Maybe I am slightly late to the party, however over recent weeks there has been alot of discussion on Twitter with regards to Inclusion of pupils with SEND in mainstream education and a number of blogs which have followed. I am grateful to @JulesDaulby for collating many of them on her blog site here: https://mainstreamsen.wordpress.com/
As I write this I am fully aware of how controversial and emotive this topic can be and how definitions of what ‘Inclusion’ actually is can vary so much, hence, as pondered what it meant to me, it led me to the title of this blog.
Time for me to put my two penneth in………………
I would personally like to approach inclusion from the perspective of all of our pupils being on a continuum of learning needs. In this context, for me inclusion is about a personalised learning package which meets each pupil’s individual and holistic needs. That would include their learning environment whether mainstream, special, part – time in each, unit etc but also their personalised curriculum. For me it is not about one or the other being a preferred option – it is about what ever is the most appropriate for the individual to meet their needs.
I get frustrated in many ways when I hear links to mainstream schools for our pupils with SEND being referred to as ‘inclusion’ as if they are not included in the system without this. Don’t get me wrong, we work closely with mainstream schools to support them to be as ‘inclusive’ as possible in terms of educating as many pupils with SEND in mainstream settings as possible, however, for some of our pupils, the most ‘inclusive’ setting to meet their needs is actually a base in a specialist setting either for all, most or some of the time.
I know there are many imperfections in the system in terms of being able to achieve the optimum of personalisation however, my personal position is that I do not see the existence of specialist provisions as being a barrier to inclusion but an essential part of a multi- faceted education system in which I will continue to advocate on behalf of all of our pupils in ensuring their individual needs are met in the best possible way.