The Absurdity of ‘Removing the Bias Towards Inclusion’
For all inclusionists, the cornerstone aim of the Government’s SEN policy – removing the bias towards inclusive education – is absurd. A short word-play with the definition of inclusion soon shows where this absurdity lies.
There are several meanings embedded in the concept of inclusion – all of them important and, once named, none of them are really open to much serious debate about their place as core values in a civilised society. Let’s look at a few of the meanings that the concept of inclusion carries:
BELONGING – to be included means to feel a sense of belonging, to be part of something, to know and be known by others. Its opposite is to feel a sense of isolation, to be lonely – to be excluded.
ACCEPTANCE – to be included means to feel a sense of acceptance of who you are just as you are, without this being conditional on you changing in some way. The opposite is to feel a sense of rejection, to be disapproved of – to be excluded.
ACCOMMODATED – to be included means that reasonable and necessary accommodations or adjustments are made such that you are able to participate in whatever is happening for others around you. The opposite is to be denied opportunities to participate, to be required to fit in or nothing – to be excluded
Now let’s apply those 3 meanings above to the cornerstone aim of our Government’s SEN Policy.
This, then, variously becomes:
“to remove the bias towards belonging”
or, even more chillingly –
“to remove the bias towards acceptance”
and, even harder for a Government to sell –
“ to remove the bias towards making the necessary accommodations and adjustments that enable participation”
If the above is what they mean by removing ‘the bias towards inclusion’ then the Coalition should say so.
If not – it’s back to the drawing board with yet another badly thought through policy and time again to listen.