The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

Inclusion: the data and debate

Keeping inclusion at the heart of what you do, while maintaining excellent levels of progress for all pupils: is such a thing possible, and what do the numbers tell us?

In the first part of this series we considered what the term ‘inclusion’ constitutes in the modern day, and in the second we looked at the views of the young people themselves.

In this post, we will consider the ability of schools to maintain an inclusive ethos in the current climate of wider educational pressures.

I don’t pretend to offer a solution through this post. Instead, I merely look to highlight some of the key issues and support the view that being inclusive doesn't preclude achieving high outcomes for all.

Fight for the right

Too often, a failure to be inclusive is excused as part of the ‘standards’ debate. In striving for a good league table position and improved inspection outcomes, too many schools feel they must deny disabled young people and those with complex SEN a place at their school. Even when some young people with SEND do secure a place at their local schools, illegal exclusions blight their education.

Overall, young people with SEND often have to fight for their basic human right to attend a school of their choice and be given equal treatment to their peers.

I don’t pretend to be a data expert. Actually, the statistical outcomes for our young people with SEND are very much an ‘associated consequence’ of our inclusive values; we don’t start by looking at grades/academic outputs when planning for individuals, we look at the individual and what is right for them.

However, it does show that you can be an inclusive school whilst still maintaining excellent progress for all young people.

1730_001

I am often at point to remind myself about inspection guidance – a young person’s age and starting point being key factors in this. It is important to stress that progress and attainment is all relative to the individual – that is what an inclusive system is about! You can be an inclusive school and have positive outcomes for everyone involved.

Our inclusive approach has produced very positive RAISEonline results (all our SEND groups were deemed ‘sig+’) and our NEETS figure has been zero for the last two years. The important point is that you can still be an ‘outstanding’ school when adopting inclusive practices, if chasing an Ofsted measure is your main priority!

Of course, this takes hard work: the creation of an appropriate, inclusive curriculum offer and a creative whole-school approach. Sadly, this is seldom of interest to headteachers and governing bodies that are looking for short-term gains and routes to purely academic successes. Perhaps that is what makes the world an interesting place: our different values and attitudes?

Whatever your views on this issue may be, my views are quite clear. Firstly, when schools put in the hard work they create the conditions for success and opportunity; and secondly, young people with complex SEND can achieve success when properly included in their school communities. Are they included in yours?

In the next part of this series, we will explore the views of parents and carers on inclusion.

Accrediting inclusion

The SEND Inclusion Award provides a framework for recognising outstanding SEND provision in schools, and identifying areas that have high or little impact on your pupils' outcomes.

To find out more, visit the AwardPlace website.

 

Categories: 

Subscribe to Optimus Education's Blog

Join other educators and get the latest Optimus blogs direct to your inbox.
Your data is safe with us: Privacy Policy

Similar Posts

Gareth D Morewood

Investing in interventions: what does the research tell us?

What makes an intervention effective? How are schools to decide what to fund or deliver? Gareth D Morewood explains what we can glean from the existing literature. I've been involved in many discussions around how we evidence the effectiveness of interventions in improving learning outcomes,...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SEND reforms implementation: for better or worse?

A humble SENCO's honest appraisal of the progress we've made over the last four years. 1 April 2018 was a significant date, circled on calendars and etched into memories, for one reason: the end of the implementation period for the SEND Reforms. Or so we thought… There are many ‘old’ Statements of...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Five for Easter: looking back at the spring term

With the Easter break in full swing, it's a good time to take stock of the term just gone and consider your SEND priorities going forward. While you are tucking into your Easter eggs, here are five of my latest blog posts that you may have missed. Role models help us define by ability, not...
Read more...