Pupils challenged perceptions

PUPILS from Aveley’s Ormiston Park Academy recently participated in a conference aimed at challenging perceptions towards people with specialist educational needs and disabilities.

The pupils, from Years Seven, Eight and Nine pupils are part of the Multi-Schools Council. It brings together children of all abilities across Essex to work together on perception changing projects.

Held at the City of Chelmsford Racecourse and attended by 30 schools, the conference involved the pupils participating in two innovative and inclusive workshops.

This included a workshop centred around anti-bullying, which required pupils to design and make a t-shirt which would send out a message about the unacceptability of bullying, promoting inclusivity. Each piece of work was joined together to support a central design for a t-shirt that will be sold in a leading high street store, with proceeds going to charity.

The pupils also took part in three mini-sessions which explored autism awareness, as well as positive strategies that can be used to support the better integration of autistic people into society.

Two Ormiston Park pupils also delivered moving speeches about their experiences as they pitched for positions within the council. Whilst they didn’t win the positions, there was a tough deliberation and the judges were incredibly impressed with what they heard from the school.

The event closed with a reading from a new book based around disability, which has been produced by the Multi-Schools Council and will now be circulated to every primary school in Essex to share its message.

Huw Derrick, Principal at Ormiston Park Academy, said: “We were delighted to see our pupils participate in such an essential and valuable project. The conference offered a wonderful opportunity for Ormiston Park Academy to join up with schools across the region and work together to transform perceptions of special educational needs and disabilities.

“We look forward to seeing our pupils continue to get involved in the Multi-Schools Council in the near future.”