ALLFIE’s departing Communications Officer reflects on this issue and on the current state of the movement for inclusive education.
So this is my last issue of Inclusion Now as its editor! After four years I’m taking the battle for inclusion into the field of technology, but I won’t forget my years as ALLFIE’s Communications Officer.
What have the last four years brought us? Well although the situation for disabled children and young people in schools is pretty dire, both the movement for inclusion and ALLFIE itself are in a stronger position than they were when I arrived. The campaign has been reinvigorated by a huge influx of families up in arms about the lack of support their children are receiving in school – see the article from a Communities Empowerment Network (CEN) advocate on page 6.
ALLFIE’s recent 38 Degrees petition called for an end to disabled children being forced out of mainstream schools because of cuts. The fact that it received a massive 86,000 signatures demonstrates that this message is now striking a chord. Parent power is becoming a real force to be reckoned with. Not only that, people are increasingly recognising that this is an equality and human rights issue and that children deserve full inclusion from nursery through to college and into adult life.
CEN’s work focuses not just on SEN/disability but also on race and other equality issues, and on page 16 Zahra Bei looks at the intersection of these factors in more detail. And on page 8 Richard Rieser looks at progress (or lack of it) on the Sustainable Development Goals, and rightly points out that inclusive education is one of the keys to the planet’s future sustainability.
The fearless, rights based campaigning approach reflected in the pages of Inclusion Now is one that I won’t forget. Nor will I forget the consistency with which ALLFIE’s work is based on the social model of disability, or the power of working for an organisation led by disabled people. I hope Inclusion Now and its generous sponsors, Inclusive Solutions and World of Inclusion continue to go from strength to strength.