Inclusion Now 59


Welcome to the summer Inclusion Now magazine. As ever, these pages are filled with informative and thought-provoking news items about inclusive education.

Opening the summer issue, film-maker Steve McQueen is interviewed by ALLFIE’s Disabled Black Lives Matter group, calling out injustice within our education system, and at the intersection of disability and race. Steve’s recent BBC Small Axe film, ‘Education’, depicts one family’s struggles to secure a good education for their son, Kingsley, whose school have already marked him out as a failure. In the 1970s, the British school system failed a generation of Black students, with the practice of segregation to “educationally subnormal” schools (ESN). While the formal system was largely abolished by the time McQueen was Kingsley’s age, he was similarly channelled into a lower stream at secondary school, with drastically reduced expectations. As DBLM discover, ‘Education’ is the most autobiographical film in the Small Axe anthology, and Kingsley’s experiences reflect his own: “My own Dyslexia was a big issue and, in a way, making Education was a way of dealing with what happened to me… how I overcame certain things.”

It’s great to see a commitment to inclusion from high profile people, including politicians. From inside Parliament we hear from Olivia Blake MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on SEND. Richard Rieser discovers how her lived experience, as a Disabled person, has impacted on her political career (page 13).

COVID-19 remains a key theme in Disabled Young people’s lives. On page 10, Kadijah Adam updates Michelle Daley on her return to school, with some strong messages for the government. Prominent Young Deaf and Disabled person’s campaigner, Daniel Jillings, explains BSL accessibility during lockdown (page 12). Armineh Soorenian brings news of ‘Our Voice’, ALLFIE’s national COVID-19 participation project, to amplify Young people’s voices (page 8).

ALLFIE’s March International Women’s Day event, with Inclusion London, Sisters and Frida and guests, was hearteningly positive. A large global audience attended the online webinar, which addressed issues for Disabled Women, “at the frontline of discrimination and inequality, and the multiple intersections of race, class, gender, and disability”. A link to the highlights reel is on page 16, where Yewande Omoniyi-Akintelu reports back.

In solidarity,

Catherine Bebbington