Special Teaching in Higher Education: Successful Strategies for Access and Inclusion

By Stuart Powell | Go to book overview

2

From exclusion to inclusion: some lessons from abroad

Jeremy Cooper


Introduction

In the inclusive classroom, the student with a significant disability, regardless of the degree or nature of that disability, is a welcomed and valued member. The student is taught by the regular classroom teacher, who is supported as needed; follows the regular curriculum, with modification and adaptation; makes friends; and contributes to the learning of the entire class (Uditsky, 1993:79). There are currently a number of significant changes taking place in the wider environment in the United Kingdom that should make it easier for students with disabilities to enter the inclusive classroom of higher education on a level playing field with their non-disabled peers, on terms approaching equality.

Since 2 October 2000, the European Convention on Human Rights has been incorporated directly into United Kingdom law, by virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998. This means that any 'public authority' (which includes higher education institutions) that breaches a Convention Right can be held directly accountable in the courts or tribunals of the United Kingdom. One of the key Convention Rights relates to education, and states that, 'No person shall be denied the right to education.' 1 There is a strengthening body of opinion that holds the belief that for a student with a disability, the only true meaning of the word 'education' is 'inclusive education'. For, as the Supreme Court of the United States eloquently

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