Behind the Scenes with Claire Holland – Training with the National Gallery

By February 23, 2015Business, Disability
Claire Holland Head of Training

It’s been an exciting time at Enhance the UK recently as we are involved in some really interesting projects. A short time ago two of our fantastic trainers delivered Disability and Communication training for education staff at the National Gallery. They were so pleased with the training that we delivered that we were invited to attend a meeting regarding how we might work with them in the future.

I recently attended the meeting with Jennie (our CEO) and was pleased to learn how seriously they are taking access. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the education team at the gallery already have a project in place to encourage and support schools in bringing children with special educational needs to the gallery. This includes outreach work and visiting the school prior to the trip to provide INSET training to school staff.

The gallery itself also provides tours in British Sign Language and has information available in Braille and large print. They have been rated highly on the access guide Disabled Go. It was refreshing to find that they are still striving to improve accessibility. Orlagh Muldoon the schools programme manager explained that she is working in conjunction with the Museum of London to strive to make it easier for children with Special Education Needs to access what is rightfully their heritage. They are setting up a specialist network and inviting museums and galleries around London to join. This will be an opportunity for those involved to share experiences regarding making their venues and experiences accessible to children with SEN, support each other and receive advice. Enhance the UK has been invited to talk at one of the meetings about what we do and the importance of Disability awareness training.

I personally am incredibly excited by this. Orlagh’s comment regarding rightful heritage resonated with me. People with disabilities regardless of age should be able to fully access museums and galleries. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. I have lost count of the number of times I have attended museums in London to leave frustrated. Anything which we at Enhance the UK can do to help improve matters on this is incredibly worthwhile from my perspective. It’s early days on this project, so watch this space!

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