Question 6: Are there any areas missing, requiring strengthening, or which are not required and could be removed?
Yes/no responses – all respondents
The above question was asked in relation to the Delivering Inclusion section in the draft guidance document. This section was developed to provide guidance for schools, teachers and practitioners to help guide their inclusive practice. It examines how to deliver inclusion in and out of school and focusses on eight key areas.
Overall, over half (56%) of respondents stated that there were areas missing, requiring strengthening or which were not required and could be improved.
The majority of the respondents to this question provided comments on the eight key areas identified within the section. A wide range of comments and opinions were provided, the most common views are highlighted below:
- Inclusive schools values and ethos - It was felt that this section was light on detail and needed to be expanded and aligned more closely to the vision and principles set out earlier in the draft guidance document. It was felt that a commitment to inclusive education had to be reinforced at a national and strategic level through regional improvement collaboratives, the development of the headteachers charter and development of any further headship/leadership work.
- Leadership - Comments received on this area focussed on how crucial effective leadership was in being a driver for change and linked into comments made above about ensuring that this fed through to leadership at local authority, regional collaborative and national levels.
- Constructive challenge to attitudes - Respondents highlighted that the attitudes of those involved could be a significant barrier and that some of those working in education required training, coaching and support to enable them to work in an inclusive way.
- Evaluation of planning processes - Respondents commented on how important it was that children and young people could participate in the planning of their learning and that pupil voice was valued within a school. It was felt by some that this should be expanded or included as an area on its own. Others emphasised the importance of this area as a whole in meeting children's needs, that measuring of progress was crucial and that it should be remembered that assessment has to form part of this process.
- Capacity to deliver inclusion - Respondents commented that building capacity was often affected by resource issues and the ability of staff to be able to respond to build their skills due to lack of time, the physical environment or reduction in opportunities for professional learning. It was felt that the section should be expanded to look to build an approach for all those delivering education – support assistants, teachers and leaders. It was also felt important to bear in mind that capacity within a school was not constant and could be affected by many factors and that what building capacity might look like might be very different depending on the environment – primary/secondary/mainstream/special provision.
- Parental and carer engagement - Respondents emphasised the importance of this section, in particular, the importance of working in partnership with parents and carers, ensuring their views were listened to and that they were kept up to date with their children's progress. An equal number of respondents emphasised the importance of parental responsibility and accountability in ensuring that children got the most from their education.
- Early intervention, prevention and strong relationships - Respondents felt that this section was important and required strengthening. It was felt that there should be more emphasis on partnership working with other agencies as partnership working was crucial to working in an inclusive way (as highlighted above). It was felt that there had to be more of an emphasis on early years (including reference to how Good is our Early Education and Childcare) and there should be mention of adverse childhood experience work and nurture groups as part of that.
- Removal of barriers to learning - Respondents commented that they felt that this area lacked detail and didn't set out how the removal of barriers could be achieved.
A few respondents provided a number of other more general comments. The most frequently mentioned are highlighted below:
- The importance of training was emphasised and although it was touched on under constructive challenge and capacity it was felt that those references should be strengthened or thought given to creating a separate area.
- Respondents mentioned the importance of enhanced transitions between nursery and primary school, primary and secondary school and secondary school and moving into adult life.
- There was also mention of the importance of engaging with communities and ensuring that they understood the importance of inclusion.
- There was a feeling that areas should be broken down to look at addressing individual needs of children and young people rather than looking at it as a whole.
Consistent with answers to other questions, many respondents raised concerns about the system generally. There was a concern that current practice could not support the delivery of inclusion set out within the section of the document. The biggest concern was lack of resources to support delivery of the aims of the draft guidance and that training and support would need to be put in place to make it work in practice. Other issues of concern were that mainstream doesn't work for all and the impact that the policy in practice can have on all children in a classroom environment.