Pupils at a Westhoughton school are set to become the first-ever group of inclusion champions.

Happy Smiles Training have been running training sessions across the borough in primary schools, with children at The Gates Primary in Westhoughton being the first to become champions.

Alex Winstanley, managing director at Happy Smiles, and his team visited The Gates and worked with KS2 pupils around resilience, overcoming challenges and defining their own limits, using the experiences of the team of inclusion champions - young adults with lived experience of disability.

The training sessions were the first in-person work with any school in more than 14 months and Alex is really pleased with how the sessions were received by the pupils.

He said: “The group of pupils have been outstanding and some of the leadership techniques and group values have already been adopted in other leadership groups across the school.

“They have already planned school-wide inclusion events and delivered equality and diversity training to younger pupils, based on our work with them so far.”

A school spokesman said: “My class thought it was very inspiring and the case studies shown really did show resilience at its best, showing them that anything is possible.

“It broke down a lot of barriers in terms of prejudice too and I think that it was explained really well that despite our champions Ellie and Haydn having a disability, their readiness to communicate and understand was as good as any other adult around them.”

Speaking of the training sessions, one Year Five pupil said: “It was really fun. I learnt a lot of new knowledge about respecting everyone and understanding the importance of not giving up.”

Happy Smiles provides interactive training workshops, focusing on many aspects of disability awareness and social inclusion.

Training is facilitated by inclusion champions, young adults who experience disability on a daily basis, who give pupils the unique experience of understanding differences through first-hand experience.

The firm also provided The Gates Primary School with copies of Alex’s two books; My Grandma has Dementia and My Uncle has Depression, allowing children to learn about sensitive topics at a younger age.