Special Needs

What are special needs?

A 'special' or 'particular' need is any personal condition or situation that could make it difficult for a young person or adult to participate fully in Scouting.

The most comprehensive - and still valid - UK research into Special Needs was the Warnock Report, published in 1978. It showed that at any one time, about one child in six will require some form of special education provision. Therefore most Groups or Units will have one or more young people who have needs that are in some way particular to them.

The Scout Association's Policy on special needs

Scouting has always embraced many different cultures, faiths and lifestyles. Our Equal Opportunities Policy states that no person should receive less favourable treatment because of their class, ethnic origin, gender, marital or sexual status, or their political and religious beliefs. Part of the Equal Opportunity policy relates to Special Needs and is expressed as follows:

It is important that young people are seen as individuals and that they are regarded equally as Members of the Movement, whatever their abilities. Some young people have additional support needs and require extra resources in terms of appropriate programme support and equipment to enable them to develop to their full potential. The Leaders are supported in providing these resources by a network of Commissioners and Advisers within the District, County/Area and Headquarters.

Whenever possible this Policy is achieved by integrating young people with additional needs into mainstream Scouting. Where this is not possible or appropriate, there is a network of special Groups for young people who would otherwise not be able to participate and enjoy Scouting.

Flexibility Statement

The Requirements for the Activity Badges provide a wide range of choice for Scouts. Most Scouts will be able to access the Badges of their choice. There will be a number of young people with Special Needs who will need further flexibility to gain their Activity Badges. Adaptation may be required specific to the needs of the young person concerned. The aim in each case should be to improve access to the Badge rather than to reduce the challenge of its requirements.

Further Information

Greater London Middlesex West's Special Needs Advisor is Chris Alleson who can be contacted here.