Education for All?2 min read
In light of the controversy surrounding the potential closure of residential special schools, Policy and Information Leader Jonathan Tautari outlines why greater inclusiveness in education benefits us all.
How we educate our children helps to determine what our future society will look like. Stopping disabled children from accessing regular classes and schools prevents us from building a cohesive society that includes all people.
Many parents we work with have big aspirations for their children, regardless of any barriers they face. Parents dream of their children finding a valued role in society and living independently. For this reason, most parents would prefer their child attends a regular school.
Unfortunately, we also know that sometimes the level of support is inadequate at regular schools. In these situations, parents often feel there is little choice, but to send their child to a special school or unit. These schools and units are more isolated from the community than regular classes, but offer specialised trained teachers and resources. It is against this background that parents make choices about their child’s education.
As an organisation, we believe all children benefit from being educated in regular classes, both at the time of schooling and on into later life. At the same time, we fully respect parent choice. When support is inadequate at a regular school, the best option may be to place their child in a special unit or school.
In the long term, we want to see regular classes have access to the same knowledge and resources as special units and schools. I believe that this would mean parents could have the best of both worlds. Their child would have the same opportunities as other children to get a good education in a regular class. Support would be available when the child needs it and they would not have to be in a special unit or school to receive it. Some school are already providing great education to children with special needs in regular classes, others are struggling.
By addressing issues in regular classrooms, we pave the way to better communities. Our challenge is to ensure that we have a mainstream education system that can facilitate children’s lifelong journeys into careers, social and other opportunities of their choosing.
For more on inclusive education check out David Matthew’s blog from two weeks ago.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.
Policy and Information Leader