Late last year, MRM Archery in East Kilbride, Scotland, was approached by Boris, a teacher at Ochil Tower School. The school teaches children and young adults at the school aged between 8 and 21 who have moderate, severe or complex needs, and are often on the autistic spectrum.
Boris mentioned that a pupil, 17-year-old Hamish, wanted to become an archery instructor. Hamish had been supporting Boris (a qualified archery instructor) at the school’s weekly archery sessions for the past two years. The school’s and Hamish’s dream was that he could become an archery instructor before he left school in the summer of 2023. It would also make him the first pupil at the school who would be both an instructor and a pupil at the same time.
MRM Archery was delighted to help, and it was agreed that the school would host an instructor course in early April.
Firstly, they had to determine what additional needs Hamish had and MRM Archery liaised with Archery GB to put the necessary support in place. Hamish was diagnosed with ADHD, ASN and severe Dyslexia, and he has very limited reading and writing skills. This meant he would not be able to read the instructor training manual or fill out some of the tasks.
MRM Archery also arranged a visit to the school in advance of the course to enable Hamish to meet the course tutor and make sure he comfortable with them. They provided the school with an electronic copy of the training manual and over several months the school staff worked closely with Hamish reading out the manual and helping him to learn the contents – all 67 pages! The course tutor acted as reader and scribe for the questionnaire assessment and extra time was given to allow Hamish to complete it.
The date of the course came round quickly. There were 11 on the course – three members of the school staff and participants from a range of organisations around Scotland. Hamish, like the other participants, was nervous but he contributed eagerly and was receptive to learning.
On 4 April Hamish completed the theoretical assessment and progressed through to the practical assessment, which he passed and was deemed a competent archery Instructor. All the other participants, the school and the MRM Archery staff were delighted by Hamish’s success.
So with a bit of planning, a lot of hard work from Hamish and the school staff, support from colleagues and the MRM Team, Hamish achieved his dream.
Hamish and MRM Archery’s story is an example of ‘It’s not what you can’t do but what you can do’, which is important. Congratulations to the school and to Hamish, who is looking forward to going to college after the summer. And thank you to MRM Archery, who went above and beyond to make archery inclusive.
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