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An Approach to Inclusion

This introduction to the project will define inclusion in society; give a brief
overview of relevant legislation relating to inclusion; highlight that inclusion is
different to integration; define inclusive education and introduce the Index to
Inclusion (Booth & Ainscow, 2002) which will be used to structure the
successful development of inclusive practise in all of our different educational
Defining Inclusion
Inclusion as a concept can be difficult to define as it comes with lots of
different social and cultural semantics. We recognise that inclusion in
education is one aspect of inclusion in society (Booth & Ainscow, 2002)
therefore to begin to define inclusion in education we need to have an
overview of inclusion in society.
Inclusion can be defined as the act or state of being part of something larger.
In a social context inclusion means every person has the possibility to
participate fully and equally in all social processes - right from the beginning
and regardless of individual skills, ethnic- or social origin, sex or age.
Inclusion is something which cannot be done to people, it is something in
which people are actively involved (Norwich, 1999). By valuing and
respecting human diversity, the practice of inclusion fosters a sense of
community and belonging, enabling all people to participate in every area of
Legislation (United Nations (1989))
Inclusion has been seen as a process that is relevant to all children in a school,
but particularly focussing on those groups who have historically been
marginalised or under achieved in schools. When considering inclusion
specifically in relation to education it seems appropriate to refer to several
articles from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 23 (children with disability)
A child with a disability has the right to live a full and decent life with dignity
and independence, and to play an active part in the community. Governments
must do all they can to provide support to disabled children.
Article 28 (right to education)
Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free.
Secondary education must be available to every child. Discipline in schools
must respect childrens dignity. Richer countries must help poorer countries
achieve this.

Article 29 (goals of education)

Education must develop every childs personality, talents and abilities to the
full. It must encourage the childs respect for human rights, as well as respect
for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
Policies and legislation (adapted from
Most countries, including the six involved in this project, have developed
policies and legislation to implement inclusive education.
In the UK the Equality Act 2010 places a duty on schools and Local
Authorities not to discriminate against pupils with disabilities: they must not
treat disabled pupils less favourably and must take reasonable steps to avoid
putting these pupils at a substantial disadvantage. It also requires public
bodies like schools and local authorities to have regard to eliminating
discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between different
groups of people.
In Finland the comprehensive reform of school legislation in 1998 and the
new Basic Education Act (628/1998) aim to guarantee educational equality
and equal educational services for all those subject to compulsory education.
Changes to the Basic Education Act came into force on 1 January, 2011 when
The Finnish National Board of Education revised the national core curriculum
for pre-primary and basic education according to new provisions. The aim is
to strengthen the pupil's right to early, preventive support in learning and
growth and special support, if needed.
In Spain the Organic Law of Education 2/2006, 3rd May sets out its principles
in the Preliminary Title Chapter I. Principles and Aims of Education. Article 1.
a) Quality education for all students, regardless of their condition and
b) Equity that guarantees equal opportunities, educational inclusion and nondiscrimination and that acts as a compensating factor for the personal
cultural, economic and social inequalities, with special emphasis on those
derived from disabilities.
c) The transmission and application of values that favour personal liberty,
responsibility, democratic citizenship, solidarity, tolerance, equality, respect
and justice and that also help to overcome any type of discrimination.
In Latvia the Law on Education adopted in 1998 defines the main
organizational principles and procedures of educational services and the Law
on General Education adopted in 1999 defines the organizational principles
and procedures of general education services. The Law on Education identifies
special education as general and professional education adapted for persons
with special needs and health problems, or with special needs or health
In Greece the new Law 3699/2008 Special Education and education of
people with disability or special educational needs regulates all the issues
concerning the degree of the learning difficulties that pupils may meet during
the everyday education process either in the mainstream or in the special

system of education. It is based on the internationally recognised

characteristics of a school for all and on the European Union principles for
inclusion and equal opportunities.
In Germany based on the following Article in the Basic Law, in April 2001 the
new Social Welfare Code IX (SGBIX) has come into force. Introduction of
article: Art. 3, Abs. 3, Satz 2 : Nobody must have disadvantages due to his/her
handicap. It summarises the legal bases of medical and vocational
rehabilitation. The main focus is not only the welfare and care of disabled
people, but autonomous participation at the social level as well as the
elimination of obstacles and the establishment of equal opportunities.

Evolving from Integration to Inclusion

We often hear the words integrated or included to describe a classroom
setting. In some cases the terms are used interchangeably however there are
significant differences between the two.
The concept of inclusion replaced the earlier term integration, which was
used in the 1980s to refer to the placement of pupils with special educational
needs in mainstream schools the problem with defining integration solely in
terms of placement is that it tells us little about the quality of the education
received in that context. The integration movement was based on an
assimilation model. Its emphasis was on providing supports to individual
students to enable them to fit in to the mainstream programme without any
changes being made to that programme. In contrast to integration, inclusion
is about the pupils right to participate fully in school life and the schools duty
to welcome and accept them. (Winter & ORaw, 2010)
Inclusive education appears in the field of Special Education with a clear
purpose: to fight against the exclusion situations that have been occurring
under the shelter of school integration. Consequently, inclusive education has
been postulated as the most effective mean to combat discriminatory
attitudes, creating welcoming communities, constructing an inclusive society
and building an education system useful for every child while becoming more
cost-effective (UNESCO, 1994).
Defining Inclusive Education
There is no single interpretation of the concept of inclusive education it has
various meanings for people in differing times and context. However the
following definition of educational inclusion relating to learners summed up
in Bristol LEAs Inclusive Education Policy seems to encompass much of
current thinking:
The process by which all those who provide education whether in schools,
early years or lifelong learning settings develop their cultures, policies and
practices so as to include all learners. It is a crucial part of strategic planning
for improvement. Educationally inclusive institutions are ones in which the
learning, achievements, attitudes and well being of all learners matter. They

are able to engender a sense of community and belonging, and also offer new
opportunities to learners who may have experienced previous difficulties. This
does not mean that they treat all learners the same way. Rather, it involves
taking account of learners varied life experiences and needs. Educational
inclusion is about equal opportunities for all learners, whatever their age,
gender, ethnic origin, religious belief, care status, impairment, sexuality,
attainment or social or economic background. It pays particular attention to
the provision made for, and the achievement of, different groups of learners.
However, it also goes much further, and is about tackling the
underachievement and exclusion of groups who have been marginalized or
disadvantaged in the past, through taking positive action and through the
targeting of resources to ensure that they have their rights upheld. OFSTED
In addition to this figure 1 from the Index for Inclusion states that inclusion in
education involves:

Valuing all student and staff equally.

Increasing the participation of students in, and reducing their exclusion
from, the cultures, curricula, and communities of local schools.
Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools so that they
respond to the diversity of students in the locality.
Reducing barriers to learning and participation for all students, not
only those with impairments or those who are categorised as having
special educational needs.
Learning from attempts to overcome barriers to the access and
participation of particular students to make changes for the benefit of
students more widely.
Viewing the difference between students as resources to support
learning, rather than problems to overcome.
Acknowledging the right of students to an education in their locality.
Improving schools for staff as well as for students.
Emphasising the role of schools in building community and developing
values, as well as increasing achievement.
Fostering mutually sustaining relationships between schools and
Recognising that inclusion in education is one aspect of inclusion in
(Booth and Ainscow 2002)

There is a wealth of literature regarding inclusion and inclusive education. We
have agreed to use the Index of Inclusion as a reference document to develop
our work on inclusive practices. Priorities for development are laid out in the
Index for Inclusion as: creating inclusive cultures; producing inclusive policies

and evolving inclusive practices. The Index is a resource to support the

inclusive development of schools. It is a comprehensive document that can
help schools to find their own next steps in developing their inclusive
practices. The Index sets out an ongoing process which includes five phases:
phase 1 getting started with the index; phase 2 finding out about the school;
phase 3 producing an inclusive school development plan; phase 4
implementing priorities and phase 5 reviewing the index process.
Each school involved in the project is starting in a different place. In order to
improve each school will have to analyse its own reality including identifying
barriers to learning, develop a plan of improvement, define the strategies to
achieve goals set and evaluate the work done.
Booth, T and Ainscow, I (2002) Index to Inclusion: Developing Learning and
Participation in Schools. CSIE: London [accessed March 2013]
Norwich, b. (1999) The Connotation of Special Education Labels for Professionals in
the Field. British Journal of Special Education. Volume 26, Issue 4, pp: 179183
OFSTED (2000) Evaluating Educational Inclusion London: OFSTED.
UNESCO (1994) The Salamanca Statement. United Nations: Spain
United Nations (1989) Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Winter, E and ORaw, P. (2010) Literature review on the principles and practices
relating to inclusive education for children with special educational needs. Meath: