Thank you to our colleagues at The Centre for Studies in Inclusive Education for yesterday’s conference: Is everyone welcome? Being invited and welcomed was certainly essential to our inclusion! And we do not take it for granted - thank you!
It was a much needed oasis in a turbulent world. A chance to reconnect with friends and meet new people. Possibly not as effective in the march forward on change, but hugely beneficial to our own wellbeing when engaged, as we all are, in the huge job of trying to achieving a more inclusive education for all young people.
Mel Ainscow’s presentation provided food for thought. It was very helpful to get time to think about the most pertinent challenges facing schools at the moment with the emphasis on the levers of change and therefore identifying activity most worthwhile on this issue. It gave us all an opportunity to get to grips with where our efforts could be better employed.
The CSIE’s Welcome Workbook is an exciting publication - ‘essential for anyone interested in developing inclusive provision for all young people in mainstream schools’. It is certainly appears much less daunting than the Index, which needs to reflect the complexity of the task involved. It will no doubt give people an more gentle ‘way in’ to the profound task of system change. It must be congratulated on its accessibility! I do hope it will support many organisations to tackle the first steps in the changes required.
Available from: email@example.com.
It was fascinating hearing the Canadian perspective - a school board determined to provide flexible and inclusive institutions - without the need for any separate provision whatsoever! It can be done. Jackie and Les provided many insights into real possibility. It is reassuring to know that while far from perfect inclusive practice is an evolving reality. We heard about the leadership, the vision and the dedication of so many people. These stories from different countries prove change is achievable, the ideas must are not directly replicable without serious thought to our own context.
Our workshop on increasing practitioner confidence and expertise provided many great ideas to support the change in mindset required to enable and liberate us all to make a difference. We talked about community participation, the role of parent partnership and increasing opportunities for continuous professional development. Making inclusion more central to all aspects of educational purpose and organisational transformation.
A few questions remain for me:
- Will ‘inclusion’ ever be understood as a whole community issue?
- Will we be able to move beyond the ‘disability’ or marginalised groups angle which in so many cases solicits a benevolent response?
- Can we keep maintaining support to vulnerable children while improving wellbeing across the board for all young people?
- Will organisations be able to place ‘inclusion’ on the strategic agenda and question their core purpose: what are schools for? What is the purpose of education?
- Can equity and social justice ever become important outcomes in England's materialistic and individualistic society?
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