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Inclusion Now Articles Issue 22

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New Lobbying Tool - CDC's Inclusion Policy

Include Me Out - A Vision for 21st Century Schools?

The Children, Skills and Learning Bill

Diana Simpson - Inclusion Warrior

One School to Another - Madeleine Bell

Secretary of State's Report on Progress to Disability Equality

ALLFIE Develops Young Disabled People's Campaign Forums

Implementing Inclusive Education

Creating a Movement

Key Issues for Teaching Assistants - Book Review



New Lobbying Tool for Inclusionists

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have recently published a revised version of their policy on Inclusion. What is exciting about it is that it has the weight of the 'mainstream' disabled children services sector behind it!

The CDC is an umbrella body of organisations working in the disabled children's sector in England. ALLFIE is represented on the CDC Steering group as are other members of the Inclusion movement - Parents for Inclusion and Disability Equality in Education.

Since starting at the Alliance nearly 3 years ago I have been trying to immerse myself in the disabled children's sector to understand where the resistance is coming from in relation to disabled children and young people being included in education.

Many of the people I speak to in the sector talk positively about the possibility of including the groups of disabled children and young people their organisation works with yet in public revert to a 'party' line of 'well of course it wouldn't work for our children'- now all that has changed!

We know at ALLFIE that the CDC and lead organisations within the CDC network (Mencap, Contact a Family, National Autistic Society etc) have the 'ear' of the Department for Children, Schools and Families, therefore the Inclusion policy from the CDC is really important because it shows a real unity about a vision of inclusion for disabled children and young people across the sector. The publication of the policy is also very timely when we think about what the Government is planning to change in education over the next few months (see our new Briefings on the ALLFIE website - www.allfie.org.uk) and the current attempts by the Government to split the opinion of the sector on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The original CDC policy on Inclusion was developed in the 1990s and as we all know much has changed since then, therefore, with the voices from the inclusion movement better represented within the CDC, it was agreed last year that there was a need to revise the policy.
The working group gathered together a number of times to work on the policy and was keen that the starting point should be a focus on some core principles in support of a childhood that is inclusive rather than only focussing on a particular aspect of young people's lives.

Principles for Inclusion
Inclusion is a journey with a clear direction and purpose: equality of opportunity for all children and young people. CDC believes that the following factors are crucial to the development of inclusion:

A welcome for all disabled children, secure relationships and support for families when they need it;

Respect for difference and a commitment to building friendships and community to the benefit of everyone;

Equality of access to play, learning, leisure and all aspects of life;

The active participation of children and their families in decision-making;

A proactive approach to identifying and removing barriers;

Timely access to information and to people with empowering attitudes, supportive skills and expertise.

The policy uses a Social Model of Disability approach to identify the key barriers that currently prevent disabled children and young people from being included in every day life rather than seeing disabled young people as the 'problem to be fixed'. It also highlights the key role that disabled young people themselves play in removing barriers through self-empowerment programmes and better connections with disabled adults and organisations run and controlled by disabled people. Personal stories of inclusion and examples of good inclusive practice bring the policy and the issue alive and bring to the fore the real benefits of inclusion for disabled and non disabled young people and their families - benefits that get lost in unhelpful polemic debates around inclusion versus segregation, much of which is driven by personal experience and painful accounts of feeling disempowered or unsupported.

CDC's Inclusion policy focuses on the right of all disabled young people to be included in all aspects of every day life and that such a vision can be achieved over time.

For those of you who may have already seen the document, you may share our view that the policy is not as clear as it could be in its support for inclusive education, however it is an extremely helpful lobbying tool. It demonstrates a consensus across the disabled children and young people's services sector that inclusion in ALL aspects of everyday life MUST be a reality for ALL disabled children and young people. Despite our reservations, ALLFIE thinks the policy could be used in a number of different ways:

To encourage public bodies (schools, local authorities etc) to think about inclusive provision as part of their legal duty to promote disability equality (DDA 2006)

To encourage voluntary sector based service providers to think about the value of inclusive activities for ALL young people

To support families and young people to feel more confident in seeking inclusive school placements

To raise awareness of the benefits of an inclusive childhood as a starting point for equal citizenship

Only this week the Children's Society has published a landmark report based on an inquiry into the conditions necessary for a good childhood. The recommendations within the "A Good Childhood" report chime absolutely with the vision of inclusion becoming a reality for all children. The recommendations include schools becoming "values-based communities" promoting mutual respect between teachers, parents and children and that School league tables and SATs should be abolished. ALLFIE absolutely supports these recommendations as they would go some way towards the removal of barriers within education, but also drive a culture shift in the way society views young people generally and promote a better understanding of the harm done to young people who are excluded for education due to disablism and other prejudice.

ALLFIE is now working with the CDC on an event to officially launch the policy. The event will be in Westminster so we can get lots of MPs and Peers to come along and get fired up in support of inclusion. The event gives us an important opportunity to reframe the inclusion debate in terms of capacity building the mainstream education system so that it is 'fit for purpose' and is better able to support the needs of a more diverse range of young people. In addition, because the event will happen in March this year, it also gives us an additional opportunity to increase the pressure on the Government to think again about its current, hugely out of date position on Article 24 on Education in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The new Council for Disabled Children's Inclusion Policy is available as a pdf file on the CDC website ( www.ncb.org.uk/cdc) We also have a number of copies here in the ALLFIE office so get in touch if you would like us to send a copy. We'd also like your thoughts on the policy and any plans you have to use it to promote inclusion - I carry copies with me everywhere!
Tara Flood



Include Me Out: A Vision for 21st Century Schools?

'Include me out' was a phrase attributed to Hollywood mogul Sam Goldwyn, who used the English language creatively. He meant: "I don't want to be part of this." We know of "inclusion departments" in schools across the country whose job is precisely to make sure that certain children are not part of the ordinary classroom: they are "included out". But we also know of other schools where all children are included "in", as it now seems necessary to add, and where they are welcomed as full human beings rather than not potential problems.

The DCSF's consultation document preparing for a new White Paper, '21st Century Schools: A World-Class Education for Every Child', reflects this ambiguity. In the whole 50 pages there is just one reference to inclusion, and it comes in the best practice example of a segregated ("special") school which "supports mainstream secondary partners in their inclusion of pupils with SEN through consultancy for individual pupils." Most of us know what this really means: i.e. some pupils can be included but we make sure we cream off the "worst".

This White Paper seeks to set the tone for the English education system for the next generation. So it is vitally important that everyone concerned with inclusion responds to this consultation, to get inclusion on the agenda.

The document's summarises its aims as follows:

Children and young people are fully engaged with their education until at least the age of 18, reach world-class standards and acquire skills, understanding and qualifications that will serve them well in the future;

All children and young people are supported to progress, with excellent teaching; stretched to develop their talents; given the opportunities to pursue an engaging curriculum and qualifications, and to learn in a way which excites them and meets their needs;
All children and young people learn in an environment of good behaviour, are not bullied or discriminated against, and develop the wider personal skills, characteristics and attitudes they need to succeed and make a positive contribution to society, while enjoying a fulfilling and healthy childhood;

Through collaborative working with other services, children and young people's additional needs (including SEN) are met as early as possible - an end in itself; and because doing so supports learning by removing barriers and ensures that children and young people do not become distracted or disengaged from learning; and

High levels of parental engagement and satisfaction with schools.

Readers of this journal need to focus on Question 2 of the e-consultation: "Is there anything missing from the vision for a 21st century school system?" The five bullet points above provide the starting-point for a response.

Points 1 and 3 are about preparation for adulthood. They are fine words, but give no inkling of the discrimination and poor outcomes that face many children leaving school. If the government's aim is to achieve "world-class schools", it cannot continue to run an education system where 2% of children are outside mainstream in segregated schools, units and PRUs, and thus are completely unprepared for a life in society alongside the rest of their peers.

Policies for adults, in other Government departments such as the Office of Disability Issues, Department of Work and Pensions and Department of Health, all have inclusion as their goal: Improving Life-Chances for Disabled People, Independent Living Strategy, I Want a Job, and Valuing People. One would have thought that joined-up government would involve doing the same for our future adults. Yet inclusion and discrimination are scarcely mentioned, and it seems that the school lives of disabled children and those otherwise liable to social isolation will not be touched by this paper. Special schools do not prepare them for independent lives in the community. Virtually no one leaving an SLD school is in a job. Children labelled with behavioural or mental health issues, looked-after children and those with physical or sensory impairment likewise lag behind others in terms of life-chances on leaving special schools. Nothing in the document tackles this total contradiction between the very existence of such schools and the policies being adopted elsewhere for adults. The White Paper should, but does not, address the question:
How does a life of segregation in school prepare pupils for community life in adulthood?

Point 4 seems to be trying to depart from the "special educational needs" label by putting them under a wider category called "additional needs". It manipulates the inclusionist language of "barriers to participation" by making it mean something within the child: paragraph 2.4 of the full document, for example, talks about the child who has "barriers like special educational needs or disabilities". In fact the barriers arise precisely because of so-called "collaborative" working, since mainstream staff take too seriously the advice given them by segregated schools which have no real incentive to give up their pupils, and by other services (social, health etc.) whose whole premise is that such children are problems. "Additional needs" will therefore continue to mean doing things for children outside the mainstream system, away from the normal social life that other children enjoy. The reference to early intervention is all very well, but the groups identified earliest as having additional needs have the poorest outcomes later in life.

Finally, Question 8a of the e-consultation asks: "What are the main challenges to the children and young people's workforce in delivering the vision of the 21st century school?" We need to convince the Government that it must provide a strategy and leadership to address the above questions. Nothing could be more indicative of the need to tackle the issue of disability discrimination in any vision of the 21st century school than the fact that it is mentioned here.

The e-consultation deadline is 3 March, at: www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations
A suggested format for responses is available at: www.csie.org
Chris Goodey


The Children, Skills and Learning Bill

In February the Government is expected to publish a Children, Skills and Learning Bill. Central to the Bill will be major changes to how education will be provided and funded for all students over the age of 14 years old underpinning the Government's commitment to develop a 'world class' nation of highly skilled workers.

A proposed National Apprenticeship Scheme and 'Vocational' Diplomas will become available alongside the traditional academic qualifications for students to choose from. And students (mainly those with learning difficulties) will be able to complete segregated 'Independent Living' and 'Entry to Employment' courses as part of the Learning Foundation Tier.

Funding of these four options will be a major provision of the Bill. Two agencies will be created, the first, the Young Peoples Learning Agency will be responsible for the funding of all provision for young people between 14 and 19 years of age, with an upper limit of 25 for Disabled students with learning difficulties. Regional groupings of Local Education Authorities will be expected to jointly commission education provision (academic, diploma, learning foundation tier courses and apprenticeships) across member boroughs. The second, the Skills Funding Agency replaces the Learning and Skills Council Funding and will be responsible for funding 19 plus education provision. The funding formulae is currently being reviewed but we are expecting that the one used for LSC will continue which includes paying education service providers by student retention and successfully passing their examinations.

We are expecting that whilst in theory disabled students will have more choice, actually in practise this is unlikely to be the case. How real is the choice for disabled young people to take up a mainstream apprenticeship where disablism is still rife in the work place, coupled with a requirement of successful completion of a level 2 qualification (equal to 5 GCSE Grade A*-C)? And if payment by results continues, or targeting funding for specific groups of students to complete discrete courses then it's unlikely that many disabled students will be able to enrol on academic and vocational diploma courses. So what will be left are the segregated 'Independent Living' and 'Entry to Employment' courses which will become more available for young people at 14 rather than 16 years of age. And for students who have probably fought to get onto a mainstream course or an apprenticeship place, how will their support and equipment be provided where there are three funding streams through the statementing, LSC section 140 assessment and Access to Work?

Alongside the 14-19 provisions, the Bill will include initiatives to replace the Pupil Referral Units, create a new Parent Mediation Service, increase the duty upon Local Authorities to use school failing notices and give additional powers for School staff to stop and search children without their consent.

ALLFIE welcomes a wider range of educational options for all young people. We will be lobbying and campaigning to ensure that Disabled students have access to all mainstream education provision. We do not see any need to offer special 'Independent Living' or 'Entry to Employment' courses for disabled students, as these skills can be learnt whilst undertaking mainstream education courses, through extra-curricular and home based activities. We need to campaign hard to make sure that increased segregation and disablism does not creep into this Education bill.
We are going to be publishing regular Campaigns briefings which will provide updates on what is happening and how to get stuck into our campaign work. Our briefings will be on the ALLFIE website: www.allfie.org.uk
Please do contact us if you need the briefings in a different format.
Simone Aspis
ALLFIE Policy and Campaigns Worker


Diana Simpson - Inclusion Warrior

Diana Simpson, longtime supporter and ally to the inclusion movement, lost her battle against Leukaemia in November 2008.

Diana: Friend, colleague, innovator, debater, fundraiser, development worker, Co-director of Parents for Inclusion, founder member and Treasurer of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Co-councillor, who was deeply committed to her family and friends.

Diana was a unique leader, through whose work and friendship many lives have been changed. She was a brilliant star.

In the eighties, she like many of us parents of disabled children had a profound and challenging journey to tread: that of finding solutions towards inclusion. For her it was to ensure that her beloved daughter Clare was given the respect, value and positive future that her other children could expect, and to be included in her mainstream primary school.

She soon became acquainted with other people who had set out on a similar journey, in particular Margaret Gault, and she soon realised that the challenge and fight for her daughter's and other disabled children's human rights within the education system, could be lost unless solidarity with others became the name of the game. She became an active member of the Parents Campaign for Integrated Education, which eventually after many name changes is now known as Parents for Inclusion (Pi).

Profoundly important for her and for other parents was her meeting with Micheline Mason, a Disabled Disability Equality Trainer and parent of Lucy a very young disabled child. Micheline had a strong and important message about parents as allies to their disabled children and introduced the Social Model of Disability, and the Disability Movement to the organisation. Through this extraordinary partnership with Micheline, and her connection with other activists, Diana grew into a fierce ally and a passionate advocate, not only to disabled people but also to other parents. This relationship was key when the Alliance for Inclusive Education was set up in 1990.

What was so special about Diana? She was an inspiration. She believed deeply in relationships, and was very generous with her time and selflessness in creating a family of diverse people who became her colleagues and friends. She always found time to talk. She was highly intelligent, perceptive, and always found solutions to any challenge or new development in a determined way. She initiated policies, which enabled parents to work part time, and recognised that the parents involved in the organisation also needed space and time to share and to be supported within their own lives and challenges. She created the blue print for the Pi Helpline, and worked with Micheline to create the Planning Positive Futures Training, which has changed so many parents, and their children's lives. The Pi training, which is soon to be accredited by the Open College Network, was begun through this partnership. Fully supported by Nick, her partner, she introduced information technology to Parents for Inclusion and the Alliance for Inclusive Education enabling them to operate more efficiently. She was fun, creative and innovative, and a real collaborator. She lived inclusion, and through her own family life others found the courage and the commitment to ensure that their own children were give the opportunity to live a full and as inclusive a life as possible.

We worked closely together for about 20 years, and during that time, Parents for Inclusion became unique as a parent organisation committed to the leadership of disabled people. It recognised the role of parents as allies to their disabled children, and believes deeply in the fact that change will only happen if many strands of society pull together to create an inclusive diverse world. She had a formidable role in ensuring that this understanding continues to be the organisation's ethos and drive. She was a great advocate for ensuring that people understood the role that parents of disabled children committed to the social model of disability, have had in changing the course of history, a real change from the past, and had a leading role in ensuring that Parents for Inclusion remains committed to working as allies with disabled people as leaders of this critical campaign. We were early members of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, and Pi fully supported the development of this important campaigning organisation.

Before she was so cruelly taken from her family, her friends and colleagues, she shared her excitement that at last there were real signs that the organisations she most believed in would be joining together to work towards a more inclusive world where everyone belongs. I believe her legacy will ensure that this happens. When she left Pi we all recognised that a formidable force was missing, but I now believe that her unique contribution will be the force which will ensure that the dream of equality and justice for our children will continue. She was loved, respected and valued by many and she will be greatly missed.
Jo Cameron

I first met Diana at a meeting for special school survivors, organised by ALLFIE, back in 2003. It was also my first connection with ALLFIE - what a first connection and first meeting with Diana.

I will always remember the strength and passion with which she spoke about her role as a parent and ally to her daughter Clare. I don't think I had ever heard a parent of a disabled person speak with such conviction, love and aspiration for their future - it was a revelation!

And from that point on my respect and belief in Diana as a warrior, ally and friend has grown and strengthened.

Her support for me in my new role as ALLFIE's Director was unswerving and her commitment to ALLFIE and it's vision of a right to inclusive education for EVERYONE was constant, clear and real. This was equalled by her belief in disabled people leading the struggle.

Diana's legacy to the inclusion movement and to ALLFIE is that we build on her vision of a more united voice whose strength comes from its diversity of voices and a shared belief that inclusive education is a right for ALL.
Tara Flood



One School to Another

Many mothers feel concerned about putting their children with autism into Mainstream Schools but I, for one am grateful for my mother's final choice

As I was born with autism and have always felt awkward. I felt singled out every time I walked into school, but at the same time I felt just like any another student.

SPECIAL SCHOOL
I have always insisted that these were the best years of my life. But now I look back and I think it was because the school was so relaxed. For instance my art lessons had group projects, and we weren't separately graded, maybe the school was focusing on people skills. Apparently when my mum asked about my GCS's they just laughed. The school was good fun though, you could call the teachers by their first names and if you got into trouble you were sent to the kindly head teacher's office for a quiet chat. They organised the most amazing school trips, like for instance a trip to the Albert Hall to see Miss Rowlings interview on The Order Of the Phoenix. However the lessens were very relaxed I didn't feel challenged at all. Most of the science lessens involved watching a video or scribbling answers down on a work sheet. When my mum realised I was never going to have a future with special school education she decided to move me into mainstream school.

MAINSTREAM SCHOOL
At first I was terrified of my new school environment. I found the children too streetwise and smart beyond my idea of year five students. But as I came in two days of the week to start off (I went to special school every other day) I found it easier to adjust and less of a change. When I was first told of being moved I was devastated and panicky, so at first I refused to fit in. When my name was called in registration I remained silent, I clung to my support teacher, I was intimidated by the other students because I couldn't write properly. I didn't talk to the other students at first but as soon as I made my first friend Eli, things started looking up. Every playtime in year six I was surrounded by nice friendly girls trying to help me fit in and succeeding! When it was time for my first SATs I just saw it as a test and didn't panic. When news came in for secondary school I wasn't too worried. The thing that did concern me was most of my friends were going to an all girls school. The hardest part was saying goodbye.

SECONDARY SCHOOL
At secondary school I found It particularly hard to settle in, I was worried about the new work, Teachers expectations of me and of other students. I used to wander around school looking like I was on my way to somewhere. I had a few female friends but I always felt more comfortable around boys, because at special school I had been friends with lots of boys. The thing was all the boys didn't like me so much and as for the girls I didn't know what they were talking about most of the time. When I met my first secondary school male friend, I tagged along with him, met his friends and became friends with them all. They were different than the other boys, instead of discussing stupid immature things they just talked about "nerdy" things- I liked that. After that my confidence rose and I made new friends, also my school work looked up. I did pretty good on my mock SATs and I am waiting for my SATs results back anytime now. I feel pretty confident about the results.

I don't believe in singling out any child because of the difficulty's they might have. I don't see myself as disabled but different from the rest. My heart may still ache and a tear may drop from my eye sometimes whenever I think of the things I missed out on, but I feel glad my mother got me out of special school before my education and potential was lost.
By Madeleine Bell
year 9

Madeleine attended a speech and language unit within a mainstream school until year 2. She then moved on to a school that specialised in educating children on the Autistic Spectrum. Madeleine finally returned to full time mainstream education in year 6. An overwhelming number of teachers and other professionals advised us that Madeleine would not be able to cope in a mainstream setting. Madeleine has just entered year 10 and is studying for her GCSE's

bUilLiNg
I came in late today simply because I couldn't sleep, for demons were waiting in my dreams,
Leering and jeering, pushing and shoving.
Faces from school giving me hell though rid temporarily of them.

I come into class, sit down and write.
Behind me I sense cruel eyes staring, glaring, tearing into me.
I keep myself calm but by lessen five I feel as though I want to die.
Everyday people are judging me; I never know why, they seem to have respect that I sadly will never possess.

They group together like a pack of smug lions.
And look down on me as though they are giants.
I hate that, why should I let them ruin my life and let them get away with such rotten strife?

But listen now and listen good
I am a person I'm from flesh not wood.
I'll study hard and do my best and in a few years
I'll let you guess who ends up the best!
Maddy Bell


DCSF - Secretary of State's Report on Progress to Disability Equality: How Much Has Been Achieved?

This Report was anticipated with high expectations. For the first time the DCSF would have to draw up a balance sheet of how well the education sector was implementing the Duty to Promote Disability Equality. The Duty was introduced for all public bodies in the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and came into force from December 2006. The law also required 11 Secretary of States to report progress in December 2008.
All state schools in England and Wales had to apply the duties and develop a Disability Equality Scheme, based on ongoing engagement with disabled pupils, staff, parents and members of the local community. The legislation is underpinned by the 'social model' of disability and requires the DCSF and all schools and colleges to identify barriers to disabled people and come up with solutions.
The Report overemphasises the changes that have taken place, often pointing to existing policy developments as if they are a consequence of the Duty. In fact their antecedents were the Every Disabled Child Matters Campaign and the initiatives for Aiming High for Disabled Children: the majority of new funding being for short family break, rather than direct payments. Overall there is little evidence of a real shift to disability equality.
There are no large scale studies and data on how schools are carrying out this duty. The research that had been commissioned of Disability Equality in Education and an independent report by MENCAP (Just not a priority: schools and disability equality. 2008www.mencap.org.uk/desresearch) suggest a very patchy response from schools. Mencap found that only 8 out of 40 schools contacted had any evidence of having any Disability Equality Scheme. The government does not allow surveys of schools, as an anti-bureaucracy measure, so they have no way of knowing what is happening in the schools for which they are responsible.

DEE could only find 76 Disability Equality Schemes in English schools (50 primary and 26 secondary published on the internet out of a possible 21,000). These were analysed against a 50 point check list in order to meet the statutory requirements. None met all requirements and only a handful scored on half or more of the indicators developed. Key points from two of these schools -Davigdor in Brighton and Hove and Grasmere in Hackney are included in the report.
The weak response in the Secretary of State's Report is to write to all schools reminding them of the Duty and the need to have a scheme and encouraging them to share it with parents, local authority and OFSTED.
The DEE research included the views of 140 disabled pupils in 11 locations around England. Most of these views are not in the Report, though they showed there was much more to be done than had so far been achieved. However, the Report does highlight the following conclusions from the young people's views and encourages schools to:-
" Place an emphasis on developing peer support, circles of friends and buddies;
" Involve young disabled people in the selection and deployment of teaching assistants;
" Be aware of the range and breadth of reasonable adjustments;
" Use resources in which disabled people are visible and make a positive contribution to society;
" Use resources which are easy to read but have age appropriate story lines;
" Challenge disabilist bullying ( the report identifies that over 70% of disabled pupils have experienced bullying compared to 30% of non-disabled pupils);
" Tackle the high levels of exclusion of disabled pupils with the development of emotional intelligence through SEAL and positive behaviour policies;
" Explore with QCA the possibility of a Disabled Right's week each year.
Overall the Report identifies many changes to enhance disability equality, but is short of actual implementation strategies. These should include the insistence on all DCSF initiatives being fed through a Disability Equality Impact Assessment and enforcing the statutory requirement that OFSTED check the DES in all schools they visit. Unfortunately, on reading the full Report one is left with the impression that it is business as usual at the attainment dominated DCSF and only lip-service is being paid to Disability Equality.
Supporters of inclusion can challenge their local schools to have an effective DES and report them to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for failing in their statutory duty.
To read full report- http://wwww.dcsf.gov.uk/publications/des/SoSreport.shtml
Richard Rieser


ALLFIE Develops Young Disabled People's Campaign Forums

Dzifa Afonu and Lucy Mason were appointed as development workers to work with young disabled people in 2008.

What are we doing?

Currently we are in the early stages of a new and exciting project. The project aims to develop two youth led self sustaining inclusive youth forums which will increase the engagement of young disabled people in their local areas. The aim to promote inclusion and the social model of disability in the wider community - one is in the London Borough of Lambeth and the other in Newham.

In Lambeth we held a two day "team building" music workshop designed to introduce the young people to the ideas we would be thinking about, then we held a photography workshop and exhibition at Brixton Road Youth Centre.

The project taught the participants practical skills as well as discussing with them issues related to inclusion and participation.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, came to our final event and has been in contact with us since, interested in discussing the issues we raised and to look at the role of inclusion in the wider youth participation sector.

We have spent a significant amount of time building relationships with children and young people's services in Lambeth and Newham including staff working on the government initiative Aiming High for disabled children.

In order to make our project successful we need to secure the long term inclusion of disabled young people within participation services as a priority.

In Newham we have had several meetings with the Primary Care Trust (PCT) development manager and the manager of Aiming High for Disabled Young People.

We held two events in July 2008 which were mainly aimed at bringing together young disabled people aged 13 and under to start to encourage interest in a future ongoing youth forum. The events were also intended to provide an opportunity to assess the current capacity of the potential members to participate in a consultation and to start encouraging their confidence to speak about their views and voice their opinions.

The events were a great success; over thirty young people took part in the activities that occurred on the two days. The young people actively engaged in the day, we had lots of positive feedback in relation to meeting people, having fun and wanting to do more; the day was inclusive and accessible for all those who attended. We were able to make an assessment of what support and training the young people would need to be a part of a young disabled people led youth forum.

In conjunction with the young peoples' consultation event in Newham, A parents' forum was being held and facilitated by a local parent from the organisation Parents for Inclusion, the director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education and the Development Manager of Disabled Children and Young People from Newham PCT. The parents' forum was a great success and many ideas were generated in regards to how the services that parents, carers and their young disabled children in Newham could be improved and become more meaningful to the individual.

The work has helped to ignite excitement and enthusiasm in the young people and their parents who are keen for us to do more work as soon as possible. We have directly and indirectly made an input into how Lambeth and Newham's local authority plan will develop their services to further include young disabled people.

We hope to attract further funding to enable this ground breaking work to continue after this year supporting the development of many young disabled people to be active participants in their own futures.

To get involved or for more information, contact us at the ALLFIE office (details on back page)

 

Implementing Inclusive Education

A Commonwealth Guide to implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of people with Disabilities.
Richard Rieser

The right to education for all children is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and more recently in the Millennium Development Goals. However, in developing countries, the proportion of disabled children attending school is estimated at between less than one per cent and five per cent.

Inclusion in education is a process of enabling all children to learn and participate effectively within mainstream school systems, without segregation. It is about shifting the focus from altering disabled people to fit into society to transforming society and the world by changing attitudes and removing barriers. 'Implementing Inclusive Education: a Commonwealth Guide' shows how Commonwealth countries are attempting to undertake this transformative process, and will encourage all those charged with ensuring education for all to make certain that disabled children are fully included in all aspects of the education system.

The book provides examples, both through illustrated case studies and on the accompanying
DVDs of how inclusive education systems for all children have been established in pockets throughout the Commonwealth.

The message is clear: it can be done. The task is now to implement inclusive education worldwide.
Contents includes two DVDs:

DVD 1: Examples of inclusive education in Africa and India

DVD 2: Training material, examples of inclusive practice from the UK, Uganda and Canada. Also contains Text only version.

Richard Rieser is Director of Disability Equality In Education, a UK NGO that provides training, consultancy and resources to improve the position of disabled people in the education system.

Publication date: Sept 2008
Price: GBP £15.00
ISBN: 978-0-85092-885-3
Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat
Order from Disability Equality in Education (DEE):
020 7359 2855 or email info@diseed.org.uk

 

Creating a Movement

The long awaited launch of new DVD 'Creating a Movement' was a great event. So long awaited in fact that when I rang around the people who took part in the DVD to invite them along, they could barely remember which DVD I was talking about!

It was worth the wait. 'Creating a Movement - the Struggle for Inclusive Education in the UK 1990 -2006' is a powerful and evocative capturing of a vital piece of history. It focuses mainly on two events - a demonstration in 1998, led by young disabled people supported by ALLFIE and DAN (Direct Action Network) which began with a march to Downing Street and ended in the occupation of the DfES* building, and secondly, a so-called consultation with the DfES in 2003 when disabled people got to tell their own personal stories of segregation. Micheline Mason, founder of ALLFIE, is also interviewed, giving her take on the inclusion movement from its beginnings in the late 80's to present day.

The launch came at the end of a very long day. It followed an AGM, an afternoon workshop, and a musical performance and yet it managed to re-energise and inspire the committed group of people who stayed for the duration. Watching the 1998 Demo were people who had been there and remembered the day with great pride and emotion but also people who were seeing if for the first time and felt empowered and excited by it. Andrew Lee from People First spoke about that day and about how great it had felt to be stirring things up, baffling police and officials alike, who hadn't yet dealt with disabled children as activists! He told us that when his niece recently asked him what it was he did at work, it was that day that came to mind. And he thought that perhaps more recently we had all got a little too comfortable and safe. "Let's take more risks, let's do more of that stuff" he encouraged, to cheers around the room.
The Consultation section was equally powerful and it was deeply moving to hear people's own experiences of segregation, of abuse and deep oppression. Tara Flood spoke about that day, it was her first involvement with ALLFIE and so for her a very key moment in her life, hearing not only others telling their stories, but telling her own publicly for the first time. Many in the audience talked of the profoundness of this section and others spoke for the first time of their own painful experiences.

This DVD will prove to be invaluable, as an archive record of the history of the inclusion movement, as a tool for training and education, as a focal point for wider discussions on campaigning, political, empowerment and equality issues.
Chloe Bowles

'Creating a Movement' is available from ALLfIE for £7 including postage. Find out more at www.allfie.org.uk or contact us at the office, details on back page.
Visit: http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=
330219719407571226 to see a short trailer.

 

Key Issues for Teaching Assistants

Working in Diverse and Inclusive Classrooms
Edited by Gill Richards and Felicity Armstrong
Published by Routledge October 2007
ISBN: 978-0-415-43425-6

If you were to break down what Local Authorities spend on 'inclusive education' - then the biggest budget heading by far would be teaching assistants' salaries. It is also true that this group of education professionals is the least well served by the available literature on inclusive education - so this book is a welcome appreciation of the role and contribution of teaching assistants.

The editors - Gill Richards and Felicity Armstrong - teach within UK universities and so are placed at what should be the wellspring of inclusive practice - they are also inclusionists.

It is worth remembering that teaching assistants get a unique and ground level view of what all the good intentions contained within IEPs and Statements actually amount to in practice. They inevitably see the best and worst of inclusive education on a daily basis as they work alongside the young person these arrangements are supposed to serve. So it is high time TAs had access to the thoughtful essays in this book to help make sense of their day-to-day experience and also to strengthen their ability to speak out when provision falls short of what should be.

The 14 chapters in this book neatly reflect the diversity of themes and issues that play out in this arena. Ranging from Micheline Mason's radical re-write of the TA role in her chapter on 'The Inclusion Assistant' to David Ruebain's concise summary of the law and inclusive education - and covering traveller children, gender influence and 'learner voice' and more along the way - this is an ambitious and successful attempt to reflect the deep complexity of this area - and all within 158 pages!
Derek Wilson
Inclusive Solutions Nottingham. January 2009