Appropriate learning and a positive experience mean that it is now very possible to offer totally inclusive schools.

Placing particular attention on improving attainment and progress of pupils who face particular challenges in their learning journey means they can enjoy the same success as other students.

Being able to respond effectively to the diverse needs of pupils in the care of the teachers and to show that ‘every child matters’ means providing the following inclusive elements:

  • School environment
  • Culture
  • Curriculum
  • School resources

Placing particular attention on improving attainment and progress of pupils who face particular challenges in their learning journey means they can enjoy the same success as other students.

There’s the possibility that any child may need extra support at some point whilst at school and staff such as a dedicated Pastoral team will be the backbone of all inclusive support.

Environment

When pupils feel unsafe, whether it be physically or socially and it is due to their inclusion needs, school can become an environment for fear and learning can deteriorate.

An inclusive environment will look to create positive methods of removing any negative environmental issues. These can often include bullying and teasing of those who are in inclusion and to stop this requires a whole school involvement plus support and awareness of all parents.

Measures can be taken at school level, class level and individual level to promote positive environments and to work within each level to reduce and eliminate problems such as bullying through increased supervision, classroom activities and discussions with individual pupils and their parents if they are deemed the centre of the problem.

Culture

A culture of equality is vital for every school which wants to support those in inclusion.

The creation of a culture which embraces inclusivity goes past holding classes on equality, offering diversity training to staff or installing ramps. It’s about a complete shift in the attitudes of all, combined with the implementation of policies and procedures to reinforce inclusive behaviour. An inclusive culture is about actions rather than just words.

Curriculum

Staff support will help every pupil access the whole curriculum. With this in mind, schools should look to implement teaching tools for support such as flexible pacing and grouping, the employing of literacy specialists, individual tutoring and that the outcome is that a supportive environment is created which allows those in inclusion to reach their desired objectives across the curriculum.

School resources

Education in the past often only offered segregation as a resource for those pupils with inclusion needs. This model of schooling deprived pupils of interaction with their peers as well as full access to the curriculum.

It also meant duplication of systems and resources which with an inclusive culture and environment are removed. An inclusive education with as little segregation as possible means that the resources of the school can be used far more efficiently with the maximum availability of general and specialist staff as well as resource materials being provided equally for all.

A school which takes the journey to being fully inclusive will take time but at the end of the day, the result will be a strong sense of community which benefits all and enhances the support mechanisms for those who are in inclusion.

It must always be remembered that the term ‘inclusion’ does not mean simply placing a child with specific needs in a mainstream class. The process has to include fundamental changes in the way the school as a whole supports and addresses the absolutely individual requirements of every pupil.