count us in Achieving Inclusion in Scottish Schools A report by HM Inspectorate of Education

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1 count us in Achieving Inclusion in Scottish Schools A report by HM Inspectorate of Education

2 Achieving inclusion in Scottish schools Foreword Traditionally, the Scottish education system has prided itself on promoting equality of educational opportunity and inclusion in its broadest sense. The most effective schools have always valued each child as an individual and constantly sought fresh ways to help realise ambition and develop talent to the full. However, significant numbers of young people leave compulsory education without the intellectual and social skills which are necessary for adult life. Increasing social complexity together with heightened expectations have posed additional challenges to schools. A number of individual teachers, schools, local authorities and other agencies which support families and young people have responded successfully and imaginatively to these challenges. This report, which is based on a survey undertaken by HMIE of good practice in Scottish schools, is a contribution to improving our understanding of effective practice. It recognises the very real difficulties which inclusion can present for teachers and schools but also makes it clear that inclusion must never be used to excuse poor standards. Individuals who are at risk of being marginalised or alienated from schooling must be supported effectively. High expectations, high achievement and real success are essential components of successful inclusion. Closer working partnerships amongst all of the professionals responsible for supporting young people and families are needed if barriers to learning are to be overcome. The flexibility offered by the national improvement agenda challenges schools and education authorities to think and work creatively to meet all pupils needs. New ways of working must be well grounded, carefully planned and rigorously evaluated. It is equally important that systems of accountability, not least inspection, support authorities and schools in delivering effective inclusive education. As in other aspects of quality, the achievement of real inclusion requires clear vision and effective leadership at all levels in the system. This report identifies important messages for practice in the context of recent legislative, policy and educational developments in Scottish education. It is the first in a series of HMIE contributions on this important subject. Graham Donaldson HM Senior Chief Inspector December

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4 1 Introduction: why a report on inclusive education? 1.1 The terms inclusive schools, inclusive schooling and inclusive education are being used increasingly in Scotland and beyond, both in educational research and in the development of education policy at local and national levels. This increased emphasis on inclusion is reflected clearly in the recently established set of national priorities for Scottish education. 1.2 The complexity of the issues involved has given rise to debate, particularly with regard to how schools relate to the wider social and educational context in which they operate. What can schools do to achieve the ideals of inclusive education? How can they reconcile pressures to deliver high overall levels of attainment with equal concern for individuals who are at risk of being marginalised or alienated from schooling? What can schools reasonably expect to achieve in the face of deep-seated economic and social disadvantage? The evidence of this report supports the notion that schools have an important contribution to make in the pursuit of inclusion, although to do so they need to be able to work in effective partnerships with other agencies. 1.3 The way in which terms like inclusive education have been defined has been open to wide interpretation. It is important to develop a shared view of what inclusion means in practical terms. It is equally important to recognise that there is no single route towards inclusion that will suit all schools. The particular circumstances of the schools and the communities they serve will strongly influence the approach which is pursued within any single establishment. This report therefore does not seek to present a definitive picture. Rather, it is intended to contribute to our understanding of how the concept of inclusive education can be applied in practice in all schools. 1.4 In the past, interpretations of the terms inclusive schools and inclusive education have often focused on including pupils with additional support needs, for example learning difficulties or social, emotional or behavioural needs, in the mainstream of schooling. Increasingly, however, a broader definition of inclusive education is gaining currency in Scotland and beyond. This broader definition relates not only to pupils who have particular needs, but also to the entitlement of all pupils to receive a high quality experience from the education system. The key elements of this broader philosophy of education are not new, but they are being expressed more directly by many schools within statements of vision and in aims that promote specifically the school as an inclusive institution. 3

5 An inclusive approach to education involves: creating an ethos of achievement for all pupils within a climate of high expectation; valuing a broad range of talents, abilities and achievements; promoting success and self-esteem by taking action to remove barriers to learning; countering conscious and unconscious discrimination that may prevent individuals, or pupils from any particular groups, from thriving in the school; and actively promoting understanding and a positive appreciation of the diversity of individuals and groups within society. 1.5 Implementing this broader view of inclusion is not an easy matter. It requires that provision is planned to address a very wide range of needs within schools and within education authorities as a whole. Major challenges are presented, for example, by the need to address better the needs of pupils who are alienated or disaffected from school, or by the commitment to educating pupils with special needs in more inclusive ways. These are real challenges facing individual teachers as they try to ensure that the conditions are right for all pupils to achieve their best in their classrooms. Improving the extent to which mainstream schools can provide effectively for a wider range of needs is certainly part of the answer. Developing the range of specialist provision and support, as part of an integrated approach to providing an inclusive school system, is also an essential element in any overall approach. 1.6 The evidence base for the report includes: evidence from visits by inspectors to a sample of primary, secondary and special schools which had been identified as illustrating good practice in a range of aspects of educational inclusion; evidence of good practice, particularly in the sphere of support for pupils, from primary, secondary and special schools inspected as part of the HMIE inspection programme over the period 1998 to 2002; evidence of effective practice in new community schools, and schools participating in alternatives to exclusion, early intervention and other initiatives; views expressed in focus groups of headteachers of primary, secondary and special schools on the nature of inclusive educational practice; and research on developments in inclusive schooling, commissioned by the Scottish Executive in August 2000, from the University of London, Institute of Education. Chapter 2 sets the legislative, policy, educational and social context for developments towards more inclusive education in Scotland. Chapter 3 identifies the characteristics of inclusive institutions, with examples of good practice in developing inclusion within primary, secondary and special schools in Scotland. Chapter 4 sets out a series of possible indicators of successful outcomes for inclusive schools. Chapter 5 sets out some key messages about inclusive approaches to education. 4

6 We are as interested in the youngster who has survived despite all the odds and successfully takes his or her place in society, as we are in the youngster who successfully leaves us to go to the likes of Oxford or Cambridge. We are not particularly interested in short term gains through high profile one-off projects, more in the long game and using as many strategies as possible to meet the needs of our pupils. Secondary headteacher 5

7 2 The changing context 2.1 Schools and education authorities do not operate in isolation from political, social, economic and technological developments in society. They influence, and are influenced by national policy, legislation, guidance and advice. This chapter provides an overview of some relevant elements of this context. Developments in social policy and legislation 2.2 Changing perceptions of educational inclusion in Scotland partly reflect the development of social policy and concepts of social justice throughout the United Kingdom. The publication in 1998 of the UK Government s social inclusion strategy and the more recent publication of the Scottish Executive s social justice strategy were important statements of policy at a national level. 2.3 The Executive s social justice strategy ranges across all aspects of social policy including, for example, health, housing and employment. Its aim is to provide a comprehensive, integrated strategy for countering social disadvantage. Education, whilst not the only focus, is seen as having a very important role within this overall approach. 2.4 The Standards in Scotland s Schools etc. Act 2000 sets out expectations for schools and education authorities in relation to an individual child s right to education and their role in providing for it. The Act reflects a more inclusive philosophy of education by setting out: an assertion of the right of every child to an education that is aimed at developing the personality, talents, mental and physical abilities of the individual to their fullest potential; the importance of working in partnership and fully consulting parents and pupils on matters affecting their daily lives; and the presumption that the education of all pupils will normally be provided in a mainstream school unless exceptional circumstances apply. 6

8 2.5 Other relevant pieces of legislation include: the Human Rights Act 2000, which brings the European Convention of Human Rights within the legislative framework of Scotland; the Race Relations Act 1976 and the subsequent Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which make race discrimination illegal and place a general duty on public authorities, including schools and education authorities, to work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, to which the United Kingdom is a signatory; the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, which amended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled pupils and prospective pupils in relation to admissions, the provision of education and exclusions. It also requires the responsible body for a school to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled pupils are not substantially disadvantaged ; and the Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils Educational Records) (Scotland) Act 2002, which brings in a requirement for bodies responsible for schools to prepare and implement an accessibility strategy to increase access to education for pupils with disabilities. 2.6 These legislative commitments, along with the national priorities for education, have very significant implications for the development of an education system which promotes educational inclusion and achievement for all. Frameworks for planning service delivery 2.7 Five national priorities for education were established in December While aspects of the inclusion agenda are evident across all five of these, one relates directly to Inclusion and Equality. It states that priority should be given to: promote equality and help every pupil benefit from education, with particular regard paid to pupils with disabilities and special educational needs, and to Gaelic and other lesser used languages. 2.8 The inclusion agenda is also being promoted nationally through a number of new planning frameworks for service provision at local authority level. These require integrated planning to various degrees across a range of agencies and service providers. 2.9 For Scotland s Children, the report of the Action Team on Better Integrated Children s Services, published in October 2001, set out a national agenda for improving the co-ordination of children s services in Scotland. The aim is to avoid the potential exclusion of vulnerable children from support. The recommendations of the report focus on making better use of existing resources, ensuring more effective communication among key agencies and improving access to universal children s services The community planning initiative is providing a new framework for local authorities and other organisations to come together in partnership to plan, provide and promote the well-being of their communities. It encourages the more active involvement of communities in decisions on local services that affect their lives such as education, health, transport, safety and the environment. A key task for community planning and community learning plans is to widen opportunities, enhance the quality of life for 7

9 those who are most vulnerable and develop positive lifestyles for young people who are alienated or at risk of being alienated from society. Schools have a key role to play in helping to take forward these aspirations Within local authorities, the children s service planning process has encouraged the co-ordinated planning of services for children of all ages across social work, education, health and other services. This process applies the principles of co-ordinated planning to the work of all agencies professionally involved with children and young people. This includes schools as well as capacity building for community and voluntary organisations. The need for better co-ordination of education and care for a particularly vulnerable group was highlighted in Learning with Care: The education of children looked after away from home by Local Authorities (2001), a joint report from HM Inspectors of Schools and the Social Work Services Inspectorate. The report indicated that positive progress was being made by some local authorities towards achieving more coherent support for looked-after children. However, in many cases there was a need for Children s Service Plans and reviews to give much greater emphasis to ensuring children s educational progress At the pre-school stages, childcare partnerships promote a co-ordinated strategy for expanding and improving childcare services, drawing together a range of providers. Links with community learning exist through the provision of support to parents and carers in accessing training and education and in the provision of training for childcare staff. Specific national initiatives 2.13 From 1998 to 2001, the Excellence Fund provided a core programme of national funding intended to support targeted action at local level. This funding was used to support a range of developments in specific areas, including: the development of alternatives to exclusion and multi agency support for pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties; support to include pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools and to promote equality of opportunity for pupils in special schools; the introduction of study support schemes, including homework clubs, breakfast, lunch and evening clubs, summer schemes, sports and arts activities; measures to support parents through support groups, family literacy and homelink teachers; and the introduction of classroom assistants and the reduction of class sizes Funding was also provided centrally through the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) and the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) for the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in schools. As well as providing hardware and staff development, these funds supported the development of online learning, out-ofschool learning and the encouragement of community access to school facilities Implementation of Scotland s National Cultural Strategy, published in 2000, also led to a range of initiatives which have the explicit intention of promoting inclusion by enhancing education through arts, culture and heritage. There has been a particular focus on increasing participation in socially disadvantaged areas. Developments linked 8

10 directly to schools have included the establishment of school co-ordinators for arts, culture and heritage, and increased numbers of sports co-ordinators. The appointment of school sports co-ordinators is aimed at widening pupils access to sports and leisure facilities and providing opportunities for talent to be developed. Dance development officers are also aiming to provide pupils with activities that release their expressive and creative talents The HMIE report Early Intervention , published in 2001, reflected the range of innovative approaches developed within the Executive s Early Intervention Programme. The report did not ascribe improvements in attainment to any one approach but reported a range of positive benefits arising from local initiatives, determined by local needs In 1998, the new community schools programme was launched as a key element in the strategy to promote social inclusion and raise educational standards. The aim was to bring together education, health, social work and a range of other agencies, to provide a more integrated and holistic support service for children and their families. As with the early intervention initiative, a high degree of local flexibility and partnership working was encouraged in addressing local needs. The lessons from new community school projects have fundamental implications for all schools. The approach is now being extended to all Education Authority schools This report focuses mainly on developments at the primary and secondary education stages. It is also important to note however, that national initiatives to promote educational inclusion are also underway at the pre-school stages. The Sure Start programme, for example, is providing a major source of additional funding for local authorities to develop a range of inter-agency support for vulnerable families with young children in partnership with Health Boards. Support is being targeted towards families in areas of greatest need. Policy and guidance on meeting special educational needs 2.19 In 1998 the publication of A manual of good practice in special educational needs presented detailed guidance on developing an inclusive approach which would promote fairness and opportunity for children and young people with special educational needs. It stressed the value of engaging in a genuine dialogue with children, young people and their parents. It also acknowledged the scale of the challenge that exists in enabling schools to develop fully-effective strategies for implementing more inclusive policies and practices In 1999 The Riddell Committee report highlighted economic, political and cultural factors which contribute to the marginalisation of groups and individuals with low-incidence disabilities. In its report, a strong focus was placed on action that needed to be undertaken to remove or circumvent barriers to both the educational and social inclusion of pupils. In their response, Improving our schools: special educational needs, Scottish Ministers welcomed the report and its strong endorsement of an inclusive approach to children with special needs Also in 1999, the Beattie Committee highlighted a number of issues which needed to be addressed in improving transition from school to further education and training. The HMIE report (2002) Moving on from School to College described and promoted good practice in this respect. 9

11 2.22 Substantial new legislative proposals for reform are currently being considered following national consultation on the issues set out in Assessing our children s needs: the way forward? (2001). The resulting new framework for defining and addressing special needs will be critical in taking forward the concept of inclusive education in Scotland. Promoting positive behaviour 2.23 Many debates on the practicalities of inclusion focus on the realities and challenges of providing for pupils whose behaviour poses significant challenges for schools The report of a national Task Group, Better Behaviour, Better Learning (2001), made a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to improve discipline, and therefore learning conditions, for all children and young people in schools. As well as considering how to reduce lowlevel disruptive behaviour, it highlighted the issues raised by children and young people who are severely disaffected from school, and those with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. It recommended that policies on teaching and learning, support for pupils and positive discipline should be integrated into a single framework of effective inclusive practice. It highlighted curricular flexibility as a positive means of providing access to an appropriate curriculum for pupils who are currently disaffected. The national action plan for following up the Task Group s recommendations has been backed by substantial targeted funding. It has supported growth in the provision of flexible support for pupils experiencing behavioural difficulties, including support bases in schools, and other facilities outwith the normal classroom environment The Task Group s report was complemented by the HMIE report on Alternatives to School Exclusion, which was also published in This report reviewed a set of pilot projects initiated in 1997 aimed at developing effective provision for addressing the needs of pupils exhibiting severe social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in ways that minimised or eliminated the need for exclusion. The health promotion and health education agenda 2.26 One significant barrier to full inclusion, both in school and perhaps to an even greater extent in life beyond school, is ill health. Increased incidence of poor health amongst children and adults, with all the adverse consequences that brings, is known to relate strongly to social disadvantage and lower achievement. In an attempt to break this cycle, there is an increasingly strong focus on the role of schools in health promotion. An extensive range of initiatives, aimed at schools and partner agencies working together, is being undertaken to tackle specific health hazards while at the same time promoting healthy living choices. The establishment of a national Health Promoting Schools Unit is a recent development, aimed at co-ordinating the drive towards health promotion in schools. An Expert Panel on School Meals has also been set up to look at the provision of nutritious school meals, in a way that encourages much greater take-up by pupils. Its interim report was published for consideration in June 2002 and its final report is planned to be completed by the end of Other initiatives illustrate further features of the health promoting agenda in Scotland. The revision of national guidelines on health education in the 5-14 curriculum, using the World Health Organisation s definition of physical, emotional, mental 10

12 and social health, focused attention on pupils ability to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. Drug education training for school staff and School Board Chairs is being extended, and drug addiction services for young people are being increased. As part of the national strategy for improving mental health and well-being, increasing numbers of councils are working with schools to promote approaches to emotional and mental health and mental health services are being extended. National advice on evaluating school effectiveness 2.28 Since the publication of the Effective primary schools and Effective secondary schools reports by HM Inspectors of schools in 1989 and 1988 respectively, and Effective provision for special educational needs in 1995, ideas about school effectiveness in Scotland have changed. The expectations and aspirations of users of the education system have also changed, as have perceptions about the place of the school in relation to its community The drive to improve school effectiveness in Scotland has been closely linked to the development of systematic approaches to self-evaluation. The publication of A Route to Equality and Fairness in 1999 by HM Inspectors of Schools in partnership with South Ayrshire Council, provided schools with approaches to evaluating their practice in combating discrimination and achieving equality of opportunity for success. A range of other publications was also produced to help schools to audit specific aspects of provision which had direct relevance to inclusion. For example, A Route to Health Promotion, published by HM Inspectors of Schools in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and the Health Education Board for Scotland, provided schools and partner agencies with tools for evaluating their work in promoting effectiveness through health In 2002, the publication of a new edition of How good is our school? provided an updated framework of quality indicators for use in self-evaluation by schools and in the inspection of schools by HMIE. The revised framework of indicators continues to focus on the importance of encouraging high levels of attainment, good learning and teaching and effective planning for improvement. It also reflects trends in the development of inclusive schooling by giving greater prominence to the context in which schools operate. For example, it recognises the importance of good links between schools and other support agencies for pupils, the inter-relationship between pupil achievement, health and well-being, and the need for a climate of respect, equality and fairness. Future developments 2.31 Other relevant developments are also in train. For example, the publication in June 2002 by Learning and Teaching Scotland of Education for Citizenship in Scotland: a paper for discussion and development, endorsed by Scottish Ministers, relates directly to educational inclusion. It is based on the premise that schools have an important role in developing the capacity of young people for responsible participation in political, economic, social and cultural life. This approach to education for citizenship articulates well with the broad definition of educational inclusion advocated in this report For the future, many of the national initiatives and programmes described earlier in this chapter are being broadened and developed under a new funding framework covering the period 2003 to The National Priority Action Fund, launched in 11

13 2002 as a result of review of the Excellence Fund and other funding streams, aims to rationalise previous initiatives with a focus on promoting the development of a more inclusive school system. The Fund will continue to encourage local flexibility. It will have as its key themes: the school in the community, including the roll-out of new community schools; social justice through educational inclusion, support for teachers and study support for pupils; discipline and ethos, including alternatives to exclusion and support for parents; and school infrastructure, including the National Grid for Learning Taken as a whole, these past and future developments provide a backdrop which will increasingly influence how schools develop more inclusive practice. 12

14 3 The characteristics of inclusive practice in schools 3.1 This chapter will draw on a wide body of evidence to show how practical steps have been taken in schools to turn the theory of inclusion into reality. The examples given are organised according to the framework in How good is our school?. They are intended to provide a source of ideas for education authorities, school managers and teachers who wish to analyse their own approaches and identify possible improvements. 3.2 The schools visited showed a diverse range of approaches towards promoting inclusion. In many cases they were taking action on a number of fronts, through a range of specific initiatives. Inspectors also explored the views of staff, pupils and parents on issues of inclusion and how they should be addressed. Whilst these perspectives were as wide-ranging as the practice seen in the schools, we have tried to reflect them clearly in the overview presented on the following pages. Ethos 3.3 The ethos established within a school community is of fundamental importance in establishing a climate in which every individual can prosper. The schools visited were generally characterised by a very positive ethos, reflecting strong shared values. These schools aimed to establish a climate in which there was a consistent emphasis on high expectations for all pupils, promoting and addressing issues of equality and fairness, and effective encouragement for all pupils to be fully involved in the life of the school. 13

15 Features of good practice in developing an inclusive ethos included: a school ethos that consistently reflected a set of clearly articulated values; a strong feeling amongst pupils, parents, staff and visitors that they were valued; a clear sense that pupils were known and treated as individuals by staff; a strong sense of pride in the school on the part of pupils; good relationships between staff and pupils, and amongst pupils; expectations of high standards in every aspect of school life based on the principle that only the best will do; a pro-active and positive approach to managing behaviour and discipline, based on encouraging self-awareness, self-respect and co-operation, and focused on improving the conditions for learning; a balance between pupils rights and their responsibilities to the school community; the allocation of an appropriate degree of responsibility to pupils within the school, for their own learning and, where appropriate, for supporting others; concern to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity and to value the contribution that diversity in language, religion, race, culture and special educational needs can make to the life of the school; opportunities for all pupils to experience success and a sense of achievement, to develop their self-esteem; full participation of individuals and groups with special needs in social as well as curricular activities; and high levels of consultation with pupils and parents on important aspects of school life and on the extent to which the school was meeting its aims. All staff work towards inclusion rather than integration. With integration, the child fits into the school. With inclusion, the school adjusts to the child. Primary headteacher In one small rural primary school, the inclusion of a pupil with severe learning difficulties had led to the learning of sign language by his peer group. In another similar school, pupils had acquired an unusually mature and sensitive understanding of the particular needs of children with rare medical conditions. 14

16 In two large urban secondary schools, very good use was made of systematic surveys of pupil opinion to include pupils more fully in the life of the school. Two types of survey had been carried out, in one case involving over 80% of the school population on a voluntary basis and in another with target groups of pupils at regular intervals. The surveys related to aspects of school life which had been identified as a priority by the school. They were designed to support continuous communication between senior managers in the school, pupils and parents about their perceptions of school life. Leadership and management 3.4 Across all of the schools visited, dynamic leadership and effective management of change were key ingredients of a successful drive towards greater educational and social inclusion. Effective headteachers had a clear vision of educational inclusion that was well communicated, and shared by staff. This vision was evident in how the head and other staff went about their day-to-day work and in the way they related to pupils, parents and other staff. It was based upon the values of the school and incorporated concern for wider dimensions of achievement and support for all pupils. In most cases, inclusion was firmly linked to school improvement, with a strong commitment to improving educational standards for all pupils. 3.5 Almost all of the schools visited had clearly defined aims that strongly reflected the concept of educational inclusion. In certain schools, a point was made of emphasising common aims for all pupils, including, for example, those with special needs. Effective aims were based on a rounded view of pupils. They emphasised the goal of maximising pupils attainment and achievements alongside an equal commitment to supporting their personal and social development as individuals. In one primary school, staff praised the visibility and accessibility of the headteacher who was around classes and the behaviour base. The headteacher was regarded as having a clear vision and philosophy, a can do response to problems and a focus on ends not means. Underpinning all these (strategies) are our attempts to promote a coherent set of values and approaches across departments so that our young people meet with a reasonable degree of consistency. Secondary headteacher 15

17 In one primary school with enhanced provision for pupils with special educational needs, the headteacher and staff had avoided having a range of separate policies for these pupils. They had been careful to minimise specific mention of pupils with special educational needs. Instead all school policies were written on an inclusion for all basis. The senior staff made it very clear that they really did mean for all. All pupils in the school had benefited. 3.6 The most effective schools generally incorporated inclusion issues into their overall approach to self-evaluation and development planning, rather than introducing separate procedures for the purpose. Evaluation of the school s success in meeting their stated aims was seen as very important. 3.7 There was no doubt that where monitoring and self-evaluation activities were focused on the needs of pupils, or on the extent to which the school was fulfilling its stated aims, schools priorities supported fuller educational inclusion more effectively. The same principle applied to the management of change and improvement through development planning. Features of good practice in leadership and management included: a clear vision and strategy for the development of inclusion, pursued effectively through strong leadership from the headteacher and other staff throughout the school; an open and accessible management style that sought to involve staff and pupils in decision making; good knowledge of individuals on the part of senior promoted staff; effective use of the school s staffing and resources to support and extend learning opportunities, with a focus on outcomes for children, and innovation and flexibility in the way these were achieved; concern to monitor the impact of such innovation on individuals and different groups of pupils; use of data on attendance, exclusions, participation in extra-curricular activities and attainment to evaluate progress in inclusion and to identify priorities for further action; priorities for the future that were clearly articulated in realistic development planning, shared and understood by the staff; a strong belief in building effective partnerships with other agencies which support children and families; a strong commitment to involving parents and the wider community in supporting effective learning and teaching; and procedures to ensure that the views of parents were sought, taken seriously and acted upon where practicable. 16

18 Policies should always address individuals rights. Primary headteacher Access to an inclusive curriculum 3.8 Schools in the survey placed a high priority on offering an inclusive curriculum, that is, a set of learning experiences for all pupils which reflected their needs and aspirations. Sustained efforts were made at whole-school and individual level to assess pupils curricular and social needs and to meet them. In some cases this involved interagency discussion to plan for the provision of highly individualised programmes. 3.9 In some schools, provision within the school was very clearly viewed as only one stage in a continuum of learning, stretching from the period before pupils entered the school until long after they had left. The school was seen as only one source of learning experiences for pupils, or of supporting pupils in their learning Almost all secondary schools had effective arrangements to help pupils to make decisions about their course choices and their future careers. Imaginative and varied use was often made of a range of sources of funding to meet the identified needs of pupils and of the community as a whole An increasingly flexible approach to making curricular provision was beginning to be developed. This was most evident in relation to groups of pupils who had particular needs. In the best practice, where a decision had been taken to move away from the nationally developed advice on the breadth and balance of the curriculum, this had been done against a clear educational rationale, which addressed positively the interests of the pupils concerned To be effective in promoting inclusion through the curriculum, schools relied on certain key systems which helped them identify and address curricular needs, namely: regular review of the rationale for the curriculum, in terms of its coherence, relevance and flexibility in responding to learners needs; effective systems for guidance, personal and social development and the care and welfare of pupils; appropriate procedures for assessing special educational needs; the integrated provision of services where appropriate, to enhance learning through multi-agency involvement, including, for example, community education, We try to ensure that no-one is deliberately excluded from any activity of the school or its curriculum, but recognise that not all activities are equally appropriate for all. So we deliberately widen the range of opportunities for all. Secondary headteacher 17

19 psychological services, social work services, health education and promotion services and the voluntary sector; and mechanisms which allowed effective cross-sectoral liaison, aimed at building on pupils prior attainment and experience. Features of good practice in managing the curriculum included: well-developed systems to review and monitor the range and balance of the curriculum offered in meeting the needs of pupils; curriculum planning which ensured a high but appropriate level of challenge for all pupils; effective links between, for example, pre-school centres and primary schools, primary and secondary schools, secondary schools and further education colleges, and among adjacent primary, secondary and special schools, including joint delivery of courses where appropriate; effective support for pupils at transition stages in their education to ensure smooth progression; good use of staffing, including inter-agency support teams, to offer flexible, alternative provision; a clear strategy to monitor and evaluate the impact of flexible provision; the promotion of healthy lifestyles as an underpinning principle of the curriculum; ways of ensuring that the learning opportunities offered by the school met the needs of pupils from all cultures represented in the school, used the different cultural experiences of pupils and their families, and made clear links to the context of the community; good links between the schools and the community through involvement in community events and with community groups; a wide range of extra-curricular activities, planned and provided to encourage pupils personal and social development; and ways of ensuring that all pupils could access extra-curricular and residential activities where parents had financial hardship or there were barriers of disability. 18

20 In one primary school serving an area of multiple deprivation, participation in a Comenius project had encouraged pupils to broaden their horizons through sharing their experiences with their peers in partner schools in Europe. Pupils began to see themselves as equal partners with a significant contribution to make, not only in their own school, but in the life of their partner schools in Europe. Two primary schools had increased the prominence given to the expressive arts within the curriculum, as a means of fostering success and achievement. A particularly high profile was given to drama as a means of fostering self-confidence and self-expression, and to art as a means of allowing some children to excel in a field which highlighted a different range of skills and abilities. One primary school had introduced a programme of initial careers education for P7 pupils, to ensure that they and their parents were well informed of the life choices they would be making at later stages. The programme included visits to local businesses and to a college of further education. The college staff and students had become involved with the school s home link team and with parents in planning improvements to the school grounds. Links had been established with local businesses, including an industrial placement undertaken by the headteacher. Learning, teaching and support for pupils 3.13 The schools in the survey aimed to deliver learning and teaching of a consistently high quality whilst also being flexible in responding to the needs of individuals. Most schools used a wide range of teaching approaches, consciously adapted to meet pupils learning needs. It was recognised that the best classroom practice should encourage active participation which included co-operation among pupils, debate and discussion, independence and choice. 19

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