Arguments for inclusive education are well documented and rest on notions of equality and human rights. Much more than a policy requirement, inclusion is founded upon a moral position which values and respects every individual and which welcomes diversity as a rich learning resource. At a time when the educational landscape is rapidly changing, with schools having to provide for learners of increasingly diverse abilities and family, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, respect and equal commitment to all learners seem more important than ever.
The Index for Inclusion, written by Tony Booth and Mel Ainscow, is a major publication from CSIE to help guide schools through a process of inclusive school development. The Index For Inclusion summarises some of the ideas which make up the view of inclusion within the Index as follows:
Inclusion in education involves:
- Valuing all students and staff equally.
- Increasing the participation of students in, and reducing their exclusion from, the cultures, curricula and communities of local schools.
- Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools so that they respond to the diversity of students in the locality.
- Reducing barriers to learning and participation for all students, not only those with impairments or those who are categorised as `having special educational needs’.
- Learning from attempts to overcome barriers to the access and participation of particular students to make changes for the benefit of students more widely.
- Viewing the difference between students as resources to support learning, rather than as problems to be overcome.
- Acknowledging the right of students to an education in their locality.
- Improving schools for staff as well as for students.
- Emphasising the role of schools in building community and developing values, as well as in increasing achievement.
- Fostering mutually sustaining relationships between schools and communities.
- Recognising that inclusion in education is one aspect of inclusion in society.
Because the world is changing, because moral values are being re-examined as stereotypical thinking is increasingly exposed, because national and international guidance advocates inclusion and, quite simply, because any alternative seems unacceptable, if not morally flawed:
- Valuing some people more than others is unethical.
- Maintaining barriers to some students’ participation in the cultures, curricula and communities of local schools is unacceptable.
- Preserving school cultures, policies and practices that are non-responsive to the diversity of learners perpetuates inequalities.
- Thinking that inclusion mostly concerns disabled learners is misleading.
- Thinking that school changes made for some will not benefit others is short-sighted.
- Viewing differences between students as problems to be overcome is disrespectful and limits learning opportunities.
- Segregated schooling for disabled learners violates their basic human right to education without discrimination.
- Improving schools only for students is disrespectful to all other stakeholders.
- Identifying academic achievement as the main aim of schooling detracts from the importance of personal and moral development.
- Isolating schools and local communities from one another deprives everyone of enriching experiences.
- Perceiving inclusion in education as a separate issue from inclusion in society is illogical.
Belmayne Educate Together strives to provide a Comfortable and Inclusive learning environment for all its pupils.
- We at Belmayne E.T.N.S understand that every pupil is unique and, therefore, has his/her own learning style.
- We make sure that every pupil feels welcome and is learning.
- We understand that all children, including pupils with and without disabilities, English language learners, those with special talents learn better if teaching is designed to their abilities and interests.
- We believe that collaboration with families is a great way of improving the overall education provided to the pupils.
- We hold high expectations for pupil success.