The inclusion values of the school/setting; it’s an ethos thing.
Imagine someone visiting your school for the first time. They arrive in the area, to be confronted by a school site. I signage such that they can be easily directed to the reception area? En route, is there evidence that parents are welcomed into the school, eg a “Parent’s Notices” board, with current, useful information? Is the site clean, tidy and welcoming? At the entrance, is access easy? Are entry “phones” highlighted? Are reception staff instantly welcoming?
If parents have to sit and wait, is the area pleasant and is there appropriate material to read and interest the parent, possibly also a younger sibling? Where other heritage languages are spoken, are documents translated, to support understanding of a new school system? Are translators available if needed? Some schools have used other parents as “peer mentors”, while there is a child version of this approach, available through Hampshire CC EMTAS.
As the visitor (parent) is shown around, displays show that children’s work is valued and of a good quality, and can be discussed by the person leading the visit. It is clear that individual children are valued, as they are known and addressed by name. Any issues arising during the walk around are dealt with appropriately and professionally. Individual difference is valued, and evident in many different ways, such as a Rights, Respects and Responsibility display.
All staff, parents and Governors are committed to Inclusive practices.
Inclusion is a discussion item, in a range of fora, from the Governing Body and policy statements through staff discussion and including parent groups for feedback. There is evidence, from Governor and other meeting minutes, as well as correspondence, that the Inclusion discussion is an open agenda item.
Staff are appointed to the school ethos and are expected to uphold these values. Induction, and ongoing, regular CPD, emphasises the values and the implementation of practice that might require adjustment to cater for developing needs. There is a clear (individual, Governor, whole school) plan for CPD in Inclusion, supported by external expertise where relevant. Child Protection lead staff are identified and well trained to effect their roles.
Inclusive practice is interpreted within clear behaviour guidelines that are well communicated, understood by all staff and adhered to by all. Strategies are clear, as are lines of responsibility and action.
There is effective management and organisation of inclusive practice throughout the school/setting. This is modelled to the school in personal behaviours, discussion, communications and appropriate action taken to circumstances.
There is effective personal support or mentoring available to individuals, staff and children. Identification of need is a whole staff/community remit, as each is the eyes/ears of the organisation, especially as children’s relationships can vary between staff members. Dealing with disclosure effectively is an essential element of safeguarding as well as inclusive practice. Good communication is key to early resolution.
There is effective induction and transition.
Entry into a new setting can be disorienting to a child, at any age, especially if this means that they do not know others in their peer group. Routines are explained carefully, where appropriate this is in picture/map form, with timetables clear, again pictorially if necessary.
Where all staff are fully involved in induction processes, keeping an eye on the new entrants, talking together and spotting and dealing with any vulnerabilities, the children will begin to have a feeling of belonging, which is an essential step.
The whole staff model school/setting expectations and develop good relationships with learners.
In class expectations should derive from general school articulation of behaviours, both in general behaviour terms, based on personal responsibility for actions, choices and consequences, but also in learning responsibilities and behaviours.
The teacher (inclusive) role is to identify barriers to learning and to plan to address evident needs. This can be through a variety of approaches that put the child’s needs at the centre of action, including appropriate and effective support.
Achievement by all is celebrated in a variety of forms; congratulatory comments, stickers or other extrinsic rewards, phone calls or postcards home, celebration assemblies, stars of the week, work shared or on display.
Pupils are well known. Plans for progress underpin all activity and Pupil Premium funding has an identifiable and measurable impact on pupil progress.
Reporting to parents, orally and in writing, supports parent-school dialogue and ultimately supports children’s learning.
Could something like this summarise your school?
X School sees itself as a caring school which:-
- Seeks maximum academic success for all children
- Is focussed on the pursuit of outstanding teaching and learning
- Is focussed in the interest of relationships for learning
- Understands and cares for each individual
- Is a loving, fun and humane school
- Works with parents and children to raise standards and achieve excellence
You may want to extend your reading on inclusion with the following linked and developing blogs;
Inclusive Learning Environments
Inclusion; Parent Partners
Inclusion; management and governance
Inclusion; Children's Attitudes
Inclusion; Children and Progress
Inclusion at Exemplar Primary
Inclusion is just doing your job