A consistent approach to Inclusion is essential across Scottish Education to ensure parity across authorities.
An Inclusion task group with input from Scottish Government, AHDS and other professionals should be formed to standardise policy and practice to support all our young people in achieving their potential.
Definition of Inclusion:
all children and young people having equal access to educational opportunities and experiences.
In response to legislation, a range of initiatives and funding have tackled elements of the Inclusion agenda but have not combined to provide a cohesive system which effectively promotes and delivers Inclusion.
The Scottish Government should commit to follow up recommendations made by the group.
Despite commitment to the principles of Inclusion and a determination to deliver on the indicators of good practice identified, many schools and school leaders face challenges which make inclusion more difficult to achieve.
Inclusion can be achieved through appropriate:
AHDS believes that funding should be made available to ensure the individual needs of the child or young person remain the priority.
For information, the following is directly quoted from ‘Count Us In – Achieving Inclusion in Scottish Schools’:
“An inclusive approach to education involves;
- Creating an ethos of achievement for all pupils within a climate of high expectations
- Valuing a broad range of talents, abilities and achievements
- Promoting success and self esteem by taking action to remove the barriers
- Countering conscious and unconscious discrimination that may prevent individuals or pupils from particular groups, from thriving in school and
- Actively promoting understanding and positive appreciation of the diversity of individuals and groups within society.
Features of good practice in developing an inclusive ethos include;
· A school ethos that consistently reflected a set of clearly articulated values
· A strong feeling amongst pupils parents, staff and visitors that they were valued
· A clear sense that pupils were known and treated as individuals by staff
· A strong sense of pride in the school on the part of pupils
· Good relations between staff and pupils and amongst pupils
· Expectations of high standards in every aspect of school life based on the principle that only the best will do
· A proactive and positive approach to managing behaviour and discipline based on encouraging self awareness, self respect and cooperation, and focussed on improving the conditions for learning
· A balance between pupils rights and their responsibilities to the school community
· The allocation of the appropriate degree of responsibility to pupils within the school, for their own learning and where appropriate for supporting others
· Concern to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity and to value the contribution that diversity in language, religion, race culture and special education needs can make to the life of the school
· Opportunities for all pupils to experience success and a sense of achievement to develop their self esteem
· Full participation of individuals and specials needs in social as well as curricular activities
· High levels of consultation with pupils and parents on important aspects of school life and on the extent to which the school is meeting its aims.
Features of good practice in leadership and management include;
· A clear vision and strategy for the development of inclusion, pursued effectively through strong leadership from the head teacher and other staff throughout the school.
· An open and accessible management style that sought to involve staff and pupils in decision making
· Good knowledge of individuals on the part of promoted staff
· Effective use of the schools’ staffing and resources to support and extend learning opportunities with a focus on outcomes for children, and innovation and flexibility in the way these are achieved
· Concern to monitor the impact of such innovation on individuals and different groups of pupils
· Use of data on attendance, exclusions, participation in extra- curricular activities and attainment to evaluate progress in inclusion and to identify priorities for further action
· Priorities for the future that were clearly articulated in realistic development planning shared and understood by staff
· Strong belief in building effective partnerships with other agencies which support children and families
· Strong commitment to involving parents and wider community in supporting effective learning and teaching and
· Procedures to ensure the views of parents were sought and acted upon where practicable”
‘Count Us In – Achieving Inclusion in Scottish Schools’: http://www.hmie.gov.uk/documents/publication/cui.html
‘Excellence for All’: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/45_1.pdf