Strategies to Promote Inclusive Practice

Strategies to Promote Inclusive Practice

Strategies to Promote Inclusive Practice

Strategies to Promote Inclusive Practice

Synopsis

This book considers current issues in the development of policies to promote inclusive education for pupils with special educational needs. By examining issues from the perspective of individual pupils, schools, and local education authorities, it raises critical commentary on the ways forward for a co-ordinated approach to inclusion. Strategies to Promote Inclusive Practice draws upon the experience and expertise of teachers, policy makers, and researchers, who explore the many factors which need to be addressed in the development of a more inclusive education system. The authors explore the link between theoretical perspectives and the production of policy, as well as the potential for translating this into good classroom practice. They provide examples of approaches which have proved successful in enabling pupils to become better equipped to address the needs of a wide range of pupils. In considering the impact of recent policy, legislation, and research, the authors suggest that several models of inclusion may be necessary in order to become an inclusive education system. This book will be of interest to students, teachers, policy makers, and researchers, who are concerned to advance the debate on inclusion towards a more pragmatic approach to providing for all pupils with special needs. It is a companion text to Promoting Inclusive Practice edited by Christine Tilstone, Lani Florian and Richard Rose (RoutledgeFalmer, 1998), which was the joint winner of the 1999 TES/NASEN Academic Book Award.

Excerpt

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When the previous publication, Promoting Inclusive Practice, went to press the new Government had just issued the landmark 1997 Green Paper 'Excellence for All Children - Meeting Special Educational Needs'. Since that time the Government has been actively promoting an agenda of inclusion and participation for pupils with special educational needs in mainstream education. This agenda of inclusion has not been limited to school placement but extends to the curriculum. Inclusion is an important aspect of the call for high standards for all learners.

The level of government activism in developing national SEN policy has been extraordinary. Following the Green Paper, the Government issued a 'Programme for Action' in 1998. In 1999 the Disability Rights Task Force issued a report calling for the right to a place in a mainstream school for all children, including those with statements of special educational needs. From January 2002 new anti-discrimination legislation, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA), marks another step on delivering this promise.

There can be no doubt we have entered a new era in providing for children with special educational needs. In 1970 the [Handicapped Children] Education Act transferred responsibility for so-called ineducable children from local health to education authorities and in so doing firmly established the principle of education for all. The 1981 Education Act established the principle that mainstream education was the preferred option for delivering that provision. Today SENDA makes it unlawful to discriminate against pupils on the basis of their disability and thereby makes real the right to education in mainstream schools for all pupils who desire it. This marks what Phillippa Russell, Director of the Council for Disabled Children and a member of the Disability Rights Commission, has called a major sea change in provision. No longer is the question shall we include? but rather how might we include all who choose a mainstream school place?

New statutory guidance from the Government (DfES, 2001) sets out the principles of an inclusive education service as follows:

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