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Module F - Making Scouting accessible and inclusive

Module F - Making Scouting accessible and inclusive

(Links to Module A and D).
Below are optional activities for running this module. However, it's important to run activities and methods that best suit your ESYLs, ensuring you fulfil the aim and objectives of the modules.

The Scout Association is committed to being inclusive of all young people. This means everyone is welcome regardless of how much money they have or where they come from, what their gender is or how they identify, what their sexual orientation is, whether they have a disability or mental health issue, and no matter what their religion is or whether they have one at all. All ESYLs should be ready to do their best to support the inclusion and full participation of all young people in Scouting.

Note: Remember that modules can be delivered by anyone with the relevant experience and knowledge of the subject matter in the module. If you do not feel confident with the content of this module, speak to your District or County/Area or Region to find out who would be best placed to support.


This module will teach you how to create an environment that is inclusive and welcoming for all young people in the section. It will give you an understanding of some different additional needs a young person might have, and show you how to make reasonable adjustments to make the programme more inclusive for all.


By the end of this module, you'll be able to:

  • understand that every young person is different
  • understand that everyone is welcome in Scouting
  • understand your role in contributing to a positive and inclusive environment
  • state a range of additional needs that young people in a section may experience
  • understand how additional needs may affect participation in the Programme
  • explain how to adapt programmes to meet the needs of all young people within the section
  • explain where to go for further information and guidance


You'll need:

  • pens
  • paper
  • Appendix I
  • speakers/music (if using the distraction activity)

(10 minutes)
Start the session by introducing the topic of the module: inclusion and accessibility in Scouting. Discussing what the terms ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ mean.

What is diversity?

Promoting diversity in Scouting means that we welcome members from all and any backgrounds and celebrate what makes every person different.

What is inclusion?

When we talk about inclusion in Scouting, we are talking about the act of ensuring that Scouting is open to all and supporting anyone to overcome any barrier to participating in the Scouting programme.

As part of being inclusive, we need to ensure that our programme and meeting place is appropriate and that we have considered any additional needs members might have.

Ask the ESYLs if they have come across additional needs before. They will have done at school. Explain that everyone is different and that everyone has needs in some way. This is what makes the world interesting. What do the ESYLs understand by the terms ‘special educational needs’ and ‘disability’?

Additional needs and disabilities

Additional needs and disabilities may be visible or invisible, and the needs of each young person will be unique. Some may occur for a limited period of time. For example, a broken arm, an illness, or some emotional needs due to a family break-up, are all temporary needs.

However, many additional needs are permanent conditions. These include conditions such as asthma, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), dyslexia or physical disabilities.

Some additional needs can fluctuate and may be affected by a range of different factors, such as stress. Additional needs and disabilities should not prevent a young person from being able to participate in Scouting. By making reasonable adjustments (doing things differently or providing additional support), most young people can access Scouting and develop to their full potential.

In Scouting, adults need to be aware of any allergies, medical needs, and faith-based or cultural needs a young person may have. You may need to cater for vegetarian, Halal and Kosher diets, for example. Or, you may need to cater to a young person who is coeliac or has a nut allergy. It's important to ensure
that everyone’s needs are incorporated into section meetings and camps.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 10 minutes)

  1. Ask ESYLs to introduce themselves, using their preferred name and preferred pronoun (eg ‘my name is Matthew, I like to be called Matt, and I use the pronoun ‘he.’)
  2. Although this seems really simple, explain that it ensures everyone knows how everybody else would like to be referred to, and sets the scene for a positive and safe environment.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 15 minutes)

  1. Have a discussion with the ESYLs about what we mean by creating a positive and inclusive environment. Re-emphasise the fact that Scouting is open to all.
  2. Ask ESYLs to draw a rough picture of where their section meets. What might a positive and inclusive environment might look like?
  3. How would young people say their current meeting place makes them feel? Do they think their meeting place is currently a positive and inclusive environment? Are there any changes they could make?

(suitable for groups sized 7+, approx. 10 minutes)

  1. Give each member of the group a piece of paper with different colour on it eg yellow, blue, red, and green. There should be two or more pieces of paper representing each colour, except the green.
  2. Once everyone has received a piece of paper, ESYLs should keep the colour to themselves. They should not share details with each other.
  3. Ask ESYLs to set out and find the other person/people who have been given the same colour paper as them, using actions only. For example, they might point to the relevant colour if it's represented in the room, or they might do an action to represent a colour (such as mimicking waves to represent the colour blue). Once they have found other people with the same colour, they should stand together as a group. Once everyone (except the green person) have found their groups, stop the activity.
  4. Ask the green person how they feel. Do they feel sad? Isolated? What did people say when they approached their group? Did they turn them away? How did this make them feel?
  5. How did the other members of the group feel when they found a colour match? Did they feel relieved?
  6. The activity highlights the experience of someone who might feel they are somehow different to others. People are naturally drawn to others who ‘are like them’, but this does not lead to diversity, creativity or innovation. This also mirrors how a new young person might feel when joining an established section.

Note: before you hand out the coloured cards, give some thought to the person who will play ‘the green’ character. The activity will inevitably lead to this person feeling temporarily isolated and ‘left out’. This can be a frustrating and unsettling experience. It's therefore important to choose an ESYL who you know will respond well to this. Activities about special educational needs and additional needs There are lots of different types of Special Educational Needs (SEN) that ESYLs may come across in their role. It's really important not to label people. Instead, they should get to know individuals, as discussed in the previous activity. Different needs can present differently in different people, so it's important not to generalise or stereotype. That said, there are often some commonalities within different SENs. Understanding these commonalties will help them to best support young people to have a fun and rewarding time in scouting.
Below are some games and activities that can be used to support ESYLs to develop an understanding of both additional needs and SENs.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 15 minutes)

  1. Ask ESYLs to get into pairs. One of them should remain in the room, and the other should step outside for a moment.
  2. Explain that those remaining in the room are going to be playing a game of snap with their partner when they return. However, as well as shouting ‘snap!’ when the cards match, they will add in an additional rule of their choosing, without telling their partner about it. For example, they could shout out a certain word every time a certain colour appears on the card.
  3. Invite the other partners back into the room, but do not tell them about the additional rule.
  4. Start playing snap with the additional rule included. The partner who is unaware will soon begin to feel confused and frustrated, as they don’t feel they in control of what is happening.
  5. Explain that feeling a bit disorientated may be a common feeling for someone with an additional need.
  6. Ask the ESYLs how they could have helped their partner throughout. Could they have given clearer instructions, checked their understanding, or helped them when it was difficult?

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 10 minutes)

  1. Ask an ESYL to volunteer for this activity. Please note: the volunteer will be made to feel disorientated, so it's important to take this into account when choosing someone.
  2. Blindfold the ESYL and sit them on a chair in the middle of a circle.
  3. Next, put on some music. Ideally, you should choose a frantic sample of music (with a fast tempo or multiple instruments, for example) or play some sound effects of a busy road. Place the source of the music at one side of the room.
  4. At the other side of the room, play a different type of music or sound effect. If you don’t have access to music, you could ask some of the ESYLs to mimic the noises of a busy road or to sing a song.
  5. Ask the other ESYLs to walk close to the blindfolded person, without touching them.
  6. Then, ask the blindfolded ESYL a series of simple maths questions with two steps. Could the ESYL solve them? How did they feel? Did the distractions become frustrating and stop them from concentrating?
  7. Explain that feeling distracted and overwhelmed can be a common experience for some young people. At some point in their lives, they may have felt like that themselves, as it's a very common experience. Everyone experiences things differently. We should always take that into consideration when supporting and leading sessions for others.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 10 minutes)

  1. Ask ESYLs to get into in small groups and invite one of them to volunteer to leave the room for a moment. Please note: the volunteer will be made to feel deliberately disorientated, so it's important to take this into account when choosing someone.
  2. The rest of the group should decide on two questions they are going to ask the ESYLs when they re-enter the room. They should write each word featured in the question on a different piece of paper, so that when all the pieces are put together they make up the full sentence. The questions could be something like ‘what’s your favourite thing about being an ESYL?’ or ‘Why did you want to do the Scheme in the first place?’
  3. Screw up the individual pieces of paper into small balls. Invite the ESYLs outside to come back in and explain you'll be asking them two questions.
  4. The ESYLs should then throw the screwed up pieces of paper at the ESYL as they come back into the room, asking repeatedly ‘what is the answer? Come on, what’s the answer?’
  5. The ESYL should get attempt to make sense of the questions, by joining all of the pieces of paper together to form sentences. When they’re ready, they should attempt to answer.
  6. After the activity has finished, ask the ESYL who left the room how they felt. Did they feel a bit overwhelmed and frustrated as they tried to piece together the questions? Did they feel pressured to answer quickly?
  7. Explain that this is how it can sometimes feel for some young people who find it harder to process instructions or information. Taking time to slow down and tackle things one step at a time can be much less confusing. Explain that this activity could also be challenging for a young person with dyslexia, or for someone who struggles with reading or writing.
  8. Ask the ESYLs to consider how they could deliver information to make sure everyone can understand it. To demonstrate, you could run this activity again, reducing the intensity by asking ESYLs not to shout, or to present the questions all on one piece of paper, rather than muddling them up. How much easier did they find it this time? Adapting our approach can really help young people to learn.

(suitable for bigger groups, approx. 10 minutes)

  1. Ask one ESYL to volunteer to stand in the centre of the room, and ask four others to stand equal distance apart around them. They should each place a finger lightly on the arm or back of the ESYL in the centre.
  2. A further ring of ESYLs should form around these ESYLs, each placing a finger on the arms or back of the person in front.
  3. Once everyone is linked, the person in the middle of the circle should start to turn around very slowly. The ESYLs touching that person should try and keep their finger in the same place. Everyone else should turn in time with the spinning circle. What you should observe is that the person in the middle of the circle turns very slowly, as it's easy for them. However, those within the outer layer of the circle will have to run or move much faster to keep up. The key message here is that whenever all ESYLs are given the same task, some of them will have to work much harder to accomplish the same thing.
  4. Discuss what happens when someone can’t keep up. Do they give up and let go? Do they keep running faster and faster? Does everyone have the same reaction when something is challenging?

Making reasonable adjustments and programme planning

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 20 minutes)

  1. Explain to the ESYLs that they will get to know their young people and should plan ahead with the rest of the leadership team for sessions. By doing this they can consider any additional needs before the meeting and ensure that the sessions are as inclusive as possible.
  2. To begin, split the ESYLs into small teams and give each team a scenario from Appendix I to consider. As a group, go over what adjustments the ESYLs have made to make sure their scenario is inclusive.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 20 minutes)

Sometimes ESYLs may find themselves in a situation where they have to adapt a game or activity they are running on the spot. An example of this might be if they are running an opening game and a young person turns up with a broken leg. This requires them to be able to adapt at speed, and to think creatively, so everyone can join in.

  1. To begin, ask a couple of ESYLs to volunteer to run a game with the rest of the Unit. They can play any game they like. Something simple like ‘North, South, East, West’ or ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ would work well.
  2. Once they have been playing for a couple of minutes, give them a scenario to adapt to. You could pretend that a young person on crutches has arrived and wants to join in. How can they adapt to be inclusive?
  3. Next, imagine that there is also a person who is deaf within the group. How can they make sure that the game is suitably adapted this time?
  4. Keep going, asking ESYLs to further adapt their approach to suit someone with a different need, such as a visual impairment, or a difficulty following instructions, for example. Each time, ask the ESYLs to contribute their ideas as a group. How can they adapt the activity to make sure everyone can join in?

Resources to further support you

There are some very useful resources to help ensure a scouting programme is inclusive for all. These

  • Deaf Friendly Scouting resource
  • A Million Hand’s resources: Mind, Leonard Cheshire, Guide Dogs
  • Refugee resources
  • Makaton promise
  • Alternative versions of the promise

These can all be found on

Conclusion of Module F

Summarise the module by revisiting the objectives. Ask the ESYLs whether they feel they have covered all of the objectives satisfactorily. Before they go, carry out a review or an evaluation of the session.