Inclusion at Vale School
Vale School is committed to providing an inclusive school. Where our teaching teams, SENCO and Leadership team consider the needs of a child can be met in the current setting - or with some adjustments funded and required by West Sussex County Council, the school rises to the challenges of meeting the needs of every child. A fair and inclusive environment makes for a happy and healthy classroom. Teachers strive to maintain optimal classroom settings, and one of the best ways to do so is to implement inclusive education.
What is inclusive education?
Let’s begin with a definition of inclusive education. We can define inclusive education as a teaching model whereby all students, regardless of their ability, learn together in one environment.
The aim of an inclusive education environment is to ensure that all students are treated fairly and get equal opportunities. Within an inclusive education environment, student diversity and uniqueness should be celebrated without discrimination.
Sadly, there are still instances of children being treated differently based on their unique qualities. No students should be ostracised or segregated based on their differences or learning capabilities. Nor would any teacher ever consider doing this, if they knew what to look out for.
Some issues that students are often discriminated against include disability, race, gender, their household income or the language that they speak. Inclusive education aims to combat discrimination against all students.
These issues are not only present in physical classrooms but in online and blended learning environments too.
Studies have shown that the number of students with known disabilities is increasing. We need to be able to accommodate these students and give them equal access, as they all have a right to education.
Types of inclusive education
All students are different and therefore have different individual needs. It’s important to choose the right type of inclusive education for your students based on their individual requirements.
This teaching model is centred around the theory that all students belong within the main classroom. A full inclusion model means that students with visible or hidden disabilities will always work alongside their peers.
If a school is using the full inclusion model, they will need to closely monitor student progression and ensure that the plan is working for students. If a full inclusion plan is too much, a partial inclusion plan can be implemented instead.
This teaching model is also built around allowing all students to learn and interact with the main classroom. However, partial inclusion also involves separated learning for students that need additional support outside of the classroom.
For students involved in a partial inclusion plan, they will still spend the majority of their learning time in the main classroom. However, they will also spend time away from the main class to receive additional support from special education teachers.
Some of the additional support given could also be disruptive if carried out in the main classroom; take speech-based lessons, for example. Partial inclusion is more flexible and allows classroom separation when it would be more beneficial for all students.
With the mainstreaming method, disabled students will begin their education journey in a self-contained classroom away from the main classroom.
If students are performing well within their self-contained classroom, they can be integrated into the main classroom based on their readiness. This method can be less daunting for some students, and allows them to gradually become a part of a fully inclusive classroom.