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Are you getting the most out of students in inclusion units?

According to the Department for Education, over half of secondary schools use internal inclusion units.

An inclusion unit is a specific resource which ensures parity of opportunity for all by allowing teachers to teach, students to learn, and those learning with additional needs to be supported. According to the Welsh Government it should not be used as a sin bin, dumping ground or holding cell.

Inclusion units provide schools with an opportunity to address pupils’ individual needs. But are they effective in doing so? This blog post explains.

What is an inclusion unit?

According to the Government of Wales:

It takes an innovative, supportive and intervening centre staffed by skilled individuals who have the training and personal mindset to interact effectively and positively with the most vulnerable and challenging cohorts. An inclusion unit must be fully integrated, using the same structures as mainstream, demonstrating the same expectations and standards as the rest of the school. 

If used effectively, inclusion units provide schools with an opportunity to meet the following aims:

  • Reduce exclusion
  • Improve attendance
  • Raise attainment
  • Empower and enable vulnerable students
  • Improve staff and student morale
  • Modify individuals’ behaviours
  • Support learning
  • Support whole school behavioural policy
  • Support whole school improvement
  • Support emotional wellbeing
  • Support integration and reintegration of pupils into school

How can you get the most out of students in inclusion units?

Inclusion units may not be quick fixes.

According to the Welsh Government, school self assessment should identify school priorities. The aims and atmosphere of an inclusion centre should be central to the school’s principles. Inclusion centres can be ideal, if the need for it is based on the following aims:

  • Raising student attainment
  • Addressing ESTYN wellbeing requirements
  • Reduce exclusion
  • Improve inclusion
  • Improve behaviour 
  • Improve attendance

Once a need has been identified, structures must be created with long term objectives. This helps to build sustainable success. Senior Leaders therefore need to consider:

  • Financial, staffing and change capacity
  • Target setting and evaluation strategies
  • Working practices (policies, line management, referral criteria, intervention packages, exit strategies, reintervention strategies)

What should your inclusion room look like?

Leaders should take into account classroom sizes, light, ventilation, whether it is a calm environment, where it is located, telephone access and facilities in the room. These should create a positive learning environment in order to improve the pupil.

The personality of the staff is crucial, in order to allow individual units to succeed. People in inclusion units should be:

  • Flexible
  • Caring
  • Supportive
  • A visionary
  • Good communicator

And have experience of boundaries and expectations.

Students in inclusion units: removing barriers to learning

Inclusion units are designed to remove barriers to learning. A successful inclusion unit should address challenging targets which are consistent with the rest of the school. These may be associated with attendance, behaviour and exclusions.

You should also be able to measure the individual impact on students, which may include self-esteem, motivation to learn, emotions, conduct, behaviour and self-awareness.

Working practices of inclusion units

The Welsh Government state:

For the smooth running and effectiveness of the unit it is advisable that the following are in place before it is launched:

  • Clear policy and procedure for use linked closely with whole school policy
  • Referral criteria
  • Intervention packages
  • Exit strategies
  • Reintegration structures
  • Line management structures

Clear policies and strong exit strategies means a pupil progressing effectively through the inclusion unit assessed, monitored, and achieve their aims in the setting.

Communication is an essential skill within this environment.

Students in inclusion units: a summary of how it should work

This process means you have:

  • A structure to establish an inclusion unit
  • An opportunity to work in collaboration with the rest of the school
  • And a method to ensure the inclusion unit is measured, monitored and evaluated

What makes an inclusion unit work?

However, according to the Department for Education, not many schools can provide evidence that inclusion units actually work.

Research found that many alternative provision providers are worried that schools are incentivised to permanent exclude pupils instead.

How can EDClass help?

EDClass provides support for students requiring support in inclusion units.

Our online provision breaks down barriers to learning, and produces an easy to learn and understand platform for students to make progress learning and improve their behaviour. Our platform has a proven track record of re-engaging pupils in education and improving attainment.

Access to 11,000+ lessons means students can improve their knowledge up to KS4. A tailored learning pathway means the system can be structured in order to meet individual student’s needs. Behaviour support lessons are also available.

A sophisticated tracking system means you can monitor completed work and their results.

For more information, call 01909 568 338.