Lead Scotland’s National Conference 2016

Are We There Yet?
Thursday 9th June 2016

Improving lifelong and life wide learning journeys for disabled people

This Conference was kindly supported by Scottish Government and Perth College UHI.

The Situation:

The last decade has seen steadily increasing numbers of disabled people in Scotland requiring lifelong and life wide learning opportunities, in order to work, volunteer and sustain positive health and wellbeing. This is in part due to a rise in disclosure rates following sector wide improvements to equalities monitoring practice. There are also growing numbers of people now satisfying the legal definition of disability under the 2010 Equality Act, and a rising trend in the prevalence of people with specific impairments, such as mental health problems, dyslexia and autism.

The Challenge:

The Equality Act requires learning providers to offer a more inclusive and integrated approach to delivering support and adjustments, whilst a breadth of knowledge and expertise is necessary in order to engage and retain disabled people with a range of specific impairments. Practitioners have expressed the importance of a shift towards inclusive approaches that promote independence in order to prepare young people for the world of work. So how can learning providers ensure they are responding to the appetite for learning opportunities and meeting increasingly specific needs, in creative and inclusive ways, with limited resources?

Lead Scotland’s 2016 national conference aims to bring together a diverse range of partners across the college, university, skills, health and community learning sectors to meet new and emerging challenges, develop important networks, showcase new technologies and share examples of effective strategies, partnerships and programmes to meet the challenge.

The conference will put the spotlight on some of the current areas professionals and learners have identified as a priority:

  • Supporting the increasing number of learners experiencing mental health difficulties 
  • Improving post-school transitions
  • Effectively supporting learners with sensory impairments
  • Inclusive approaches: integrating support and adjustments into learning settings
  • The role of technology and digital spaces in mainstreaming support, widening access to learning and developing the young workforce

Chair: Dame Anne Begg, Member of Parliament between 1997 and 2015 for Aberdeen South and the first full time wheelchair user in the House of Commons since 1880.

Speakers included:

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education & Science

Keith Smyth, Professor of Pedagogy at the University of the Highlands and Islands, an expert in inclusive online learning and technology

Frankie McLean, Operations Manager at Deaf Action, a 4th generation BSL speaker who is heavily involved with the BSL (Scotland) Act National Advisory Group

Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland

Contributors included: CHAS, Dyslexia Scotland, RNIB, NUS Scotland, Aye Mind, Young Scot, Skills Development Scotland, SAMH, Concept Northern, Perth College UHI, Glasgow Kelvin College, Jisc Scotland, Autism Network Scotland and Deaf Action.

Read the full 2016 Lead Scotland National Conference report here

Lead Scotland Conference 2016 Agenda

Lead Scotland Conference 2016 Workshop Descriptions


Please call 0131 228 9441 or email info@lead.org.uk if you would like these in an alternative format.

Frankie McLean’s Speech, Operations Manager at Deaf Action

Keith Smyth, UHI – How Inclusive is Open Education?

Autism Network Scotland Supporting Autistic Students at College and University 

Aye Mind/Young Scot: Message to Image – Digital Initiatives and Mental Health

CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association Scotland):  Whose Job Is It Anyway? Supporting Transitions for Young People with Life Shortening Conditions

Concept Northern: Working in Partnership for a Diverse Workforce

Deaf Action: “Help! We have a Deaf Student”.  Stress-free Processes to Admitting Deaf Students onto Your Course

Dyslexia Scotland: Dyslexia – From Learning to Work

Glasgow Kelvin College: Reaching People Through Partnerships – Co-delivery and Co-production Through Community Achievement Awards

Jisc Scotland: How Can Accessibility Influence Good Practice and How Can Good Practice Improve Accessibility?

NUS (National Union of Students): “Stigma? Not at Our Institution!”  Stigma and Discrimination in Education and the Student Self-Management Project

Perth College UHI: Bringing Clarity to Complex Student Situations (Making Sense of the Muddle) 

RNIB Scotland (Royal National Institute for Blind People): Blind and Partially Sighted People – Moving on from School  

SAMH (The Scottish Association for Mental Health): Working in Partnership for a Diverse Workforce

SDS (Skills Development Scotland): Working in Partnership for a Diverse Workforce


Scottish Government LogoPerth College Logo