Teachers & Other Education Professionals
“Sophia was the first child with Down’s Syndrome to come to [this] School. She came because her Mum wanted her to. We focussed on what she was good at which was abstract Art. She got a starred grade in GCSE and A grade at A level. She is now at University doing an HND in fine art and printmaking.” Teacher
Education professionals want to do the best by all their students, disabled and non-disabled, but the system doesn’t always let them.
We know all Disabled learners can be successfully included in mainstream, but underfunding makes it difficult for schools to fully support them. The environment of competition and focus on academic results can mean children who aren’t going to achieve good exam results are not welcome in some schools. Current educational policies make it hard for teachers who believe in inclusion to put it into practice.
Recent changes to the OFSTED inspections regime have added to the pressure on teachers to deliver year on year academic progress across the pupil population or suffer the consequences of being labelled as a “coasting” school. OFSTED now gives little attention to the work schools do to welcome and support a diversity of pupils and students.
In addition, education students are often given little training in how to include Disabled pupils and students. The language of “special educational needs” makes it appear to be a specialist area, someone else’s problem, not core knowledge for all teachers.
But inclusive education isn’t something governments can opt out of, it’s a human right. Inclusion in mainstream society from early years onwards is essential for Disabled people to have a chance of lifelong equality and the kind of strong social networks that will support them in later life and that many non-disabled people take for granted. It’s essential for non-disabled children to grow up with Disabled children, to be friends and understand that they are part of society.
We campaign for all schools, colleges and universities to have the training and support staff they need to welcome and support the inclusion of all Disabled learners. We provide resources for those pushing forward the inclusion agenda, and we campaign against government policies and legislation which undermine inclusion. Join us.