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Removing barriers to achievement - Response to the Government's SEN Policy

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Introduction

In response to the Government's SEN strategy 'Removing barriers to achievement' a spokesperson for the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education said, "Segregated schooling does not lead to inclusion. It perpetuates discrimination, devaluation, stigmatism, stereotyping, prejudice and isolation. Disabled adults identify these conditions as the biggest barrier to respect, participation and a rewarding life in mainstream society". Critically examine this viewpoint. 'Removing barriers to achievement', DCSF 1 (2004), is the Government's strategy for special educational needs (SEN). This strategy follows discussion with a wide range of practitioners and policy makers in schools, Local Authorities, the health service and the voluntary sector as well as children and young people. The document sets out the Government's vision for the education of children with SEN and disabilities. It covers four key areas: Early intervention - to ensure that children who have difficulties learning receive the help they need as soon as possible and that parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities have access to suitable childcare. � Removing barriers to learning - by embedding inclusive practice in every school and early years setting. � Raising expectations and achievement - by developing teachers' skills and strategies for meeting the needs of children with SEN and sharpening the focus on the progress children make. � Delivering improvements in partnership - taking a hands-on approach to improvement so that parents can be confident that their child will get the education they need. The Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE) is an independent centre, set up in 1982, actively supporting inclusive education as a human right of every child. Its aim is to reduce the role of the special schools by pushing for all mainstream schools to be accessible to all. They are funded by donations from charitable trusts and foundations, with additional income from sale of publications and small grants for research or other projects. The CSIE website (Anon1), states that its work is 'driven by a commitment to overcome barriers to learning and participation for all children and young people'. ...read more.

Middle

It is critical to ensure that high quality provision is available locally before special school places are reduced, � co-locating special and mainstream schools, the development of resourced provision and special units in mainstream and dual registration can all help children to move between special and mainstream schools and support transition to mainstream education, as can effective use of specialist SEN support services. Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), states on it's website, www.unesco.org, that: "Inclusive education is based on the right of all learners to a quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives. Focussing particularly on vulnerable and marginalised groups, it seeks to develop the full potential of every individual. The ultimate goal of inclusive quality education is to end all forms of discrimination and foster social cohesion". Unesco (2009) In November 2008, Unesco's International Conference on Education took place. It's theme was 'Inclusive education: the way of the future' Anon 2 (2008). Diane Richler (2008), president of Inclusion International, presented reasons for inclusion for all on the basis of the 'The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' which states that: � persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability; � persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live; � reasonable accommodation of the individual's requirements is provided; � persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education; � effective individualised support measures are provided in environments that maximise academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion. Unesco's view is also idealistic, and does not take into account what everyone wants, however, it's research does look at inclusion that happens successfully in some schools in some other countries. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the short term, and until such time that funding and training is provided, it would seem that the Government are finding a realistic route towards inclusion for all, whilst being aware of the benefits of inclusion it is also recognising that inclusion in mainstream schooling isn't necessarily suitable or wanted by everyone. References: Anon 1, available online at http://www.csie.org.uk/inclusion/human-rights.shtml, accessed 3/6/09 Anon 2 (2008), Inclusion International, available online at http://www.inclusion-international.org/en/ii_priority_areas/ie/index.html, accessed 6/6/09 Anon 3 (2006), Overcoming Barriers to Learning, available online at http://www.learningmatters.co.uk/sampleChapters/pdfs/184445052X-5.pdf, accessed 9/6/09 Anon 4 (2008), National Curriculum, available online at http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/key-stages-3-and-4/organising-your-curriculum/inclusion/statutory_inclusion_statement/index.aspx, accessed 5/6/09 DCSF 1 (2004), Removing barriers to achievement - The Government's strategy for special educational needs, available online at: http://nationalstrategies. standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/84855, downloaded 3/6/09 DCFS 2 (2009), available online at http://nationalstrategies.standards. dcsf.gov.uk/primary/features/inclusion/sen/idp, accessed 7/6/09 DfES 1 (2009), Standards and Effectiveness Unit (SEU), available online at www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/seu, accessed 10/6/09 DirectGov, (2009), available online at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/ DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/DG_4001076, accessed 5/6/09 Mittler, P, (2000), Working Towards Inclusive Education - Social Contexts, David Fulton Publishers, London Viv (2009), Parent's Forum, available online at http://www.specialneedsuk.org/parents/index.htm, accessed 10/6/09 Richler, D (2008), available online at http://www.inclusion-international.org/site_uploads/File/ICE%20Richler.ppt#2, accessed 8/6/09 Unesco (2009), available online at http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education, accessed 6/6/09 Walker, G, Walker, D, and Webb, J, (2001), The Making of the Inclusive School, Routledge, London Appendix 1 The P scales The P scales area provides guidance to support the effective use of P scales in order to improve outcomes for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) who are working below level 1 of the National Curriculum. Reporting P scales is mandatory from September 2007, this means that schools must now use P scales to provide data for pupils with SEN who are working below level 1 of the National Curriculum. The use of P scales is central to our commitment to recognise the attainment and progress of pupils with SEN, aged 5-16, who are working below level 1 of the National Curriculum. As mainstream schools and settings become more inclusive there will be an increasing need to include P scales in the whole school assessment and planning cycle as part of the continuum of learning and development. ...read more.

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