Alliance for Inclusive Education Manifesto
ALLFIE has now published its revised inclusive education manifesto, reflecting the core changes in legislation, context and the Government at large. Our manifesto is set in the context of increased state funded segregation, greater challenges faced by education providers and less flexibility within the education system.
Disabled pupils’ and students human right to inclusive education is at the heart of our demands, under Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities alongside the transition from a segregated to inclusive education system.
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
Our revised manifesto focuses on the challenges in our education system faced by disabled people, education providers and society as a whole. The challenges of education include being a vehicle for social cohesion whilst preparing students for the future workplace, accountability and measuring success, and the inclusion of children with a broader range of impairments, support and access needs. All whilst providers are expected to do more with fewer resources.
Further, we have adopted a more holistic view of inclusive education that doesn’t focus only on what support disabled people require to flourish in mainstream education. We have also considered whether closing segregated education provision is sufficient, or whether we need to spell out how to achieve this goal. During turbulent times, parents are worried about their children receiving no education, when mainstream providers still lack the short-term capacity to be inclusive of all. We have focused on special schools becoming community resource hubs where mainstream education providers can go for specific advice, equipment and resources to support their inclusive education practices. We would like to develop this further, so please do contact us with any specific ideas.
We worked with our trustee board to develop our manifesto. We decided ALLFIE’s six manifesto demands remain relevant, however we have updated the content to reflect both positive factors and shortcomings of current legislation and policy, and connecting thinking between education, health and care services.
We have moved our focus from an individualistic to a systematic approach to developing and promoting inclusive education practice. We have focused on changes in laws and systems around education, health and care and transport services, building design, qualification assessments and workforce development that would support inclusive education practice. Our demands are therefore focused on what needs to change in education, health and care organisational support in order to implement an inclusive education system.
We intend to increase our outreach so that our manifesto is not only supported by our allies working in the area of inclusive education practice. We are making headway; the SEND Community Alliance, a coalition of parent campaign groups including Special Needs Jungle and SEN Action, have incorporated a specific demand around inclusive education. We are keen in building more on what we have in common rather than what divides us.
We are also asking mainstream education and children’s campaigns and organisations to support our manifesto. We are pleased to include the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Comprehensive Future and the Anti-Academies Alliance amongst mainstream education campaign groups pledging their support for ALLFIE’s inclusive education manifesto for the first time.
We are keen to build on our success so if you or your organisation has not yet pledged its support, please do so here: www.allfie.org.uk/support-us/sign-the-allfie-manifesto/
Campaigns and Policy Co-ordinator www.allfie.org.uk