Inclusion Now 54

Tara’s Charter for Change

Following her travels in Finland and Canada, ALLFIE’s former Director, Tara Flood, sets out the changes required to create a fully inclusive education system.

My first article for Inclusion Now about my visits to Finland and New Brunswick, Canada focused on some amazing practice I saw in schools, as well as challenges for education in both countries. In this second article I talk about my Charter for Change based on learnings from my trips. Why a Charter for Change? Because in my view the time for tweaking around the edges of what is a fundamentally broken education system in England is over. The current system is based on the requirements of an industrial past where the job of schools was to create a workforce ready for large scale industry. The view was that Disabled people didn’t fit that model and there was no value in giving us an education so we were hidden away at home or in institutions.

In the 21st century a very different education system is required, one which is aligned with inclusivity and human rights and supports and encourages creativity, flexibility and personal and collective resilience. 21st century pupils and students need the skills and knowledge to work collaboratively in diverse and inclusive workplaces, as well as participate in multicultural communities. There must be a fundamental shift in how education is understood, its purpose and how it practically supports teaching staff to be teachers of all children – and how it supports and facilitates the learning of all pupils and students.

The charter sets out the changes required to create a fully inclusive education system. I want it to start a revolution in education – a shift from singling out certain pupils and students for ”special” segregated services to laying the foundations of a truly inclusive education system. I hope ALLFIE is able to use my report in its vital campaigning work and though I am no longer ALLFIE’s Director, inclusive education is in my DNA so I will continue to be a huge supporter and ally!

Tara Flood

Charter for change

1: Legal and regulatory frameworks that genuinely support the development of a fully inclusive education system:

  • Segregation and exclusion of ANY pupil or student is incompatible with a human rights approach
  • The inspection framework moves from scrutiny to evaluation and support of inclusive education practice
  • Appeals and accountability mechanisms must support inclusion
  • UK law must comply with UNCRPD Article 24

2: A whole school approach to inclusion:

  • All teachers should be teachers of all pupils and students
  • A right to a broad and balanced holistic and creative curriculum that is flexible and citizen-focused
  • Inclusion-focused continuing professional development
  • Student-led assessments
  • Access to a national database of good inclusive education practice
  • Training resources and strategies for teachers that focus on behaviour as communication and relationship building

3: Build parental confidence and demand for inclusion:

  • Parents and families have access to good, timely information about benefits of inclusion
  • Parents and families are supported to become allies to their young people
  • Community support for families is based on independent living principles and brings together separate budgets
  • Support for learning assessments takes a Social Model of Disability approach
  • Advocacy support available to challenge bad practice

4: Support and funding for advocacy organisations:

  • Strategic funding for Disabled People’s Organisations to be the lead advocates for inclusion
  • UNCPRD focused empowerment programmes for ALL young people
  • Parent-led organisations encouraged to become allied to DPOs
  • Advocacy organisations seen as partners in the development of inclusive education practice

5: Resourcing inclusion:

  • A national network of inclusion leaders in education to share good practice
  • Incentivise collaboration between teachers, schools and communities
  • Disinvest from segregated education provision to provide additional capacity-building resources for mainstream
  • School funding formula incentivises inclusive education.

Tara’s full report is at