Category Archives: Press

Scottish Government Work Placement

Two pupils from Falkland House School have been given an interesting insight into the world of work after completing a work placement with the Scottish Government.

Over the course of three weeks, the boys were introduced to the full range of administration and support functions that keep the offices running smoothly on a daily basis. Tasks included photocopying, scanning, shredding, meeting preparation and undertaking front of house/reception and mail room duties at Atlantic Quay. They were also given a tour of the Scottish Parliament where they met the Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn.

The Scottish Government regularly offers graduate and undergraduate placements as well as summer internships, however the boys are only the second year to undertake a placement tailored specifically for pupils with additional support needs.

Falkland House School Director, Stuart Jacob, said: “This has been a great experience for the boys and they would like to take this opportunity to thank the Scottish Government for all their support. They’ve both thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt some valuable skills they can take forward with them when they enter the workplace in the future.

“The logistics and nature of the placement made this quite a daunting prospect for them initially, but they have both coped admirably and proved themselves.

“Placements like this are invaluable to young people with additional support needs in building confidence and getting experience. Quite often they bring with them a special skill set which can be invaluable to some employers. I would urge more organisations to look beyond the label and to consider offering a work placement.”

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Skills said: “It’s important that everybody gets a chance to experience what it is like to be in the workplace, to learn new skills and build confidence.  I’m delighted that the Scottish Government was able to host Hugh and Lucas.  I understand that they interacted well with staff and undertook tasks assigned to them with enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to have them with us and I wish them all the best with their future job searches.”

Click on the link below to listen to Hugh talking about his experience at the Scottish Government:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HXLk5TJ4II&feature=youtu.be

 

 

Our campaign to get young people with ASN into employment

Falkland House School is committed to raising awareness of the positive contribution young people with Additional Support Needs (ASN) can bring to the workplace. In this article published in the Daily Record, one current pupil and one ex-pupil talk about how the school has helped them to prepare for the transition from school to further education and employment.

 

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/students-specialist-school-boys-neurological-7778435#rkQzdhRv0lE6Q1AJ.97

 

FHS shortlisted for prestigious education award

We are very proud to announce that Falkland House School has again been shortlisted for the prestigious TES Alternative Provision School of the Year Award. There’s only one other Scottish school among the 32 finalists in the nursery, primary, secondary and alternative provision categories. The winner of one of these categories will also pick up the Overall School of the Year Award.

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Now in their eighth year, the awards recognise the outstanding contribution to education made by teams and individuals, and are one of the biggest events of the academic year. Candidates for the 16 categories are selected from across the UK.

Director of Falkland House School, Stuart Jacob, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for this respected award again. This is a much sought-after accolade across the education sector and to get to this stage is testament to the hard work of everybody at the school.

“We have a reputation for achieving positive and socially inclusive outcomes for our pupils, through focus on health and wellbeing, employability and independence and we’re pleased that this is being recognised nationally.

“We’re now looking forward to the award ceremony and finding out whether we can make it to the top of the class.”

Winners will be revealed at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 24th June. Fingers crossed!

 

 

 

 

MSP John Mason pays a visit to Falkland House School

Staff and pupils at Falkland House School, one of Scotland’s top providers of education for boys with additional support needs, today (Wednesday 21st October) hosted a visit from Glasgow Shettleston MSP John Mason.

Mr Mason was welcomed to the school by staff and pupils and then given a guided tour.

The school was the first independent school in Scotland outwith the National Autistic Society to gain Autism accreditation. They now have 75% of pupils with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis and also support Young People with SEBN, ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome.

Director of Falkland House School, Stuart Jacob said ‘We were delighted to welcome Mr Mason to our school to meet with the pupils and talk about some of our current work. Falkland House School prides itself on achieving excellence across the board and we are undertaking a number of ongoing innovative projects which are getting the boys ready for future study and employment.

I would like to thanks Mr Mason for taking the time to come and visit and allowing the boys to show him what they have been learning about. “

Senior pupil, Kieran Rae, said:  “I discussed the work we’ve been doing with Mr Mason. He was really interested in our log cabin build and the Falkland Contract Services Company which we have started. I think he enjoyed his tour of the school and seeing all the different classes.”

John Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, commented on his visit, saying:   ‘I have to say I was very impressed by my visit.  From all I could see, the 22 boys attending are getting a great education as well as wider support in developing life skills.

“The question for myself now is how we can get a more specialised education experience for the many other youngsters on the autistic spectrum.  Not every school pupil with autism needs to be at a school like this.  But every child on the spectrum needs to have an education that is appropriate for their individual situation.’

As well as being one of the first independent schools in Scotland to gain recognition by the National Autistic Society, Falkland House School also holds the UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award. This award recognises Falkland House’s continued commitment to putting the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child at the heart of the schools planning, policies, practice and ethics.

Response to ScotCen study on additional support for learning needs

Commenting on today’s report from ScotCen which is part of its Growing Up In Scotland study Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School in Fife, which specialises in the education and care of boys who require additional support for learning said:

“The findings from these report illustrate the challenges we as a society face, with nearly one in five boys (18%)  in need of additional support, set against a background of the number of those identified with additional support needs more than doubling since 2010.

“As a school that specialises in the education of boys who require additional support for learning, we know that the earlier we can identify and provide support, the more positive the outcomes that can be achieved and the greater the positive contribution to society in terms of getting these young people into education, employment and training.

“It is essential that these additional support needs are identified as early as possible and then the mechanisms by which to support young boys in an educational setting are put in place to ensure they receive the support they need “

 

Letter from the Scottish Childrens Service Coalition : Additional funding for mental health

This letter appeared in The Scotsman on 26th May co-signed by Stuart Jacob and Falkland House School

As a coalition whose members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, we were delighted to see our campaign for increased investment in child and adolescent mental health services has delivered a successful outcome, with the recent announcement of £85 million in additional funding the Scottish Government.

This additional funding, to be spent on mental health services over the next five years, will go some way to address services which are proving to be incredibly stretched.

This is against the background of a signifcant increase in demand, with the number of referrals for specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) increasing by 60 per cent over the past two years.

 We do not dispute that our health professionals do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health, but a lack of resources in the face of a dramatically increased demand means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back.
With half of Scotland’s health boards failing to meet waiting time targets to access CAMHS that came into force at the end of last year, we are clearly pleased to see that part of this funding will be used to bring down these waiting times.

We would like to thank those many people who signed our petition for taking the time to do this and hope to continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that the mental health services many young people in Scotland so desperately need are being provided.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, 
comprising:

Sophie Pilgrim

Kindred Scotland

Tom McGhee

Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop

Who Cares? Scotland

Stuart Jacob

Falkland House School

Niall Kelly

Young Foundations

 

A is for Autism, E is for Expedition

A group of pupils and staff from Falkland House School, one of Scotland’s top providers of education for boys with additional support needs, will today (Wednesday 1st April) venture into the hills of Highland Perthshire to mark world autism awareness month.

The boys have been taking part in an expedition elective at the school which has prepared them with the skills and knowledge necessary to take care of themselves with comfort in remote environments. They will be completely self-sufficient for two days while carrying all they need to enjoy the new experience. But the most important part of their kit will be a large homemade letter A which they will carry to the top of their summit as part of their submission to ‘A is for Autism’

‘ A is for Autism’ is a campaign run by Scottish Autism which marks  autism awareness month by challenging groups and individuals to get as many people talking about autism as possible by getting creative and sharing homemade letter As. These can take any form and all entries will then be submitted via Scottish Autism’s facebook page with the winning entry being the image that gets the most likes.

The boys at Falkland House have crafted their own letter with the help of school staff and will take it with them as party of their expedition to ensure that the message of autism awareness month will reach even the quieter corners of the country.

Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School said, “ As a school that specialises in the education of boys who require additional support for learning, many of whom are autistic, we are delighted to be taking part in World Autism Awareness Month.

“This is a great, innovative campaign from Scottish Autism and the boys were all really keen to take part when we discussed doing it as part of their expedition.  They have had a lot of fun planning this and we look forward to seeing all the other submissions and raising as much awareness as possible.”

Falkland House School offers a wide range of electives of a practical or sporting nature which have proved to be very popular and the boys have completed courses in hillwalking, skiing and sailing. As well as helping to develop team skills these challenging activities are helping to improve resilience. The experience also leads to achievement in SQA awards.

 

ENDS

 

For further information please contact Lynsey Ross at Orbit Communications on 0131 603 8996/ 0755 220 857 or email lynsey.ross@orbit-comms.co.uk

 

Opinion Piece: A is for Autism

Opinion piece from Stuart Jacob which appeared in The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News, Thursday 2nd April.

April is Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Awareness Day falling today. This sees campaigners globally try to raise further awareness of the condition.

Although clinicians first began to formally identify children in the early 1940’s, who would today be on the autism spectrum, there is still a great lack of understanding about autism and its effects. And it is this lack of knowledge that the awareness campaign aims to highlight.

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects the way in which a person communicates, interacts and processes information. The behaviours and challenges typically associated with autism are often a result of these differences in thinking styles and perceptions. This can be seen in the following three ways; social interaction, social communication and social imagination and flexible thinking.

For example, individuals on the autism spectrum may have difficulty understanding and responding to the perspectives of others. As a result they may find it difficult to form and sustain relationships. Another issue can be anticipating the social expectations in any given situation. Social rules can often  be difficult to retain and implement for people who suffer from autism, due to the different way in which their brains work. Difficulties in predictive thinking can also impact on an individual’s ability to organise themselves and fully understand the consequences of their actions. It also makes it more difficult to accommodate change.

Some people will have more subtle difficulties while others will have complex needs requiring more intensive support. It is estimated that around 1 in 100 people are on the spectrum.

While a precise cause for autism has not been established it is widely recognised that there are a number of biological factors involved which can impact on brain development. Environmental factors are also thought to play a role.

When it comes to a knowledge and understanding of autism there still remains a lot to be learned. More research is being carried out which will hopefully allow for earlier identification of the condition and timely interventions to support young people with autism.

We have however come a long way in supporting those young people with the condition, including the autism toolbox for schools, which includes up-to-date information from research and practical experience that is easy to understand and apply in the classroom, playground and home. In addition there have been some fantastic recent initiatives providing relaxed cinema and theatre performances. However, work still needs to be done to improve attitudes and understanding regarding people with autism, for example in increasing opportunities for employment.

Stuart Jacob