When student teachers in Lancashire were forced to cancel a key conference about inclusion that they had spent months planning they made sure their efforts to help others were not thwarted by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Inclusion in the Modern Day was due to take place at the Lancaster campus of University of Cumbria, organised by its second-year students on their four-year BA Hons Primary Education with QTS in Inclusion/SEND (special educational needs) programme.
The students had spent months raising funds in the run-up to the conference to cover costs such as accommodation for visiting keynote speakers, catering and marketing. Events included sponsored walks, raffles and bake sales.
Following cancellation, the student teachers have been able to donate a quantity of tea, coffee and snacks to Morecambe Bay Food Bank and a total of £827.66 has been given to the Fylde Sharks Disability Swimming Club based in Lytham St Annes.
Student teacher Anna Stevenson said: “Owing to the ongoing issues regarding coronavirus, we had to make the hard decision to cancel the conference. We’d already purchased coffee, sugar and biscuits for the day so as soon as we knew the conference was cancelled we were able to donate these to the Morecambe Bay Food Bank.
“A decision had also been reached that any funds left over would be donated to the swimming club. We’d designated this as our chosen charity before the conference because one of my peers had previously worked there and seen the great work they do for children with additional needs.
“It means we’ve been able to donate £827.66 to the Fylde Sharks Disability Swimming Club and they’ve informed me that this money will help towards when they hope to restart in September. We are so pleased that we’ve been able to help such great causes in this way.”
Paul Cooper, a swimming teacher at the Fylde Sharks Disability Swimming Club, said: “Thank you from us all at the club to the student teachers at University of Cumbria for their very generous donation. We hope to be restarting in September if all goes well and this will help us cover pool hire and lifeguards for the first few weeks. It’s a significant contribution.”
Graham Hallett, senior lecturer on the course at the university’s Institute of Education, said: “We’re heartened that, coinciding with Disability Awareness Day in July, our students have made this presentation to these good causes. For the swimming club, it is a sum that is sufficient to pay for pool hire and lifeguards for one month.
“This was money that the group raised to pay for their student-led conference that they arranged as part of one of their modules this last year which unfortunately had to be cancelled. This would have been the 10th conference. We are proud to see how our students have continued to think of and support others despite their event setback.”
The university’s BA (Hons) Primary Education (5-11): Inclusion with SEND QTS programme equips new teachers with the expertise to inspire, enable and include all children and in particular those with special educational needs and/or disabilities to learn and make progress.
A key feature of the sector-respected programme is the opportunity for postgraduate study in the fourth year, with successful students gaining the award of Postgraduate Certificate: Inclusion with SEND as well as their BA (Hons) degree.
University of Cumbria has a long and prestigious history of delivering teaching qualifications and its institute of education is one of the largest and most successful providers of teacher training in the UK. Through its founding institutions, St Martin’s College in Lancaster and Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside, the university has been inspiring teachers and educators through its training and professional development programmes for over 100 years.