January 2020 Briefing: Day of Action, new Government plans and Manifesto
The new year brings opportunities for our supporters to get involved in our work. As we prepare for our Day of Action on 23rd January, ALLFIE urges you to help us engage the new Government and MPs to get inclusive education on the agenda.
Happy New Year and decade!
ALLFIE began the new decade and year with a range of campaign activities to build political support for inclusive education, which we need our friends to help us undertake.
We look forward to working together on these to develop a stronger voice for inclusive education. We need to send this Government a clear message – let’s get inclusive education done together, with deadlines. If the Government is a one nation party that claims to support everyone, then we must demand ONE fully inclusive education system that welcomes all.
We need you to take action for inclusive education now! This briefing explains what you can do to support our current campaigns:
- ALLFIE’s Day of Action for Inclusive Education
- Support ALLFIE’s Manifesto
- The Government’s plan for education and writing to new MPs
1. ALLFIE’s Day of Action for Inclusive Education
Date: Thursday 23 January 2020
11.30 Handing our petition to 10 Downing Street: Don’t shut Disabled people out of mainstream education Meet: Tesco next to Westminster Station (map).
13.30 Launch event for ALLFIE’s ground-breaking project report: Accessibility Plans as Effective Tools for Inclusion in Schools: Are They Working? Location: Supreme Court, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD
16.00 Delivering ALLFIE’s letter to the Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson MP requesting a meeting to develop a plan for implementing recommendations of the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee’s report around Article 24. Meet: Supreme Court, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD
What we want you to do
- Attend one or all parts of the event. The more of us there are, the louder our voices can be heard by Boris Johnson and his Government- feel free to make and bring your own banners to the gates of Downing Street. Please let us know in advance if you are attending.
- If you are unable to attend any events, please use social media to get your voice heard- share ALLFIE’s social media posts on Twitter and Facebook alongside the reason you support inclusive education. Feel free to share photos, artwork, music or anything else on the benefits of inclusive education. Tags:
2. Support ALLFIE’s Manifesto
ALLFIE ended 2019 with the publication of our revised manifesto for inclusive education, boldly setting out what needs to change to make inclusive education a reality.
Whilst we are delighted to have over 100 supporting organisations, we are aiming to increase and broaden our supporter base. So, if you or your organisation have not pressed that ‘sign our manifesto button’ then please do so here. We need to show politicians that there is a swell of support for disabled pupils’ human rights to inclusive education coming from all directions, including education providers, disabled people, education professionals, parents, unions and other allies.
What we want you to do
- Sign, support and share
3. The Government’s plans around education
In the Queen’s speech, the Government said that a great education is fundamental to the success of children, their families and our communities, as well as the success of our country. Whilst we all know that a great education system can only be an inclusive one, the Government has increasingly pushed for more segregated education with dire outcomes for everyone. Over the past decade, the DfE’s statistics have reported an increase in the percentage of disabled pupils excluded from mainstream schools and being placed in special schools. The 5% increase in segregated education enrolments do not comprehensively reflect the dire picture of disabled pupils’ experiences. Disabled pupils are six times more likely than their non-disabled peers to be excluded from education. These exclusion figures do not include internal exclusions (i.e. isolation booths), pupils being placed on segregated courses or pupils spending most of their time in SEND units whilst being enrolled in a mainstream school or college.
There is growing evidence that increased segregation is not only harmful to individuals but their families as well as the wider communities, as set out in a technical report and study by the Children’s Commissioner.
The government’s latest destinations data, focusing on pupils finishing their GCSEs, shows that nearly half (45 per cent) of young people leaving PRUs were not in education, employment, or training six months after the end of their compulsory schooling, compared to only 6 per cent of students leaving mainstream schools, and 11 per cent leaving special schools. Furthermore, 50 per cent of disabled young people with learning difficulties entering the criminal justice system said they had attended a special school at some point in their education, and similar numbers had been excluded from school.
Just last year, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime reported the dangers of grouping together children (the majority of which will have SEND) educated outside mainstream education. Such children are more likely to be exposed to gang culture and violence, putting them on the pipeline from segregated education to prison-type institutions. Similarly, children outside mainstream education are increasingly being detained in psychiatric hospitals and Assessment and Treatment Units. The number of children in these settings has more than doubled from 110 in March 2015 to 255 in July 2019.
Clearly, the Government is not listening to the evidence of the harm that children and young people experience when excluded or placed in segregated education or in any other form of institutionalised settings, as stated in a series of critical reports about SEND published by the National Audit Office’s Education Select Committee, as well as the Local Government Association, Department for Education, Association of School and College Leaders and National Association of Head Teachers. We can expect similar evidence of the broken and inhumane SEND system being reported in the Government’s major review into support for children with special educational needs once published.
What we need in the next decade is for the SEND system to be fixed and this can only be achieved through co-production with disabled people, parents and allies working together to develop a fully inclusive education system, as proposed by the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee. This Government cannot get out of its UNCRPD obligations, including promoting disabled students’ human rights to inclusive education under Article 24.
New Politicians Sign-up
MPs elected for the first time will want to quickly prove they represent disabled constituents and support an inclusive education.
Your support is urgently required as the Department for Education are reporting increasing percentages of disabled children being excluded or entering into segregated education and inpatient settings, which we know creates harm to themselves and our communities. Disabled children and young people educated outside of the mainstream education system are substantially less likely to be engaged in employment or training later in life. These young people are at substantial risk of being exposed to grooming and exploitation by criminal gangs and entering into the criminal justice system.
What we want you to do
- Write to your local MP. A sample letter is below:
I am writing for your support of ALLFIE’s inclusive education manifesto. We believe disabled people have the right to:
- An inclusive education supported by human rights laws.
- A coordinated education, health and social care system.
- An inclusive learning environment.
- An inclusive curriculum.
- An inclusive assessment system.
- An education workforce committed to inclusive education practice.
I believe inclusive education is important because ……..
In solidarity, Simone Aspis
ALLFIE’s Campaigns & Policy Coordinator | email@example.com | 0207 737 6030
Department for Education. (2019). Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in England. Retrieved from https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Support-for-pupils-with-special-education-needs.pdf
House of Commons Education Committee. (2019). Special educational needs and disabilities: First Report of Session 2019. Retrieved from https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201919/cmselect/cmeduc/20/20.pdf
Local Government Association. (2018). Have we reached a ‘tipping point’? Trends in spending for children and young people with SEND in England. Retrieved from https://www.local.gov.uk/have-we-reached-tipping-point-trends-spending-children-and-young-people-send-england
Department for Education. (2019). Funding for SEND and those who need AP: Call for evidence. Retrieved from https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/funding-for-send-and-those-who-need-ap-call-for-ev/
NAHT. (2019). Empty promises – the crisis in supporting children with SEND. Retrieved from https://www.naht.org.uk/news-and-opinion/news/funding-news/empty-promises-the-crisis-in-supporting-children-with-send/
Learning Disability Services Monthly Statistics AT: July 2019 MHSDS: May 2019 Reference Data Tables, Table 2.
#ALLFIE's Campaigns and Policy Coordinator stresses the importance of helping our petition reach 100,000 signatures: "the louder our voice the harder it is for the Government to ignore us" https://t.co/iwvzbdu0NK #DisabilityRights #inclusive #education @SFAactive pic.twitter.com/tvIJO6XTZC
— ALLFIE (@ALLFIEUK) January 17, 2020