As professionals we are working in a time where educational inclusion is broadly accepted. It is presented in policy and guidance designed to change practice, but there are still questions regarding the outcomes for individual learners. The word ‘inclusion’ means different things to different people. Here you’ll find a selection of our recently published articles that explore, discuss, highlight or simply provide an update on inclusion.

As an extended school, Chesnut Lodge School in Halton provides inclusive after-school and holiday provision for children with additional needs and mainstream children. Heather Austin, their deputy head, explores why it has been a success

Louise Coigley enhances and develops the communication of SEN children and adults through inclusive storytelling. Michael Jones describes seeing her in action

Developing a common understanding of pedagogy is intrinsic to ensuring continuity and progression along all stages of an individual’s learning journey, advises a recent DCSF booklet

Special education consultant Michael Farrell considers provision for pupils with severe learning difficulties (SLD)

There is a great deal that schools in difference countries can learn from each other about the problems and successes that different approaches to integrating ethnically diverse pupils into schools can offer, says headteacher Neil Berry

Significant numbers of children with epilepsy attend mainstream schools. If they are to get the most from their education it is important for schools to know what, and how, to tell all pupils about their condition. Ann Lewis and Sarah Parsons of the University of Birmingham School of Education outline the findings of a one-year research project funded by Epilepsy Action

What is literacy for children who do not learn to read and write? Drawing on a recent study, Dr Lyn Layton calls for a radical reinterpretation of what is meant by literacy, arguing that we should prepare all teachers to recognise a broad interpretation of literacy that is in line with the diverse needs and activities of learners

Headteacher Neil Berry explains how Brampton Manor in East London – described by Ofsted in December 1999 as having ‘serious weaknesses’ – was turned into the fully inclusive, successful school it is today

Michael Farrell looks at a number of different areas in which special provision is needed

Marcelo Staricoff describes an inclusive approach for meeting the needs of G&T pupils in primary classrooms

Two recent policy reviews have established the government’s priorities for spending on public services that help disabled and disadvantaged pupils

Many SENCOS work with looked after children. The results of a consultation on proposals to help children in care suggest ways of improving support for these children

The curriculum review section of most direct interest to SENCOs concerns organising the curriculum. SENCO Update reports

Raising the level of challenge for all children lies at the heart of RA Butler School’s G&T policy. Ann Geeves and Clare Gill describe how they have put systems in place to do this

The underachievement of disadvantaged gifted and talented young people is a major concern. Nik Miller and Alison Rowan explain how the Goal project is helping

Inclusion of SEN students requires lots of involvement from teaching assistants. Enid Alston introduces a new training course designed to help

A useful update on the current law regarding discrimination is provided by Patti Turner

Does your school have an effective policy on the administration of medication to children? Special needs consultant Patti Turner looks at some of the problems that can arise and the ways to avoid them

Vision into Practice – Ensuring Every Child Matters is a self-evaluation tool for inclusive learning. Trish Lowson, school link officer for Inclusive Learning at Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, explains

The 2020 Vision report calls for personalised learning to be designed to reduce the ‘persistent and unacceptable gaps in average attainment between different groups of pupils’.

Philip Jones presents a case study and discusses the difficulties faced by schools when providing intimate care to pupils who have disabilities.

Schools will have to be more aware of these particularly vulnerable children when they review policy and practice, writes Ingrid Sutherland

Trish Lowson, school link officer for inclusive learning at Calderdale metropolitan borough council, introduces Vision into Practice – Ensuring Every Child Matters, a self-evaluation tool for inclusive learning.

Mark Jennett clarifies why schools and colleges need to talk about homosexuality.

ICT can enhance opportunities for inclusive learning. However, getting the right ICT tools in place to support this process can be a daunting prospect. In this article Gerald Haigh, in conversation with SENCOs, shows what is possible and argues that simple innovations tailored to individual needs often work best.

The House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee undertook a major review of special education in 2005-2006 and published a report that asked the government to clarify its policy on inclusive education. This article summarises the questions that the Select Committee asked, outlines the government response to these, and provides a brief analysis of this response.

How can you handle children’s surprise at a new classmate’s disfigurement in a way that is positive for everybody? Jane Frances of Changing Faces offers some practical ideas.

Rosemary Norburn and Glenys Heap, both Training Principals from Dyslexia Action, describe new advice and support available for SENCOs

Every Disabled Child Matters is a three-year campaign by organisations working with disabled children and their families. Its objectives and proposed actions for change are summarised below.

THE ADVENT OF ICT across the curriculum is beginning to place a whole range of new resource demands on schools that usually fall to the bursar/business manager to manage.

In his regular column, Dr Graham Haydon asks whether tolerance has become an easy option, which allows us to continue with an underlying disapproval of others because they are different.

Karen Garvin of ActionAid explains how the My Friend Needs A Teacher initiative helps students learn that they have the power to make the world a better place.

Dr Diane Bebbington discusses the implications of a new initiative to address inequalities.

Changing attitudes is fundamental to achieving full inclusion argues Liz Fitzpatrick.

Headteacher Ian Bauckham attacks some common myths about faith schools and argues that their abolition would seriously reduce parental choice as well as being detrimental to the government’s commitment to raising standards.

A new survey draws attention to the lack of preparedness for dealing with epilepsy in schools. The survey was presented as part of National Epilepsy Week’s theme of ‘Educational challenges for children and younger people’. Epilepsy Action has also produced information and resources which SENCOs will find useful in advising colleagues.

Whether at home or at school, ICT can play a major role in enabling young people to achieve their potential whether or not they have a disability or specific learning difficulties, says Adam Waits, lead assessor (children and young adults) at national computing and disability charity, AbilityNet.

This month’s professional update summarises the requirements of the Disability Equality Duty (DED) for the public sector and outlines the steps that schools, colleges and local authorities will need to take to ensure that they comply with new legislative requirements.

Recently published research by a team based at the University of Cambridge highlights the efforts of teachers and other staff in schools to develop inclusive educational practice. At the same time, it provides evidence that these efforts are unsustainable in the long term, and that a national review of policy and practice is required.

Angela Youngman finds out about a scheme to improve communication in early years settings through the use of sign language.

More and more schools throughout the country are realising that children with specific reading difficulties can be helped by the use of colour, either in the form of coloured overlays or as individually prescribed coloured spectacle lenses. By Tim Noakes.

A quick list of tips for calming hyperactive children, including preventative strategies

Achieving inclusion — becoming an inclusive pyramid.

Inclusion has become one of the must hotly-debated topics in education — there are almost as many different takes on it as there are schools. Brahm Norwich, Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs at the University of Exeter, helps you to unpick what inclusion means to your school and shows you how to develop strategies that will allow you to achieve this approach in practice.

School culture is a term that curriculum managers are having to pay more attention to in nearly all areas of their job. But how do you identify what culture prevails in your school, understand the implications this has for your curriculum leadership, and from there make changes for the better? Jon Prosser, Director of International Education Management at the University of Leeds, shows how.

In this article, Cath Malin (Sandwell Local Authority’s SEN and Inclusion Adviser) describes how schools and the local authority have developed a collaborative and systematic approach to developing inclusive educational practice. The approach, which makes use of the Index for Inclusion, places a particularly high emphasis on self-evaluation and is therefore responsive to the requirements of the Ofsted inspection framework.

The research study summarised in this article sought to develop an understanding of the issues that affect the inclusion of disabled children in play in the playgrounds of six primary schools in Yorkshire (1).

The National Autistic Society has developed a flexible learning programme for schools.

A recent national audit of ‘low-incidence’ special needs shows that local authorities generally have some level of specialist service and provision to meet low incidence needs, in terms of education support teams and mainstream unit/special school provision.

The Learning and Teaching Scotland website includes an excellent section on developments in inclusive education. Simply click on ‘Inclusive Education’ to find out more, and to read about specific developments in policy and provision, click again on ‘Additional Support for Learning Act’.

Networking: Advisers network for DCD/dyspraxia

A meeting will take place for advisory staff who wish to network, share good practice and resources, consider joint training events and exchange research developments in their local area.

While dyslexia is now widely accepted as a specific difficulty and is becoming better understood, its equivalent in the world of numeracy lags far behind

In response to the requirements of Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, local authorities (LAs) and schools now need to review and revise their strategies and plans to improve access to schools for disabled pupils.

Recent Ofsted reports on primary and secondary national strategies show that schools still have some way to go in developing inclusion.

The DfES is currently undertaking a consultation about the development of quality standards for SEN support and outreach services with a strong focus on strengthening inclusion.

Following the introduction of a new Code of Practice in Scotland, in which the term special educational needs has been replaced with the concept of additional support for learning and an emphasis is placed on circumstances in which learning takes place rather on categorisation of need, it might be assumed that developments in inclusive education have moved ahead of those in England and Wales.(1)

Are you a SENCO looking for practical tips, in-depth knowledge, or inspiration? Take a look at these book lists and reviews.

John Liddle, head of services to education, AbilityNet East, challenges readers to think anew about the effective use of technology to support children with special educational needs and how this has implications for the role of learning support assistants.

Improving inclusive practice

A recently published review of external SEN support for schools in England highlights variations in both the quality and quantity of services across the country. The review, carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) also makes a number of recommendations, describes features of effective practice and outlines standards that can be used to identify and develop such practice.

LEAs across England have shown very little progress towards inclusion nationally, according to a report from the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE).*

Are you truly providing every opportunity you can to allow your most able students to thrive, while also not disadvantaging others? Michele Paule outlines action you can take to ensure you identify these students and then are able to shape the best provision for them.

SENCOs will find two recent publications helpful for developing dyslexia-friendly schools – one for adult literacy and numeracy skills, the other from the primary national strategy.