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1 EECERA 2007 PRAGUE Inclusion in Early Years Childhood Education: A rich tapestry of diversity clouded by considerable challenge Kathleen Clark Frances.

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Presentation on theme: "1 EECERA 2007 PRAGUE Inclusion in Early Years Childhood Education: A rich tapestry of diversity clouded by considerable challenge Kathleen Clark Frances."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 EECERA 2007 PRAGUE Inclusion in Early Years Childhood Education: A rich tapestry of diversity clouded by considerable challenge Kathleen Clark Frances Ross-Watt Senior Lecturer Lecturer University of Strathclyde University of Strathclyde

2 2 Legislative Background The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act, 2004 Broadened the range of pupils who require additional support for their learning. SEN sits within the range No longer ‘special’ but individual needs (Corbett, 2002) The 1980 Education (Scotland) Act Choice of schools The Children Scotland Act, 1995 Rights/Duties of education authorities and parents

3 3 Legislative Background The Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils’ Educational Records) (Scotland) Act, 2002 Education authorities must have Accessibility Strategies Plans Scottish schools in compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act The Race Relations Amendment Act, 2000 The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act, 2000 Presumption of mainstream for all children. Collectively these bands of legislation provide a robust framework for 21 st Century education in Scotland. Keystones Inclusion Entitlement/RightsEquality of opportunity (Thomas& Vaughn, 2004)

4 4 Background to the Study Quality Indicators (HMI, 2007) Challenge of Inclusion (Hamill & Clark, 2005) Changing curriculum framework Four capacities for learning: confident individuals; effective contributors; responsible citizens; successful learners A continuum of Support (West Lothian Council) Policy and guidance + practical support “responsible inclusion” (Vaughn & Schumm, 1995)

5 5 The Research (Phase One) Survey Approach staff understanding of and views on inclusion insights about schools’ support systems and strategies perceived needs in terms of project materials good inclusive practice Sample 17 schools – geographical spread: large/small; (primary and nursery) urban/rural; varying socio-economic factors. All staff – promoted staff, class teachers, support assistants, nursery nurses etc. Ownership:- Awareness of Research across the authority. Additional good inclusive practice identified via Educational Psychologists and Cluster Heads based on knowledge of good practice for pupils requiring additional support. “Bottom –up” model as discussed by Lunt (2002)

6 6 Findings – Phase One Quantitative and Qualitative data from the survey. 12 schools responded (111 questionnaires) Responses from: headteachers, depute headteachers, principal teachers, class teachers, learning support teachers, nursery teachers, classroom assistants, nursery nurses, support assistants and auxiliaries. Self-selecting sample views expressed both pro-and anti-inclusion Understanding – matched to Armstrong’s (1999) definition “a system of education which recognises the rights of all children and young people to share a common educational environment in which all are valued equally, regardless of differences in perceived ability, gender, class, ethnicity or learning styles” (page 76). Outcome - 3 of the 12 schools overall appeared to have staff with a collective, clear understanding of inclusion based on the definition above.

7 7 Factors which promote successful inclusion The same 3 schools’ staff identified many of the factors already identified by: Lipsky & Gartner, (1996); Giangrero, (1997) and Visser, Cole & Daniels, (2003). These factors relate to the three dimensions that, according to Booth & Ainscow, (2002) promote inclusion. The other schools Mixed responses: SEN model of integration Varying understandings of inclusion: no unified staff understanding or vision. Support Staff: more narrow view than teachers but not exclusively.

8 8 Responses: Understanding of Inclusion “Inclusion of special needs pupils in mainstream education regardless of how disruptive this may be for the teacher and other pupils”. (early years class teacher A) “All children, irrespective of needs to be included in mainstream schools although it is not necessarily the best situation for them or the other children”. (early years class teacher B) “Children with learning and/or physical disabilities coming into mainstream schools”. (early years support assistant). “Including children with various disabilities in mainstream school and nursery”. (nursery nurse). Teacher comments dissatisfaction based on experience? concern for pupils with no identification? principle sound, practice problematic? Quality of experience Support staff commentsintegration No shared vision of process

9 9 The Suggestions: Materials (Realistic Domain) Videos showing good practice Guidelines on legal requirements How to work collaboratively Examples of documentation re. support (Multi-Agency Support Plans) Explanation of Inclusion Simplified programmes of study/differentiation Cross-referencing of resources Contact numbers e.g. agencies, voluntary organisations Practical advice. Feasible and to be considered

10 10 The Suggestions: Wish List Resources: Material Resources: Extra staff Continuing Professional Development: Courses Laptops More Special Schools Reduce Class Sizes Specialised Equipment Time Experts Better School Building Permanent Contracts for all Support Staff “It’s not material we need it’s staff!” (support teacher) “I suggest the authority produces more special schools and teachers” (early years class teacher C) These sentiments express strength of feeling about the changes demanded of staff. As stated by Hamill and Clark (2005) “The financing of inclusion cannot be underestimated”. (Page 35).

11 11 The Research (Phase Two) Good practice identified – Observations Filming in good practice schools  Interviews  Classroom/school routines and practices  Responses Hardcopy material to support video ( case studies including early years ) Links to key initiatives and documents Audit Curriculum framework West Lothian’s Continuum of (3-18) Support Ensuring quality responses to individual needs within the culture of supportive, inclusive classrooms and schools, whose staff have a shared understanding and vision of inclusion. Staff development and evaluation to be key factors in the desired changes.

12 12 Case Studies Autism / ASDearly years P1 Verbal Dyspraxia Able Pupils Cerebral Palsy English as an Additional Languageearly years P1 Dyslexia Down’s Syndromeearly years P3 ( Representing Levels 1- 4 on the Continuum of Support)

13 13 Schools 4 Mainstream schools 2 Special schools Outreach Support to Mainstream Pupils on split placements

14 14 Range of Filmed Practice Classroom Social Settings Support Settings Collaborative Planning Meetings Planning for Transition Multi- Agency Collaboration Partnership with Parents Cluster Resource Group Meeting Outdoor Activities Systems/Strategies/Resources at School/Classroom and Individual levels.

15 15 Interviews Head teachers and other management personnel A range of school staff ( LST, CT, SA etc.) Educational Psychologists Speech and Language Therapists Outreach Support Teachers Visiting Teachers ( EAL etc.) Parents School Counsellor

16 16 Leon’s School : Quality Indicator Themes Key Performance Outcomes Impact on Learners Impact on Staff Impact on the Community Delivery of Education Policy Development and Planning Management and Support of Staff Partnerships and Resources Leadership

17 17 General findings Across Good Practice Schools Strong leadership : Leading by example Teamwork Commitment of staff / willingness to give a bit extra Partnership with parents / range of agencies Good communication / liaison between staff and across agencies Supportive ethos Positive attitudes Celebrating diversity Acknowledging achievement Shared vision of inclusion Evidence of “ A Curriculum for Excellence “: Embracing policy and guidance Early identification / early intervention Targeting resources / support Whole school approaches / systems / strategies Awareness of the importance of the pastoral role in education Preparation for transition ( nursery - primary, class - class ) All qualities listed in the quality indicators (HMIe, 2007 ) Evidence of Vygotsky’s philosophy embedded in practice

18 18 The Package DVD and hard copy case studies / pupil profiles Examples of MASPs and pupils’ work Audit tool based on HMIe (2007) Matching each school in the study to the audit tool based on observations made Continuum of Support and how it has been accessed in each case Authority /School / classroom and individual support strategies, systems and resources Highlighting the steps in the journey towards successful inclusion in each case Weaving in and cross-referencing national policy, authority policy, the continuum of support & a Curriculum for Excellence.

19 19 What Now? A staff development pack to support staff who in turn will support pupils (scaffolding for both) Staff development to introduce staff to the materials Evaluation within clusters to find out its impact in other schools Sharing Good Practice within an authority that is operating a model of “responsible inclusion” ( Vaughn & Schumm, 1995 )


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