Disability Equality in Education Inclusion in Schools Course Book
Earlier Policy Developments
Prior to the election of the present Government in 1997, progress towards including pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in mainstream schools was piecemeal. The Warnock Report in 1978 introduced the concept of integration of pupils with SEN in mainstream schooling. The 1981 Education Act placed a duty on local education authorities to secure education for children with statements of SEN in mainstream schools, provided that two conditions were met:
It was enabling legislation, which empowered LEAs to move forward on integration, but practice varied according to individual LEAs level of commitment and resources.
The 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA) and subsequent developments also affected commitment to integration. The delegation of budgets to schools and the publication of the results of National Curriculum assessment and public examination results have sometimes worked against integration (and still may impede progress towards inclusion): schools may be tempted to focus on children who will improve their league table results and schools may spend more or less of their nominal allowance for special education. (This issue was highlighted in a recent report from the Institute of Education, London, by Ingrid Lunt and Brahm Norwich, Can Effective Schools be Inclusive?)
The Education Act 1993 made it a duty of school governing bodies to ensure that a child with special educational needs in a mainstream school had their needs met and was integrated as far as possible into the school. A key document arising from the Act, the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs, set out the guidance and procedures to be followed by schools and the LEA in assessing and meeting the special educational needs of children.
“We aim to increase the level and quality of inclusion within mainstream schools, while protecting and enhancing specialist provision for those who need it. We will redefine the role of special schools to bring out their contribution in working with mainstream schools to support greater inclusion.” – DfEE Green Paper, Excellence for all children, Meeting Special Educational Needs, October 1997.
The drive for greater inclusion was accompanied by an emphasis on effective support for parents with children with SEN; shifting resources away from remediation to prevention and early intervention; on changing the emphasis on lengthy and costly procedures and paperwork associated with the statementing process to practical support; and opportunities for staff development in SEN. The importance of multi-agency working was emphasised. The Green Paper also stressed the importance of tackling the difficulties of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) early.
It confirmed the importance of:
The programme of action was backed with £37 million of targeted support for SEN under the Standards Fund for 1999/2000 (£8 million for promoting inclusion/EBD) and £20 million under the Schools Access Initiative for the 1999/2000 to make more primary and secondary schools accessible to disabled pupils. The Standards Fund for 2000/2001 has been increased to £55 million (£15 million for promoting inclusion/EBD). A further £30 million is available under the Schools Access Initiative 2000-2001.
Circulars 10/99 AND 11/99 –
Social Inclusion: Pupil Support
Developments associated with the inclusion of pupils with SEN were echoed when in July 1999, the Government issued Circulars 10/99 and 11/99, Social Inclusion: Pupil support. These formed part of the Government’s central strategy to increase social inclusion, and broadened out the term inclusion to encompass pupils with disruptive behaviour. The drive towards inclusion was reinforced by emphasising the importance of managing disruptive behaviour in mainstream settings. Circular 10/99 outlined a series of good practice principles that schools should use. There was an emphasis on early intervention to prevent emerging problems becoming special emotional needs, rewarding achievement, working with parents, and multi-agency working to support schools. In cases where pupils are excluded from school, the emphasis was on planned, speedy re-integration into mainstream schools, with intensive support provided by the LEA for an initial period after an excluded has been re-admitted into a mainstream school.
When determining their arrangements for excluded pupils LEAs must consider the role of Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), established by the Education Act 1986 and set up by LEAs to provide education otherwise than at school. For pupils attending PRUs who have special educational needs and statements of EBD, the guidance made it clear that PRUs are not a long-term option. Choices need to be made about whether the needs of these pupils can best be met by a short-term stay in a PRU followed by planned re-integration into a mainstream school, or by a special school named in a statement.
Local Management of Schools (LMS) introduced delegated budgets and some of the funding for SEN was delegated to schools. Schools could however spend the nominal mount delegated for special educational needs as they wished.
LEAs adopted different approaches to the delegation of SEN funding. Many LEAs delegated all or most of the SEN funding for stages 1 – 3 of the Code of Practice to individual schools, allowing schools to take their own decisions about purchasing support.
Circulars 2/94 increased the proportion of centrally held resources to be delegated to 90% and some LEAs were prompted to consider the partial delegation of the provision for statemented pupils to mainstream schools. However, where funding for statementing were retained centrally, statementing continued to grow as a means to get extra money.
Fair Funding replaced the system of LMS and took effect in April 1999. One of the areas for which LEAs are allowed to retain central budgets is SEN, including the educational psychology service, statementing of pupils, support for pupils with SEN, education otherwise than at school, preparation of Behaviour Support Plans, and PRUs.
Under Fair Funding, LEAs are expected to limit features that provide purely financial incentives for statements by reviewing the formula they use to distribute SEN funding. They are also expected to clarify the amount of funding delegated to schools for SEN and identify explicitly for schools the levels and types of need which they are expected to meet from their delegated budgets and what the LEA will meet from centrally retained funds.
Disability Discrimination Act (1995)
The development of inclusion has taken place against a backdrop of the advance of the rights of disabled people in the UK by the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The provision of education is currently excluded from Part III of the DDA (provision of goods and services). However, with effect from 1 October 1999, where schools non-educational services, such as holding governing body meetings to present the annual report to parents or community uses of school premises, they have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people to enable them to access services, for example by providing information for disabled parents in an alternative format.
Special Educational Needs Bill
A Special Educational Needs Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech on 17 November 1999 is expected to strengthen the right of children with SEN to be educated in mainstream schools. It is also expected to give local government a stronger role in raising standards of achievement for all children with special needs; place new duties on LEAs to improve services to parents by establishing parent partnership schemes and arrangements for conciliation where disputes arise; reinforce the powers of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal and introduce new duties on LEAs to prevent discrimination against disabled children in the education system.
Disability Rights Task Force Report
The Disability Rights Task Force Report, From Exclusion to Inclusion, published in December 1999, also made a number of important recommendations to tackle discrimination against disabled students in schools, further, higher and adult education. The Government intends to bring forward freestanding ‘Disability in Education’ legislation shortly to implement the Task Force recommendations and make provision on special educational needs as foreshadowed in the Queen’s Speech. The Bill will ensure that:
International developments have also promoted the cause of inclusive education. In June 1994, representatives of 92 governments and 25 international organisations formed the World Conference on SEN held in Salamanca, Spain. They agreed a statement on the education of disabled children, which called for inclusion to be the norm. The conference also adopted a new framework for action, the guiding principle of which is that ordinary schools should accommodate all children regardless of the physical, intellectual, social, emotional linguistic or other conditions. The framework says all that educational policies should stipulate that disabled children attend the neighbourhood school “that would be attended if the child did not have a disability.”
(Reproduced with the permission of the Education Network)
The Salamanca Statement of the UNESCO World Conference On Special Needs Education: Access and Quality (June 1994) states that:
The statement went on to urge Governments to:
The statement was adopted by 94 Governments and over 20 NGOs. In October 1997, the UK Government gave its support in the Green Paper Excellence for All. NUT adopted this as policy in 1996.
"The education of children with special educational needs is a key challenge for the nation. It is vital to the creation of a fully inclusive society in which all members see themselves as valued for the contribution they make. We owe all children – whatever their particular needs and circumstances – the opportunity to develop their full potential to contribute economically, and to play a full part as active citizens."
"We recognise the case for more inclusion where parents want it and appropriate support can be provided...."
"It is a measure of the priority we are giving special educational needs that we have decided virtually to double - to £37 million - the targeted support for SEN under the Standards Fund in 1999-2000. We are planning further large increases for the following two years. We are increasing five-fold the capital support under the Schools Access Initiative, from the £4 million we inherited in 1997-98 to £20 million in 1999-2000, and are planning big increases for the following two years." David Blunkett, Secretary of State, in Forward to SEN PLAN OF ACTION
For those with more complex needs, the starting point should always be the question, 'Could this child benefit from education in a mainstream setting? If so, what action would be needed, by whom, to make this possible? What are the parent's and child's views?'
“It is not good enough simply to say that local mainstream schools have not previously included a child with these needs." (Para. 4)
"We will require LEAs to publish information, in their Education Development Plans, about their policy on inclusion." (Para. 6)
"We will encourage schools to develop an inclusive ethos, for example, by involving all staff in training activities to promote a greater understanding of inclusion. We are committed to increasing opportunities for professional training." (Para. 8) "We will review the statutory framework for inclusion." (Section 316 of 1996 Education Act) (Para. 9)
The SEN and Disability Act 2001 makes significant changes to the educational opportunities available to disabled children and students and those with special educational needs. The Act affects LEAs, nurseries (with public funding), schools, including independent and non-maintained special schools, FE colleges, HE and youth services. This summary indicates the main changes that affect the School and Post School stages of education.
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