Lead Scotland aims to widen access to learning for disabled people across Scotland..... find out more

Lead Scotland

Lead Times
September 2015

Keeping you up to date with the latest developments in learning & disability

In this issue.....


>> News from Lead


>> Other News

News from Lead


Goodbye to our CEO of the last 7 years, Penny Brodie 

It is with regret that we announce our Executive Director, Penny Brodie, has left Lead Scotland. We very much value the contribution that Penny has made during her seven and a half years as our Executive Director and wish her all the very best in the future. We are actively seeking a new Chief Executive and will be conducting interviews at the end of September. Emma Whitelock is our Acting Executive Director during this interim period.

New Equality Act in Post School Learning Information booklet available

Lead Scotland have produced a new information booklet about how the Equality Act can be used and referred to in post school learning. It is a helpful resource to clarify and explain what duties and obligations Education providers have under the Equality Act around disability and to provide reasonable adjustments. The booklet also helps to identify different types of discrimination within an education setting and whether discrimination might have taken place as well as providing useful contacts to get further advice and support. 

You can access the Equality Act in Post School Learning Information booklet here

Lead to open new Befriending service in Fife

Lead's new Befriending service in Fife will make a huge difference to people living at home who experience social isolation and loneliness resulting from illness, disability, poverty and other issues. Funding will be used to recruit a Befriending Co-ordinator who will match volunteer befrienders with the target group of adults and older people. Befriendees will be supported to undertake activities at home and in the community, rebuilding relationships, confidence and ultimately improving health and wellbeing.

Lead Scotland's 2015 national conference report: 'Can We Make things Better? YES WE CAN!!

Our annual national conference this year took place on Thursday 11th June 2015 at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh and was attended by 130 delegates from across the private, public and third sector.  Following the success of last year's conference, we were delighted to have Keith Aitken (award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster) chairing the conference for a second year running.

The key themes were around creative and inclusive approaches towards delivering positive outcomes for disabled and disadvantaged learners.
The debate focused on the widest possible range of positive outcomes for such learners, including progression through learning, moving on to employment, training or volunteering, as well as other 'softer' outcomes such as becoming more independent and developing self-confidence and communication skills.

You can read the full conference report and access the workshop presentations from the day here. 

Lead Scotland vacancies

Chief Executive Officer

Are you a strategic leader who can roll up their sleeves?  Can you motivate and inspire a dedicated team to support others? Are you able to face the challenges of funding in the third sector?  Can you help grow an already successful organisation?We require a Chief Executive Officer to take forward Lead Scotland. Head Office is currently Edinburgh, with bases across Scotland.


Salary: from £42,500 p.a Further details available from Alan Goodman, Chairman, at, telephone 0131 228 9441. Please send CV and covering letter demonstrating how you meet the criteria for the post to be received by 4th September 2015.  Interviews will be in the last week of September.

Download full Lead Scotland CEO job description and person specification from our website here.

Befriending Coordinator

Lead is looking for a Befriending Coordinator to deliver a brand new service in the Fife area. The role will involve recruiting and coordinating volunteer befrienders and matching them with people living at home (16+adults and older adults) who are socially isolated and lonely e.g. those experiencing illness, disability, poverty and/or other difficulties.
Location: Fife wide service
Salary: TBC
Closing date: TBC

For more information please email 

Lead Scotland AGM 6th October

Our Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place this year on Tuesday 6th October at The Lovat Hotel in Perth with registrations starting from 10:30am. If you would like to find out more information and book a place then please email  

Lead Scotland Learner Story

Lead's person-centre approach towards supporting learners offers a flexible and supportive approach towards supporting learners achieve success. Every newsletter highlights learners' stories, and this edition focuses on learners undertaking a digital inclusion project in Perth.
Lead Scotland's digital inclusion project in Perth and Kinross is committed to working with people facing barriers to getting online. 
Blairgowrie is one area which had no provision for Tablet/iPad classes so Gail Phillips, a Lead Scotland Learning Coordinator started a class during the summer months. This has proven to be extremely popular with residents of the small town. 
Classes are held in the local library over 5 weeks. Learners gain the confidence to get online, connect with friends and family, research local history, use local online services such as the Perth and Kinross Library App and shop online. 
One Learner Mike has said, "the course is excellent and it really helps to have Gail and a volunteer at hand to answer all my questions. I was getting very frustrated with all the spam emails and it was putting me off getting online but Gail has sorted this for me and I now feel more in control of this new technology and willing to learn". 


New Information Service Helpline Opening Hours

We are pleased to announce the extended opening hours of our information service, which is now operating five days per week, from Monday to Friday, 09:30-11:30. You can call free phone number 0800 999 2568 or email

For more details on our information service click here



Other news

Proposed Changes to Disabled Students Allowance in England 

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills are calling for evidence and information in relation to proposed changes to the way DSA is funded in England from 2016/17 onwards. The UK Government is proposing a set of changes that would shift responsibility for funding certain elements of support and adjustments required for disabled students in Higher Education from Student Finance England to the Higher Education Providers themselves. While the reforms will not affect disabled Scottish students and the way they claim DSA, it will have an impact on Scottish HE providers in relation to any disabled English domiciled students opting to study in Scotland.

You can read and respond to the full DSA consultation document here

If you would like to send your views to Lead Scotland about the proposed changes to contribute to the discussion, then please email Rebecca Scarlett, our Senior Policy & Information Officer on before 24th September 2015.

Creating a Fairer Scotland: Employability Support 

From April 2017, Scotland will have more devolved powers over the way employability support is delivered for disabled people and those who are long term unemployed. The Scottish Government have released a consultation paper and are holding events across the country to seek as many views from interested parties as possible, on how best to deliver sustainable and effective services to help people overcome multiple barriers and move into lasting employment. The consultation is looking to gather views on how current DWP programmes like the Work Programme and Work Choice are performing and what the future of employability support could look like in Scotland. The consultation is open until 9th October.
You can access the Creating a Fairer Scotland: Employability Support consultation papers here

Alternatively you can email your views and opinions to our Senior Policy & Information Officer, Rebecca Scarlett at who will be collating all your views to contribute to the discussion.

Independent Quality Checking of Support Services from Values Into Action Scotland

In February 2014, Values Into Action Scotland started a project called 'The Life I Want' which involved Quality Checking peoples' support or services. 
David Ross and Jordan Allan are both Quality Checkers who work alongside Liz Callaghan, Quality Coordinator.  VIAS think that it is really important to make sure that people have choice and control over their support, the things they do and what goes into their support plan.

They offer an independent evaluation of support and services used by people with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum. They do this by interviewing people that use services or have their own support. They do this so that they can get an idea of what is good and working well, and what could be done better and might need to change. If things are working well it is really important to tell people so that others can learn from this. It is equally important to tell people what things aren’t working well so that it can be fixed.

Click here to watch Values Into Action Scotland's Quality Checking video

If you would like a presentation for your group or organisation or you would like to find out more about Quality Checking and Values Into Action then please give them a call on 0141 212 3355. 

Scottish Strategy for Autism - Innovation and Development Funding

The Scottish Government are continuing in their commitment to develop and enhance services for people with Autism and are now seeking applications for innovation and development funding. Services will be focused on four different outcome areas which include Health, Choice & Control, Independence and Active Citizenship. The deadline for applications is 18th September.

For further information and the application form click here.

58.8% of Graduates in Non-Graduate roles

A new report released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has revealed that more graduates than ever before are taking up jobs after university that do not require degrees. Overall 58.8% of graduates are working in non-graduate roles. The report highlights concerns that the level of graduates coming out of university is not matched with sufficient available high-skilled jobs. The impact of an over-saturation of graduates means employers are now asking candidates to have degrees in jobs that traditionally did not require them, thus pushing non-graduates out of the labour market. The CIPD wants a national debate to be held to generate ideas on how to create more high-skilled jobs. 

Click here to read full details of the CIPD report

Events, training & information 


Scottish Learning Festival

Education Scotland's annual Scottish Learning Festival is set to take place over two days at the SECC in Glasgow this year on 23rd and 24th September, welcoming thousands of education professionals from across Scotland as well as internationally. The theme of this year's event focuses on raising achievement and attainment for all by maximizing educational outcomes through:  
  • Self-evaluation – to ensure creative and innovative approaches to sustained improvement
  • Local partnerships and collaboration – to share approaches that lead to better outcomes
  • Work-related learning – to improve transitions into sustainable productive employment
The event is free for everyone to attend and keynote speakers include Angela Constance, Cabinet Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning.

For more information, the full SLF programme and to book a place, click here.

RNIB Pre-Employment Programme

RNIB Scotland are offering a pre-employment programme for blind and partially sighted people in Edinburgh and the Lothians who are looking for work. The programme is designed to increase motivation, boost confidence and improve communication and job-searching skills. Each course will last 8 days and cover topics such as vocational assessment, CV and cover letter writing, and interview and presentation skills. For more information, contact Kasia Czarnecka by e-mail or phone on 0131 657 8200.

UCanDoIt Computer Training Programme for Disabled People

UCanDoIt teaches disabled people how to use computers, with a particular emphasis on email and internet skills. Learners receive tutoring in their own home on a one to one basis. The service is free and covers Edinburgh and the Lothians, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, Inverclyde and South Ayrshire. 

For more information about UCanDoIt click here

Disability Information Scotland Directory

As well as publishing numerous fact sheets, providing an information service by phone, text or email and producing regular newsletters, Disability Information Scotland have also produced an up to date and comprehensive directory of disability related services based across Scotland. It has an easy to use search function where you can look for services by category, postcode, key words and local authority. 

Click here for more information and to access the Scottish Disability Directory

Access to Work course for Job Coaches

The Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability are running a workshop in Galashiels on 22nd September which will look at the requirements of Access to Work, how it links with and compliments best practice for follow along job coaching, transport and adaptations in the workplace. You will gain practical advice and information on how to apply for and use the funding. The course is suitable for job coaches; people working within Project SEARCH sites; employers and professionals actively engaged in supporting people with disabilities into paid employment.

For more information about the Access to Work course and to book a place click here
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