Richard Rieser introduces this edition of Inclusion Now.
In this issue, we cover inclusion from many angles and the articles reaffirm our support and energy in the struggle for our human right to inclusive education. The long hand of segregation of disabled children continues to subvert inclusion, as ably demonstrated in contradictory policy initiatives and their impact in England.
Despite these barriers, we show renewed efforts in mainstreaming and inclusion; the article on Jayne Grant and her work with West Harrow Primary; Lesley Gearing’s hopeful yet sad account of her daughter Ava’s inclusion in Nottinghamshire and her short life; the commitment and many layered good practices at Seven Sisters Primary which create the conditions for learning for all and through therapeutic and cognitive interventions compensate for multiple deprivations which prevent a readiness to learn.
Further afield, Tara Flood reports her initial findings from Finland and New Brunswick (NB), Canada. In Finland, staff are trusted, highly trained and do not require punitive OFSTED inspections to achieve consistently high results and schools suffused with the joy of learning, although this can be held back by complacency and negative attitudes. In NB, after 30 years of inclusion much good practice is in place; whilst not perfect, the view remains that it is the right thing to do and that whole school approaches need developing to normalise inclusion.
The disgraceful saga of Pat’s off-rolling and unlawful practice in Manchester shows the need for eternal vigilance to give disabled young people their right to inclusion in the current obstacle-laden environment.