Inclusion is ensuring that everyone is given the same opportunities and is able to take part in all aspects of the curriculum and school life. All the children in the class at my setting were given the opportunity to make butterfly sweets and take part in selling at the craft fair. Differences are recognised valued and viewed as a positive addition to the school community. They enhance understanding and help to breakdown stereotypes.
Ofsted defines inclusion as “…equal opportunities for all pupils… it pays particular attention to the provision for and achievement of under-represented groups of pupils (i.
e. gender, ethnicity, SEN, looked after children, young carers and travellers). An inclusive practice is aware of division and differences in culture and backgrounds. The identification of pupils belonging to these groups is then used as a basis for plans to remove potential barriers for individuals (barriers may include physical, organisational, funding and social) so that a child is involved and supported in every aspect of the curriculum and during school life.
It can also be used as a basis for plans to overcome stereotypes (which can lead to both direct and indirect discrimination).
An inclusive practice is often aptly described as a ‘jigsaw classroom’. This phrase depicts an integrated culturally diverse (a culture is defined as the ideas and social rules of a society) classroom knitted together to form a complete representative sample of the community. Inclusive practice also demonstrates a degree of flexibility to allow the adjustments necessary to be made to accommodate all.
Teaching assistants are often essential to inclusion. Many additional needs pupils that attend mainstream schools rely on the support provided by teaching assistants (TAs) or special support assistants (SSAs). This enables such pupils to meeting learning needs.
Children with limited English language skills may be aided with information text where the English text is accompanied by the translation alongside. At my setting pupils for whom English is an additional language (EAL) have competent spoken language but they are often supported by being given the new vocabulary they are going to hear during guided reading or comprehension and an explanation for key words they will hear. TAs are important in checking that such children have understood the information and learning objectives conveyed by the class teacher. At my setting, information has had to be reiterated using simple language and at times instructions have needed to be broken down into smaller steps. Children with dyslexia may be provided with blue or yellow paper rather than white.
At my placement, inclusion is further promoted by providing a dyslexic child with overlays accompanying any homework to ensure that the child has had the same opportunity as others, in sharing a task with their carer(s). Those with visual and hearing impairments may be accommodated by using enlarged text.
Oral descriptions of information and similarly accompanying a body of text with visual images. Learners should be supported with visual photographs for key words and phrases. This also serves to benefit those children who are visual learners as well as those who acquire information better through auditory means. At my setting a child with crossed eyes is placed close to the whiteboard during class carpet sessions. This is to ensure the child is not disadvantaged but has equal access to information and is able to join in during the interactive yoga sessions that the class participates in as a whole. At my setting school meals are set by the LEA. Although they are varied and pupils have choices according to dietary requirements, most of the mealtimes represent a challenge for some children of different cultures.
At my setting, EAL learners have required extra support navigating mealtimes with differences in the menu offered and the use of utensils. The TAs seek to instil confidence in children reluctant to seek assistance in an environment which they may find alien. Physical impediments to inclusion are access to equipment and resources. In my setting access and exits to the building have ramps. Wide doorways ensure accessibility for wheelchair users.
If necessary often the environment or the task must be adjusted to meet the needs of the child. Barriers to inclusion may include funding. The costs involved in making adjustments may result in a school being unable to accommodate a pupil. However, whilst identifying these under-represented groups may be seen as stereotyping, they are often used by schools as a source of access to additional funds. They are also used during planning stages to ensure that any barriers to inclusion may be successfully overcome.
Organisational drawbacks and adjustments to tasks may be necessary to aid inclusion. These may also be overcome by presenting lessons as a multi-sensory task. This would ensure that no one is disadvantaged and allow all pupils, including those with additional needs and those that are under-represented, to benefit from a provision. Information regarding the adjustments to a provision must be readily available. The adjustments ensure that pupils are able to access all resources which would enable them to be fully integrated within the educational provision.
Inclusion rules do not apply to all. Exclusion is permitted in some cases. This may include pupils with adverse behavioural issues. Issues involving aggression where there is a safeguarding concern for colleagues or there is disruption affecting the rights of other pupils to an effective education. At my setting, two aggressive pupils were excluded with a view to relocating them to appropriate pupil referral units. This decision was essential to ensuring the safety of the other children.