Kierran Pearce, a special educational needs (SEN) teacher from Colchester, set up the Multi-Schools Council in 2012 and continues to be the driving force.

The Council was set up to help break down negative perceptions around special needs and mental health difficulties. It provides young people with an opportunity to improve their confidence and develop personal and social skills alongside promoting values like democracy and tolerance.

Kierran has worked with students from mainstream and special schools on a broad range of events, projects and programmes including the annual Special School Games supported by Active Essex. Designed for students with special needs or disabilities, the event encourages them to take part in activities including; archery, boccia and wheelchair basketball.

Kierran, the Multi-School Council and Active Essex staff at his recent walk around all 18 Special Schools in Essex to continue to raise awareness

Kierran said: “The One in a Million award is recognition for all the children that are part of the Council. They are the reason we do what we do and they are the ones that generate the fantastic ideas. A huge thanks to the schools and Active Essex for listening to the children and the SEN operations teams who have backed us this year to embed the ideas and values of the Council on new SEND forms.”

Dawn Emberson, Children and Young People Lead for Active Essex said: “The recent Who Says campaign from Activity Alliance wanted to call the time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusions and sport. Kierran’s impact over the years has ensured a voice for children and young people with SEN across our county, challenged any misconceptions and allowed them to get involved in physical activity in a way that best suits them and their needs. His latest endeavour saw him take on a week-long walk to every special school in Essex. The students of these schools will be attending a walk at Hadleigh Park later this month, to collectively continue to raise the awareness of special schools in the county.”