Inclusive practice in education moves us away from ‘integration’ and ‘mainstreaming’ of learners, which was mainly concerned with separating those with a disability or ‘special educational needs’ until they had reached the required standard for mainstream education. Inclusion is about the learner’s right to participate and the teacher/ institutions duty to accept the learner as an individual. Inclusion rejects the separation of learners with disabilities from learners without disabilities; instead it promotes equality and respect for their social, civil, human and educational rights. From what I can see there are few totally inclusive schools but those that are, restructure their curriculum so all can learn together without discrimination.
Some key reports that have changed the face of education over the last decade and a half are:
“Inclusive Learning” (1996) a report by John Tomlinson, was the result of a three-year enquiry into the educational needs of and provision for adults with disabilities and/or learning difficulties in England. It arose from the requirement of an Act of Parliament, in 1992 and states that; the new national funding council for further education should 'have regard' for such students in all its work of funding, development and evaluation. ITSLIFE ~ Learning for Teaching
‘We believe that learning can only be fully effective if it is inclusive’ ~ Tomlinson 1996, csie.org.uk
“Learning Works” the report of the Further Education Funding Council’s committee on widening participation in Further Education (June 1997), chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaw. “The Learning Age” (Feb 1998), the government consultation paper on lifelong learning, and the formal response to the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education’s report Higher Education in the Learning Society. Key points being; more assessable learning opportunities, removing barriers i.e. financial, disability, investing in 16 + learners and improve quality.
The Wolf report March 2011) Key points being; motivate young people to take the most valuable vocational qualifications pre-16, introducing study programmes for post-16 to ensure they are gaining skills which will lead to progression into a variety of jobs or further learning, especially those who haven’t done so well in English and mathematics to continue to study those subjects. To ensure apprenticeships deliver the right skills for the workplace, restructuring of the Qualification, Credit Framework (QCF) and enabling FE lecturers and professionals to teach in schools, ensuring young people are being taught by those best suited to do so. ~ education.gov.uk Unfortunately with the changes in political power come changes in legislation. This year saw the withdrawal of EMA’s; this has caused distress for many learners who are on low income. Although only £30 per week, this could mean the difference between being able to afford to go to college or not. With the increases in University charges and the prospect of post graduates being left with huge debts to pay, or being told by job centres they are ‘over qualified ‘ so no jobs for them, it seems as though there has been a u turn in all the progress that had been made in the last decade and a half. Only time will tell what impact this will have on students and how many will want or be able to continue with their studies and what divide may be caused between those who can and can’t afford to do this. In recent years, with the poor economic climate, many businesses have collapsed making people redundant. Faced with life changing decisions of having to change their career path and learning new skills; as the competition for jobs with the skills they have may be too great, some of these individuals haven’t been in the education system for many years and are faced in some circumstances with a frightening prospect of starting all over again. If they have had bad experiences in the past...
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