Engage in Education – blog post by Victoria Riley-Hill, I CAN Communication Advisor

It’s a busy time in the life of a communication advisor working on the Engage in Education project.  Children are back to school and the Team are all now starting to work with young people, families and schools.  Dates for training are being planned, workshops to support volunteers are being arranged and there is an air of creativity and opportunity around.

It’s all really exciting as it’s a brand new project, with new staff and new ideas to help young people at risk of exclusion. For me, as an I CAN communication advisor, I’m particularly excited about this amazing opportunity to raise the profile of hidden communication needs in vulnerable young people. For many years now I’ve been working with school staff and parents to support their understanding of the link between communication and behaviour needs. Now the Government has realised the importance too. It’s a wonderful opportunity.

The Engage in Education programme (EiE) is Department for Education funded and includes Catch 22, Rathbone, PPP (Pupil Parent Partnership), Dyslexia Action and I CAN who will be working together. The aim of the programme is to support young people at risk of exclusion by identifying and supporting hidden needs including language, communication and literacy.

It is very exciting to have this opportunity to work jointly with other services, organisations and professionals, who are different from the groups I’d typically work with. So key workers, volunteers and local project coordinators, teachers and communication advisors will be working with schools, young people, families and local community services to support these young people at risk of exclusion. We hope that the project will leave a positive legacy not just for the young people directly involved in the project but also for future generations by training staff to recognise hidden needs earlier and then providing approaches that support the young person before the behaviour lands them in trouble. It may seem a big ask but I know we can do it as the teams are made up of amazing people and the school staff really want to make a difference for these young people. I’ll keep you posted on how we get on…

If you want to read more about I CAN and the work we do, check out our website on www.ican.org.uk.  If you want to read more about Catch 22 and Engage in Education, go to http://www.catch-22.org.uk/Engage-in-Education