Inclusion is a key priority within Scottish education. What do you understand the concept of ‘an inclusive school’ to involve, and what are its implications for you as an individual teacher?
An inclusive school is a philosophy not derived solely from education but rather, is motivated from higher ideals in society of justice, democracy and freedom.
Scotland has a proud history of promoting equality of educational opportunity however, inclusion has undoubtedly come more to the forefront of education policy in the last decade as we can see from the National Priorities in Education, approved by the Scottish parliament in 2000. These national priorities to ensure each and every pupil achieved their full potential. One of the five National Priorities specifically considers Inclusion and Equality and seeks to ensure every pupil benefits from education with particular attention being paid to those with disabilities, special educational needs and to Gaelic and other lesser-used languages.(CPD Scotland website)
The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act (2000) is also profound to the idea of an inclusive school as it introduced the presumption of mainstream education for all children and young people in Scotland unless exceptional circumstances applied.
Where an education authority, in carrying out their duty to provide school education to a child of school age, provide that education in school, they shall unless one of the circumstances mentioned in subsection (3) below arises provide it in a school other than a special school.
Quoted in East Ayrshire Council, Reducing Barriers, Raising Attainment
This essay argues that one of the most important facets to the concept of an inclusive school involves the scope of the ideal. The Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act 2000 highlights what an inclusive philosophy within Scottish education means;
An assertion of the right of every child to an education that is aimed at developing the personality,...