22 steps on the journey to inclusion

#IncludED in the Main?! is ENABLE Scotland’s national conversation about the reality of educational experiences for young people in Scotland who have learning disabilities.

Informed by over 800 responses, #IncludED in the Main?! shows that inclusive education is still far from a reality for many young people who have learning disabilities.

Too many are still excluded: from classroom and curriculum, by friends and peers, and from opportunities that make up the whole spectrum of school life.

#IncludED in the Main?! did not set out to apportion blame. It set out to listen.  Our challenge now to Government at all levels is to listen. Listen to the pan-perspective views shared by more than 800 young people who have learning disabilities, their parents and carers, and the education workforce who work with them, who took part in #IncludED in the Main?!

Listen and Act. Act to make truly inclusive education a reality.

Recommendation 1:

The Scottish Government should replace current guidance on the duty to provide mainstream education with holistic guidance for local authorities on delivering truly inclusive education; properly framing the
implementation of the legal presumption to mainstream with children’s’ best interests and well-being at its core.

Recommendation 2:

Lessons on Learning Disability should be embedded into the curriculum for all students.  Pupils who have a learning disability themselves should be empowered to be have a key role in this.

Recommendation 3:

Scottish Government and Education Scotland must ensure plans within the National Improvement Framework to measure progress on wellbeing, equality and inclusion, genuinely reflect the voices of young people who have learning disabilities.

Recommendation 4:

Education Scotland should embed greater accountability for inclusion by mandating School Inspectors to ask explicit questions on full participation in school trips and extra-curricular activities, and report on any barriers to that, as part of all school inspections.

Recommendation 5:

Scottish Government should provide guidance on self-directed support for children and families, and encourage the application of Self-Directed Support to support inclusion in wider school life.

Recommendation 6:

Scottish Government should review access to Self-Directed Support for families with disabled children and implement strategies to improve assessment for and uptake of this.

Recommendation 7:

Additional Investment in the Scottish Attainment Challenge should be targeted at reducing inequality of opportunity for children and young people who have learning disabilities.

Recommendation 8:

The Scottish Government should urgently explore ways to deliver National Standardised Assessments
that are fully inclusive by establishing a short-life expert working-group.

Recommendation 9:

The Scottish Government should continue to invest in the specialist employability support in schools, provided by the third sector; ensuring models of good practice become universal.

Recommendation 10:

Through the development of a strategy for families with disabled children, the Scottish Government should bring together policy, legislation, and funding, to ensure support, information, and advice, is available to every parent of a disabled child; embedding the processes to ensure access to this is routinely facilitated by professional points of contact equipped to do so.

Recommendation 11:

Scottish Government should urgently extend plans to gather evidence on ‘initial teacher education programmes’ coverage of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing to include coverage of additional support for learning needs within those measurements.

Recommendation 12:

Modules on Disability inclusion, ASN strategies and Positive Behaviour Support should be incorporated into both Initial Teacher Education programmes, and the new Masters Qualification for Headship.

Recommendation 13:

Scottish Government should commission new accredited CPD courses on: learning disability, Positive Behaviour Support and supporting families with disabled children.  And monitor uptake by all education staff nationally as part of National Improvement Framework.

Recommendation 14:

Scottish Government and COSLA should establish a national Commission on the role of classroom support in Scotland pursuant to a standardised role, supported by a national training programme, and guidance on appropriate deployment.

Recommendation 15:

Scottish Government and Local Authorities must renew and continue investment in the role the role of Additional Support for Learning Teachers, through the creation of an elevated post, and direct action to recruit and retain skilled staff into these positions.

Recommendation 16:

Scottish Government should establish a National Centre for Excellence on Learning Disability Education to: develop and accredit CPD; promote and disseminate best practice; create cutting edge resources; and support teachers to develop teaching strategies.

Recommendation 17:

Scottish Government, COSLA, and Local Authorities must work together to urgently review and take action to standardise and improve practice around the early identification and recording of additional
support for learning needs.

Recommendation 18:

The Scottish Government should issue guidance on coordination of plans to remove complexity from the system.

Recommendation 19:

Scottish Government should support local authorities and school leadership to implement an annual process of considering all pupil support needs and resourcing requirement to meet the collective learning needs identified by individual learning plans.

Recommendation 20:

National and Local monitoring of those whole school learning needs plans should then inform national and local commissioning of specialist input.

Recommendation 21:

Scottish Government and Education Scotland must take urgent action to increase visibility, and reduce
incidence rates, of unrecorded exclusions through the School Inspection regime.  School Inspections should include explicit questioning on instances of unrecorded exclusion, and request evidence of adapted pupil support strategies to reduce incidence rates.

Recommendation 22:

Scottish Government must be clear in Guidance that exclusion is not a proper response to wellbeing issues arising at school, and any decision to reduce attendance at school, rather than providing additional support, must be underpinned by a transparent decision making process.

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