How inclusive is Frederick Bird Primary School as a learning community? ‘Inclusive education is an unabashed announcement, a public and political declaration and celebration of difference.’ (Corbett, J. 2001:134) The principles of inclusion and their implications on school practice have been fiercely debated by leading educational experts for many years. In 1994, delegates from 92 governments met at the world conference on special needs education, to consider policy changes that would enable educators to provide inclusive education for all. The result of this conference was the adoption of ‘The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action’ which provides recommendations and stipulations for the ‘planning and implementation’ of inclusive provision (UNESCO, 1994:2). The impact of this framework in the UK can be tracked through significant changes made to educational policy. In 1997 The Government introduced the Green Paper; this put inclusion high on the government’s agenda and committed itself to ‘excellence for all’, a vision which, for the first time, encompassed children with special educational needs (DfEE, 1997:5). Current policy, specifically the Every Child Matters(ECM) agenda continues this trend and dictates that every child has the right to an inclusive education, the chance to fulfil their full potential and make a positive contribution to society (DfES, 2003) Through the course of this assignment I will demonstrate how my own educational setting goes above and beyond these policy expectations to provide an inclusive experience to all our pupils within a very diverse but cohesive learning community. I will demonstrate this effectiveness by critically evaluating examples and case studies from current school policy, teaching methods and my own experiences and strategies. I will also make recommendations of how school practice can be enhanced to boost the effectiveness of this provision.
The school in which I am employed as a Teaching Assistant is a large three-form entry primary and nursery school, with just under 700 pupils on role. The school is situated in the centre of a disadvantaged inner city community. Approximately 35% of the pupils are entitled to free school meals, double the national average, and around 45% have special educational needs. An incredible 82% of our pupils are from ethnic minority backgrounds, therefore leading to a high percentage of pupils that speak English as an additional language. In terms of inclusion this level of diversity brings its own challenges, as the potential for barriers to learning is increased by the very nature of the school population. However, it is the necessary response to this varied and exciting context of the school community that has forced our school to find innovative ways to provide an all inclusive education and a ‘school culture which celebrates differences’ (Corbett, J. 2001:56) Producing inclusive policies that set out clear guidelines and strategies that help both practitioners and children overcome barriers to learning, are essential to sustain inclusive practice in schools as outlined by the Centre for Studies on inclusive Educations Index for inclusion (CSIE: 2006). Our school policy acknowledges the many barriers that our learners face and lays out collaborative and cohesive ways in which our school accommodates and welcomes them. Perhaps the most important role that the policies play is to remind us as staff and practitioners that we all aspire to a common aim for the children we work with. We strive to challenge and support children in order to achieve excellence, in a happy, safe, tolerant, caring and stimulating environment, in order to reach their personal best. Frederick Bird Vision
In response to this ethos, teachers and support professionals are encouraged to participate in ongoing training in order to provide the highest level of education and pastoral care possible to our pupils. We also have continuing professional...
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