Richard Rieser, World of Inclusion, introduces this edition of Inclusion Now.
This issue is jammed with examples of the injustices towards Disabled children, Young people and their families caused by the ideology of the Government towards education. There have been and are funding gaps, though the Chancellor has shown he can print money when needed for businesses and furlough.
We see the spending of over a billion to set up more segregated provision which is the end point of a SEND system that is broken. Several contributors point to the aspirations of the Children and Families Act 2014, family focussed choice and the reality of a mainstream system that has narrowed its curriculum, its tolerance of difference and increased exclusion of Disabled children to meet crude league table targets, powered by increasing competition between privatised Multi Academy Trusts.
Yet there is hope in these pages. Hope that a young woman with Learning Difficulties can challenge discrimination, win at a Tribunal and maintain her ambition, then switching schools to get to her Dream of University. The fact that all the different Global Disability organisations have agreed on what they mean by Inclusive Education, albeit not all of us would agree with some of the detail. Such unity has made it possible for UNESCO and Governments to press ahead with implementing Inclusive Education.
There is ample evidence that parents and teachers are fighting the cracks of inequality and discrimination in our Education system, opened up by Covid-19 and that a real commitment to ‘Build Back Better’ is shown in Joe Whittaker’s blue sky thinking of opening up our education infrastructure to bring about inclusive, non-segregated life-long learning for all.
We need to keep our faith in Inclusive Education and organise to force the Government to back down from its damaging ideology. Every family can be won to this position.
Richard Rieser, World of Inclusion