Holding on to what’s important
Yes there is OFSTED – yes there are SATs and League tables – but what really matters to you and your team when it comes to children and their inclusion in your school community?
What is really important?
What do you value?
What means most to you?
Holding onto our true values despite external pressures of inspection, monitoring and public criticism over the longer term is the right thing to do and may well lead to improved outcomes all round.
There is a temptation particularly present at the time of writing this across the UK for schools to exclude, engage in ‘off rolling’, be reluctant to welcome the admission of young people with complex needs and to promote special school or unit placements. This is in spite of international and national evidence over numerous studies that show the negative impact of such practice on academic achievement, social belonging and acceptance and life time outcomes for a good fulfilling life. We know inclusive education works if we choose to fund and support effectively with team work, joint problem solving, peer support, parental involvement and confident teaching.
In our experience leaders and their teams who can effectively hold the ‘long view’ for all students and in what they believe are more likely to do well with not only inclusion but also academic achievement.
Meeting special needs has long been recognised as the soft underbelly of any school – vulnerable and revealing. If dealt with effectively, safely and inclusively academic achievement and good to outstanding school progress so often follow.
So if you and your team are losing your sense of what matters most perhaps you need to step back and engage with some group visioning – group person centred planning using PATH or MAP processes?
Or do you just need to stop and engage in some dialogue with each other about core values?
The time is right for people to stand up for the principles of diversity and inclusion despite external pressure and distracting monitoring and inspection.
Let’s make inclusion happen.