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Memorandum s ubmitted by Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. Current UK law says that children said to have special educational needs should be educated in mainstream schools, so long as this does not conflict with parental wishes or effect the efficient education of other children section of the Education Act , as amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act This also includes those children and young people said to have emotional or behavioural difficulties.

School are inherently failing to uphold the principle of the best interest of the child as stipulated in the Children Act, and The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, when they temporarily or permanently exclude students on the grounds of behaviour or special educational needs.


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When the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act SENDA was introduced, the Department for Education and Skills published guidance for schools on the new framework for inclusion of children with special educational needs into mainstream schools. The guidance confirmed that the general duty is to educate all children in mainstream schools and clearly explained: "The starting point is always that children who have statements will receive mainstream education" DfES, A commitment to inclusive education for all children and young people in mainstream schools was clearly articulated: "All teachers should expect to teach children with special educational needs SEN and all schools should play their part in educating children from their local community, whatever their background or ability.

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Legal enforcement of segregation on the grounds of disability including special educational needs , learning difficulty or emotional need is against international human rights agreements, including the UNESCO Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action , the UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child The importance of mainstream, permanent provision for all is not yet widely understood.

Temporary or permanently excluding students is deeply problematic. Educational provision needs to be re-organised and its delivery changed. Children and young people who spend their school years separated from their brothers, sisters, friends and potential friends from their local community, often end up living their adult life at the margins of society.

If children and young people are all to live in a society together, they all need to go to school together. There is, therefore, a strong argument for developing provision for everyone in ordinary local schools. Schools may support and reinforce positive behaviour by valuing all members of their community equally irrespective of appearance, perceived ability, nationality or other differentiating features.

By treating every person in the school community as simultaneously a learner and a teacher the skills and experiences of all students can be drawn upon. Schools should ensure that their provision is inclusive. Inclusion involves widening participation for all students and reducing exclusion.

There is nothing that happens in special schools or Pupil Referral Units that cannot, and should not, take place in mainstream schools. Excluding children and young people from mainstream provision on the basis of their behaviour can have disastrous effects in both the short and longer term. Segregation is morally problematic. One head teacher outlines this view cogently: "I was sitting there getting inspected, and that was really the first time I started to have my beliefs challenged.


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  • And it just struck me. So I took him back in and I created systems, I paid for full time teaching assistant support for him. She had bizarre behaviour. So I stopped excluding after that. Disciplinary exclusion may be prevented if students are adequately supported.

    Changes may need to be made to teaching and learning activities. Schools should minimise all forms of disciplinary exclusions including temporary suspensions and permanent expulsions. Schools should have understandable, constructive plans for re-introducing students who have been temporarily excluded.

    Clear records must be kept of all exclusions. These should be available to Governors who should be kept informed about what is happening. The Index draws upon what schools are already doing but helps makes individual school cultures more inclusive through building a sense of community, establishing inclusive values, developing schools that are fit for all learners, supporting and valuing diversity, orchestrating learning and mobilising resources.

    Although not specifically designed to have a focus on the inclusion of children and young people said to have special educational needs or emotional or behavioural difficulties, the indicators and questions listed in the Index can be of considerable help to schools wanting to develop more inclusive provision for all. In this way schools may ensure that provision is suitable for all learners. For those for whom this approach may well reignite past feeling of inadequacy or low self-esteem and lead to the classroom becoming again a place of frustration and humiliation which duplicates previous school experiences Forster, , cited in Bayliss, A lack of prior educational attainment does not require that students be taught using primary methods and for those who have previously shunned education, or seen it as a source of failure, this approach may well make it appear again an unattractive choice.

    Disaffection And Diversity Overcoming Barriers For Adult Learners Education Alienation: File

    In order to reengage these students, a more learner-centred, constructivist approach should be considered. Knowles identified that traditional pedagogic practices, which fail to recognise that adults feel the need to be self-directing, may produce tension, resistance and feelings of resentment. In contrast, andragogy acknowledges adults as self-guiding and needing to understand the reason for learning something before they learn it. The andragogical model views adult learners as autonomous with a problem-centred, contextual approach to learning and possessing intrinsic motivation.

    Andragogic approaches to teaching typically focus upon creating a climate which is favourable to learning and involve students in creating their own learning experiences, for instance planning activities, diagnosing their own learning needs and forming learning objectives. Whilst such a humanistic approach is likely to reduce or eliminate some of the negative reactions which disaffected students display towards formal learning, it is likely to be ineffective for those without strong cognitive control and is not appropriate for all learning situations. For those students and situations for which an andragogical approach is inappropriate, other strategies for reengagement must be considered.

    Indeed the importance of the interplay between teachers and students should not be underestimated as vulnerable students, in particular, may attach great weight to a positive relationship with their teacher Riley and Rustique-Forrester, In order to be effective teachers need to forge trusting and honest relationships with their students which are cooperative and democratic; indeed Houle describes education as being a cooperative rather than an operative art.

    Within such a relationship students are likely to exhibit strong learning behaviours and to be more attentive and proactive in their learning Tiberius For this to be effective the reciprocal nature of the process must be understood with a development of mutual trust between the student and teacher. Within the custodial setting, with its limitations upon personal interactions Simonot et al. Fontana suggests three approaches for dealing with disruptive behaviour within the classroom — behavioural, cognitive and managerial.

    The behavioural approach is concerned with the identification and elimination of inappropriate behaviours and focuses on what students do along with the context of their actions. This approach utilises consequences to either support or suppress behaviour and relies upon events or actions which are anterior to the behaviour to signal what the consequences positive or negative will be. Altering the antecedents through for example, classroom organisation, behaviour rules or contracts may be a method of changing the behaviour and exercising control. Within the prison setting the behaviourist approach is the most commonly used, with the use of antecedents primarily the use of contracts and rules for classroom behaviour and consequences formal warnings and dismissal from classes.

    This approach is engendered by the prison environment with its emphasis on rules and discipline but makes little allowance for the context within which behaviour occurs. Since disruption implies a context as well as an activity all such behaviour must be considered within the context in which it occurs and recognition must be paid to the emotional dimension of the learning situation.

    As a result, learning which takes place in an emotional context is likely to be altered by these emotions. Conversely, anxiety may be lessened by positive emotions which may encourage the student to be more proactive in the classroom and develop positive learning behaviours such as asking questions and challenging assumptions Caine and Caine, To effectively teach students with this level of need requires specialised training, and yet this is not the case in prison education.

    Offender learning has been identified as the least effective of all learning and skills sectors by Ofsted , with 24 per cent of provision judged inadequate p. The Prison Reform Trust highlights the problems that those with learning disabilities suffer within prison but states, incorrectly, that there is no screening or assessment to identify inmates learning needs.

    In fact some attempts are made to identify learning difficulties, but the diagnoses are pointless if trained staff are not available to offer support to those in need; for instance the DfES , p. For any teacher to face such high levels of disaffection without adequate training is challenging, for teachers new to the sector who may be placed within this environment with not only no context specific training, but possibly with no generic teacher training either it is particularly daunting.

    Not only is the current system unfair to teachers, but it risks further alienating a group of students who may already be indisposed towards learning and who need contextually-trained teachers to reengage them in meaningful and productive study. Whilst those teaching within mainstream FE are likely to encounter disaffected students who may present challenges within the classroom, teachers working within the prison environment are faced with a cohort which contains large numbers of students who have not succeeded within formal education, and have high incidences of mental disability both intellectual and psychiatric.

    The learning needs of these students are so complex that specialist training is required if students are to be effectively reengaged and supported.


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    • For those students with special educational needs or previous poor experiences of the classroom this situation is likely to further alienate them from study and is likely to be one of the factors which led Ofsted to describe some prison education as ineffectual and inadequate.