By Joe Whittaker ALLFIE Trustee and editorial board member
Welcome to Inclusion Now 65, with spring inclusive education news. This edition is dedicated to Joe Whittaker, ALLFIE Trustee and activist. We hope you enjoy Joe’s contributions and presence throughout the magazine including his editorial (page 2), opening article (page 5), and the Legal Question he posed (page 23). Richard Rieser has also included a moving tribute to Joe (page 3), highlighting his crucial work in the Disabled People’s Movement from the 80s onwards.
Grace is the driver for this editorial – her experiences in local mainstream school (page 13), illustrate what inclusive education should never be. The determination of Grace’s mum exposes, ignorance, arrogance, dishonesty, deception and cruelty of senior professionals, in Grace’s situation culminating in the absolute pathetic spiteful action of the headteacher, having the symbol for the Disabled parking place painted over so she could use the space herself. This article shows the power of friendships and allies to assist against professional dogma – I had to read twice to comprehend the significance of the exhaustive energy some parents are forced to take to ensure the rights of their child to go to their local school.
Thankfully, as a refreshing contrast (page 9), Richard Rieser reports back on a visit to Pyrcroft Grange Primary School in Surrey, with the mission:
“If you can dream it, you will believe it; if you believe it, you work for it, you will achieve it”
This inclusive school recognises the value of working in partnership with each child and their family, alongside a team of teachers committed to a fully inclusive approach with ALL students, irrespective of the level attached to the student.
On page 15 Linda Jordon provides us with a comprehensive account of the past fifty years in the UK and the ideological ‘merry go round’ Disabled children have been subjected to for political interests. Solid evidence from the government’s own research shows that, where students are properly supported, given a welcome in a place in their school and provided the opportunity to grow in relationships – we know inclusion works.
‘The rise and fall of Disabled children’s rights in the past 10 years’ (page 5), is a dispiriting account of the systematic and illegal methods used by professionals and local and national governments to undermine inclusion and human rights.
On page 21, Richard Rieser reviews two important books from an international campaigner and much valued thinker, Micheline Mason, Founder of the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE).