled people can live, learn, and earn like the rest of society.
Support for inclusive PE lessons
As Ability Consultancy is immersed in sport, we can also support disabled pupils to engage and take part in school sport. We will work with the school and pupil to address some of the barriers they may be experiencing. You never know, you could have a future Paralympian in your midst!
For teachers, we provide online and in-person training courses (written by disabled people, with examples being created through lived experience), which are accredited through the CPD Certification Service. The courses included are:
- Disability awareness
- Disability awareness in sport
- Disability awareness in the workplace
- Equality and diversity
- CP in the workplace course – available soon
What we offer
Children and young people
- Inspirational assemblies and class talks (by a GB para-athlete)
- Inclusive sports sessions (the sport inclusion model made simple)
- Introduction to Para Sport
- Disability awareness courses and practical sessions
- Introduction to Diversity, Inclusion and Discrimination (secondary only)
- Xplore Disability App (ready-made, fun and inclusive disability awareness training utilising child friendly technology – for more details, visit www.xploredisability.co.uk)
- CPD opportunities for teachers
- PE teacher specific inclusion sessions (adapting PE to include everyone)
- Equality Act 2010 Audits
- Xplore Disability App (ready-made information, tasks and general CPD learning tool – for more details, visit www.xploredisability.co.uk)
As well as working closely with the education sector, we also offer a wide range of services to corporate businesses and community organisations.
Why choose Ability Consultancy?
- Inspirational speakers, with deliverers using lived experiences.
- Claire Buckle, the founder, has CP herself. Claire achieved when others didn’t expect her to and represented GB in Para Athletics on the world stage.
- Deliverers are open, honest and have many tales to tell!
- Face to face or online sessions available, providing the bespoke service you require.
- We are registered with the PSHE Association.
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For more detail see here or contact Ability Consulting via email firstname.lastname@example.org