Educate, Don't Segregate
Proactive campaigning activity against damage caused by Government education reforms, including changes to the SEND legal framework.
Disabled people are facing unprecedented attacks on their fundamental right to inclusive education. The Government have introduced a string of education policies and laws threatening disabled learners' participation across all education provision.
Proposals to expand state-sponsored selective education in the "Schools That Work For Everyone" green paper will no doubt lead to a dramatic reduction of good mainstream education placements and increased segregation of disabled pupils and students with SEN. Potentially every school could become selective, selecting pupils by academic ability and by definition excluding many disabled children and children with SEN. Yet, shockingly, disabled pupils and students with SEN are not mentioned once in the Green Paper. Clearly the Government do not want mainstream schools that are inclusive of all pupils and instead appear willing to breach Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
There is no evidence that selective schools are good schools and will increase social mobility; in fact the opposite is true – recent research from the Education Policy Institute highlights that selective education DOES NOT encourage social mobility.
We've been out and about talking to people about the proposals and below are some of the interesting thoughts we've gathered from an educational psychologist, an MP whose constituency includes a number of existing grammar schools, and a former teacher.
ALLFIE is campaigning against Government plans to increase selection in education and give the green light for new grammar schools to open their doors. ALLFIE believes that selective education will be detrimental for both disabled and non-disabled pupils and for the building of an inclusive society that works for everyone – SO WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!!
Thank you to all the wonderful people who supported our social media campaign during the Government's consultation period by sending us their photo with the "Educate Don't Segregate" slogan, or sending in videos. Have a look at our Facebook album to see them. The consultation is now closed and we are waiting for the Government's formal response early next year. As this will be an ongoing campaign, do keep a watch out for additional campaigning activities in the New Year and beyond – we are in it for the long haul! You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Our full response to the consultation is here.
Through our ongoing campaign work we continue to raise the public profile for a mainstream and inclusive education system which welcomes everyone including disabled learners, and have achieved:
- Retention of the 'presumption of mainstream education' principle for disabled children and young people in the 2014 Children and Families Act.
- Very strong guidance (General Comment No.4) provided by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on how Governments need to implement their UNCRPD Article 24 obligations to develop an inclusive education system.
- Support for disabled students to legally challenge Disabled Students Allowance reforms.
- Increased media and public profile about the negative impact of segregated education and the universal benefits of inclusive education – we know this because other coalitions and alliances now include this in their own publicity – Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance, Reclaiming Education Alliance and Comprehensive Futures.
As a result of our campaign work, we are building a broad base where inclusive education is increasingly gaining public support outside the corridors of Westminster.