Our mission at Ikkaido is to engage and empower persons who are disabled and disadvantaged to ensure their full inclusion in society. We use a 6E process that takes people on a journey to eudaimonia. Education is the third step in the journey towards reaching this. Our programmes encourage persons with a disability or fewer opportunities to participate more actively in education. Ikkaido is a recognised VET Centre, regulated by OFQUAL in the development, writing and delivery of fully accessible and inclusive coaching, teaching and wellbeing courses and qualifications. Our educational programmes focus on holistic, person-centred development, with a specific focus on health enhancing physical activity (HEPA). All programmes are accessible and inclusive to everybody through innovative approaches to learning and teaching. Ikkaido's programmes are all created, managed and delivered by persons who are disabled and/or disadvantaged.
Anonymous participant: "I've always found it hard to speak in a group, but participating in your programme helped me become less self-conscious. For the first time, I really felt like I was listened to, and I was able to learn more because I could ask questions."
The Need for Offering Inclusive Education:
People with disabilities are three times more likely to be NEETS (not in employment, education or training). Statistics show that persons with disabilities underperform all stages of education. For example:
In early education, based on their primary need, all groups of children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) have significantly lower proportions of those achieving at least five A*-C GCSE’s, including English and mathematics, than non-disabled children in both 2009/10 and 2014/15 (Equality and Human Rights Commission).
In higher education, disabled students are more likely to study creative arts and design courses than their non-disabled peers, 14.7%, compared with just 6.5%. Disabled students are most under-represented in business and administrative courses, 8.2%, compared to 14.9% of non- disabled students (Higher Education, Disabled Students’ Allowance Consultation: Equality Analysis).
The greatest differences between disabled and non-disabled people’s educational outcomes were in those attaining degree-level qualifications (a difference of 16.2 percentage points), those who achieved no qualifications (a difference of 10.1 percentage points) and those achieving GSCEs (a difference of 4.8 percentage points), (Disability and Education, UK, Office for National Statistics, 2019).
These statistics show that education is not accessible, rather than that persons with disabilities possess a lack of intellectual capacity. The majority of research into these disappointing statistics indicates that the problem lies predominantly within negative attitudes towards the capabilities of persons with disabilities, and the external barriers of their access to education. For example, research from The Conversation revealed that this disparity exists "even though few of the conditions among the disabled children [they] studied implied cognitive impairment" (The Conversation, 2018). The director of Skill (the disabled student support agency), John Ireson, supported the idea that the problem is external rather than within the individual. He said, "if society has a patronising view of disabled young people, then that lowers aspiration. The key thing is environmental barriers...It's an attitudinal change" that is required (Curtis, The Guardian, 2002). The problem is not within the individual who is classed as disabled, but within the disabling environment of the education system. Therefore, there is a real need to address the lack of accessible education in order for everybody to reach their full potential in society.
How does Ikkaido help?
Ikkaido's programmes enhance the employability of persons with disabilities and fewer opportunities, empowering them on their journey to employment, entrepreneurship and eudaimonia. Since 2016, we have implemented a number of programmes both in the UK and across Europe, teaching participants skills in:
and many more. Our programmes not only develop the skills of persons with disabilities and fewer opportunities, but also educate teachers, carers, parents, coaches, business managers and others on how to involve everybody and be fully inclusive in their practice. This is a step towards changing the perceptions of persons with disabilities and decreasing barriers to their access to equal opportunities in education. All of our programmes have been been designed, managed and delivered by persons with disabilities or fewer opportunities. Some of our previous programmes include, but are not limited to; EVA-FEM, EmployABLE, Beat-It! and Financial Lit 4 Women.
Employ-ABLE participants engaged in discussion. One participant said, "I feel like this programme has changed my life. Finally, I feel listened to and understood by the people around me...I've learnt so much from being here for just one day!"
What are we doing now?
This year, we are implementing two suites of qualifications that constitute a
holistic during and post-COVID well-being intervention. These qualifications will be
accessed via a charge to participants/ schools/ martial arts organisations or a reduced charge will be offered to participants if they struggle to afford it. They will also have the option to apply for government grants. BOOST is particularly useful for improving peoples well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it provides participants with tools to recognise challenges to their well-being and become healthier and happier. PRIMAE is a series of Inclusive Martial Arts (IMA) qualifications which we have developed that increase participation in health enhancing physical activity (HEPA) through safe, fun and inclusive coaching methods. This will not only enocourage people to participate in physical activity after COVID, but will also increase the chances of employment of marginalised people.
Beat-It! 2 (Bullying Education Awareness Tactics for Inclusion and Tolerance 2) is designed to help people who are disadvantaged, have fewer opportunities and/or have experienced bullying. Internet use has become even more of a regular feature of our every day lives during lockdown, and Beat-It! 2 will help protect vulnerable people against fake news and cyber bullying. Beat-It! 2 provides participants with tools to cope with bullying, cyberbullying, fake news, populism and a lack of inclusion, so that they are better prepared to protect themselves against coercion or exploitation. Non-formal education is used throughout, and all participants take an active role in the planning and delivery of activities. A professional councillor will be on call 24/7 throughout the programme that will be able to talk to participants one-on-one about any traumatic issues they have experienced or have emerged from memory in light of their learning. The programme educates young people on E-safety, digital literacy and the appropriate use of social media. Inclusive education is key to providing vulnerable people with the skills to protect themselves online. Beat-It! not only creates awareness of potential dangers online and how to avoid them, but also teaches participants skills in IT, digital media and design, and how to conduct oneself on social media. Through this education programme, participants develop skills that are key to their empowerment and helps to prepare them for future employment, too.
BOOST is an inclusive and accessible holistic well-being intervention programme for children with disabilities (ages 8-11) and children and adults with learning disabilities. Using similar
methodologies to those in our successful empowerment programmes, BOOST will provide
immediate well-being relief through activities and strategies that promote physical, mental,
nutritional, social, intellectual and environmental wellbeing. Our work has shown that these
need to be improved simultaneously in order to have a genuine positive and long-lasting
effect on those who normally suffer in all these areas. The programme also teaches the
concept of ‘well-being literacy,’ equipping participants with the knowledge and tools to
monitor their wellbeing and create unique well-being enhancing strategies that are tailored to
their mood. Inclusive 3D characters will guide learners through the programme and will
provide an engaging learning experience for the target groups. BOOST will include a private and monitored forum which all participants will be invited to. Through mentoring, participants will be encouraged to share any well-being issues they might have or any strategies that have been particularly effective in improving their health, with a view of creating a supportive community of well-being literate individuals.
If you feel like you would benefit from participating in BOOST, you can sign up here.
Participation and Recreation through Inclusive Martial Arts Education (PRIMAE) is a
suite of inclusive and accessible qualifications that provide learning in how to facilitate
sessions of safe, non-contact and inclusive martial arts. PRIMAE teaches this through a person-centred approach. Contrary to traditional models of education in sports coaching, these qualifications (currently at levels 1-5) focus on coaching and inclusion theory as core modules with a smaller sports-specific focus. Participants over the age of twelve, with all kinds of disabilities, will learn fundamental transferable soft skills such as leadership and mentoring which enhance employability. Qualifications are in the fields of Activation to Physical Activity, Leadership, Coaching, Tutoring, Assessment, Internal Quality Assurance and a full teaching qualification at level 5. All qualifications will be accessed digitally via an E-learning platform. The platform will include forums in which disabled and non-disabled participants can connect, share ideas and peer review each other’s work, creating an environment that promotes integration.
M pictured coaching with Ikkaido.
Accessing education and coaching programmes through Ikkaido was fundamental in M's (whose journey we have been following in the previous posts on engagement and empowerment) recovery and journey towards reaching eudaimonia. Through her participation in Inclusive Martial Arts (IMA), she grew in confidence, self-esteem and developed communication and soft skills. These were essential in enabling M to progress in her coaching qualifications on her journey towards becoming a PE teacher. She said of her experience of learning how to coach inclusively:
"I have found something that brings me enjoyment, but most importantly I have found something that no drugs or therapy was ever able to give me" - M
M's access to inclusive education made her feel accepted and valued as a member of her community. Her mental health improved as she learnt new skills and her focus shifted away from her problems and, instead, towards her opportunities. The access to education that M obtained through Ikkaido was what enabled her to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a PE teacher.
Assets.Publishing.Service.Gov.Uk, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/481527/bis-15-658-disabled-students-allowances-equality-analysis.pdf.
Curtis, Polly. "Disabled Students 'Less Likely' To Go To University". The Guardian, 2002, https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/sep/30/highereducation.accesstouniversity. Accessed 22 June 2021.
"Disability And Education, UK - Office For National Statistics". Ons.Gov.Uk, 2021, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/bulletins/disabilityandeducationuk/2019#strengths-and-limitations.
Equalityhumanrights.Com, 2021, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/being-disabled-in-britain.pdf.