Inclusion snakes and ladders!
For this 50th edition of Inclusion Now we’ve created a timeline of major milestones reflected in the magazine, so here it is – as a game of snakes and ladders!
- Issue 2 Summer 2001. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) becomes law “A turning point – a real boost to inclusion.”
- Issue 4 Summer 2002. Interview with Jackie Downer about her education. “You must hope and hope and dream and dream”.
- Issue 6 Summer 2003. British Sign Language is recognised as an official British language. “This is a milestone achievement for the inclusion of the deaf community.”
- Issue 8 Spring 2004. Primary school found guilty of discrimination against pupil who was excluded from the school Christmas play and other activities because of disability. “This case is a landmark case for families fighting for inclusion”.
- Issue 12 Summer 2005. Right to segregated special education proposed as human right at UN: “Beware….protest and ask the British Government to defend disabled people’s human rights to inclusion.”
- Issue 13 Autumn 2005. Victory at the UN as DPOs and NGOs argue for inclusion and against choice – “Pressure needs to be maintained for inclusion with provision which meets the needs of all learners.”
- Issue 14 Spring 2006. Education and Inspections Bill opens the way for privatisation of the education system – “A major attack on inclusive education.”
- Issue 15 Autumn 2006. A parent of a Disabled child explains why, with hindsight, separate special school was the wrong choice. “We realise now there is no miracle cure. The longer we focus on the impossible the longer we keep our lives and our daughter’s life on hold”.
- Issue 17 Summer 2007. 17-year-old Miro Griffiths witnesses the UK government signing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. “It will change the life chances of disabled people throughout the world. It changed the way the international community looks at disability.”
- Issue 18 Autumn 2007. Heading For Inclusion Summer Conference. “We can not do without changes in the law but we also can not do without people dedicated to making changes in individual children’s lives in school now.”
- Issue 20 Summer 2008. The National Union of Teachers, the largest teaching union, votes for inclusion. “Real inclusion demands a change in the way we learn and teach in our schools.”
- Issue 21 Autumn 2008. The Education and Skills Bill fails to address educational inequality for disabled learners. “Access to inclusive education with all necessary supports must be acknowledged as a fundamental pillar of equality and citizenship.”
- Issue 22 Spring 2009. Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill could lead to less inclusion. “We will be lobbying and campaigning to make sure that disabled students have access to all mainstream education provision.”
- Issue 23 Spring 2009. UK ratifies UN Convention on Rights of Disabled People with reservations. “We are deeply disappointed that the government has failed disabled learners so spectacularly by denying our right to be included.”
- Issue 24 Autumn 2009. Global Conference on Inclusive Education representing 58 countries re-affirms commitment to inclusion. “The world is signed up to inclusive education for all – it’s official!”
- Issue 26 Summer 2010. The Coalition Government propose to reverse the so-called bias in favour of including disabled children in mainstream schools. “The new government seems hell bent on turning back the clock 40 years.”
- Issue 29 Summer 2011. SEN Green paper proposes parental choice, new special school academies and special free schools and breaks up 30-year consensus on moving to a more inclusive approach. “We will need to keep inclusion as one of our goals for a good local school for every child in every area, rather than inequality of choice and privatisation”.
- Issue 31 Spring 2012. Attempt to overturn law on inclusive education fails at Court of Appeal. “This underhand conspiracy to change the law against inclusive education has been seen off”.
- Issue 34 Spring 2013. Figures show that for the first time in years the number of children with SEN attending mainstream schools is dropping as they are increasingly placed in special schools. “We believe inclusive education is under real attack from elitist education policies”.
- Issue 36 Autumn 2013. Revised draft SEN Code of Practice accompanying the Children and Families Bill omits inclusive education guidance. ”Sadly the revised Code and Regulations, like the Bill, will undermine disabled learners’ access to mainstream education”.
- Issue 37 Spring 2014. Professor Gus John, chair of Communities Empowerment Network, criticises education reforms. “Current education reforms are logical given the type of society the government is seeking to build. It is one of rampant individualism, greed, xenophobia, and a shameless attack on the poor and marginalised”.
- Issue 39 Autumn 2014. The International Society for Augmented and Alternative Communication, ISAAC, is accused of flawed methodology in rejecting Facilitated Communication. “This outcome appears to have been contrived to protect the power of professionals and academics while ignoring the rights of communication for disabled people using FC”.
- Issue 40 Spring 2015. ‘Clarified’ guidance on school exclusions makes it easier for headteachers to expel pupils. “Yet another turn of the screw for pupils who are disproportionately excluded from school, particularly black pupils and pupils with SEN”.
- Issue 42 Autumn 2015. A House of Lords select committee is to review the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people. “The Act misses the opportunity to ensure disabled students have an absolute right to mainstream and that the support required to participate in learning is guaranteed.”
- Issue 43 Spring 2016. A new funding formula will lead to devastation of SEND provision and massive cuts in staffing in urban schools. “Schools have not faced cuts of this magnitude in the last 70 years.”
- Issue 45 Autumn 2016. New UN guidelines confirm governments must phase out segregated ‘special’ education under Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. “This closes down much of the wriggle room governments have been hiding behind”.
- Issue 46 Spring 2017. The government launches a review on residential special schools and colleges. “The review fails to ask the fundamental question: do we need these special schools and colleges if there is great local inclusive provision?”.
- Issue 47 Summer 2017. Allfie gives evidence to the UN on slow progress on disability rights. “The British government since 2010 has moved backward against nearly every article in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including Article 24: The Right to Inclusive Education.”
- Issue 48 Autumn 2017. The UN expresses deep concerns about the UK government’s failure to implement the rights of disabled people and says the approach has caused a ‘human catastrophe’. “We discover that the world has been listening and, better than that, has seen through the nonsense spouted by this government in the name of austerity and greater autonomy for education providers”.
- Issue 49 Spring 2018. The government review of residential special schools and colleges upholds the view that such settings will be in the ‘best interests’ of some disabled children. “Why are Lenehan & Geraghty not shouting from the rooftops that the ongoing institutionalisation of disabled children because of failings by the state is nothing short of a national disgrace?”
Timeline by Belinda Shaw