Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Playing the Trump Card

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Playing the Trump Card

Article excerpt

We spend so much time embedding more and more into our sessions: vocational mastery, English, maths, British values, employability, soft skills, equality and diversity. But instead of creating holistic learning opportunities, sometimes chucking everything in the mix just produces a diluted message.

This year, one of my sessions is a group tutorial with young people who have a range of learning difficulties and disabilities. This means that I am able to focus on peripheral but highly valuable topics as my remit rather than an add-on. It feels like a luxury.

I like to create routines in these sessions. One of them is to check the BBC news website and have a brief discussion about current affairs. Many learners never leave the area where they were born and raised, but that shouldn't stop them having exposure to - and opinions about - the wider world.

In one particular session, we were focusing on the Equality Act 2010 and its nine protected characteristics. We discussed how discrimination based on any of these was unacceptable: that there wasn't just a moral right to protection but a legally enforceable one. For students with learning difficulties and disabilities, self-advocacy is an important skill to hone, and having a firm grasp of the legal implications is extremely useful.

By the end of the session, I felt confident that we had given our students even more tools to empower themselves and others. I hoped that they would know exactly what to do should they ever feel discriminated against because of a protected characteristic. …

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