In improvement. In 1978 the Warnock Report

In today’s education system,there is a large focus for teachers on inclusion within everyday practisewithin the school.

Scotland has grown to being an accepting welcoming countryfor all and it is vital for the country’s attitude to be open that the schoolsand teachers integrate an inclusive attitude and principles into every part ofthe curriculum. This essay will look at how inclusion has progressed throughouthistory and the level of inclusion in Scottish schools today and where thereare gaps for development and improvement.  In 1978 the Warnock Report waspublished which stated that all students should be taught in mainstreameducation instead of special schools which was previously stated in the ButlerAct in 1944.

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(Gillard, D 2007) Warnock argued that there were too many childrengoing into special provision and their needs could and should be reached in themainstream school. This report initiated the 1980 Education Act (Scotland)which in turn gave parents more rights for inclusion of children withadditional support needs to partake in mainstream classes with access toadditional support when required. (Gillard, D 2007) The Warnock Report producedand encouraged the term ‘specialeducational needs’ rather than the previous term ‘handicap’. It was seen asa far more positive term to describe children that faced barriers in theirlearning.

There were many recommendations within Warnock’s Report including integratingchildren without additional support needs into the everyday life of amainstream school. In an attempt to reduce numbers of special schools it wasrecommended that schools should provide classes or units where children withadditional support needs can attend but still be part of an inclusive communitywithin a mainstream school. Although there has been a general shift towardinclusion within Scotland there is some that have serious concerns overinclusion in schools.

Mackie argues that inclusion, without the correctresources could be a “ticking time bomb waiting to explode” for children withadditional support needs. (Mackie, 2004)  There are two contrary opinionsthat are discussed by Norwich (2008) concerning special schools. Children thatare taught in a mainstream classroom may not have the same range of specialistresources which are available in a special school. Whereas children who aretaught in a special school may not have a sense of inclusion and acceptance bypeers. There are problems and challenges that a teacher may face if they have achild in their mainstream class with additional support needs. In a surveycarried out by Norwich in 2007 there was feedback from teachers that the’typical’ student does not get the teaching time they are entitled due to ateacher spending more time with a child who has additional learning needs. Ateacher faces many challenges when there is a large attainment gap within theclass and if a child with an additional support need is present in the classthis can take away the teaching time from the rest of the children.

However,teachers also feel that by the children being integrated into the classroomteaches other children are far more accepting and inclusive attitude to alllevels of their peers. Children with their young and innocent mind will view anadditional support need in a completely different perspective than an adult andseeing very few barriers between forming friendships. (Allan J, 2009) Thenumber of children with additional support needs in mainstream schools rosefrom 3.7% to 4.4% over the 2007-2008 time period at primary level. (Allan J,2009) This is initially down to the increase in special units within mainstreamschools meaning it is a much simpler transfer for a child to go into amainstream class when they are in a special unit. Also as society grows and wegain a far more inclusive and open attitude to additional needs more childrenand parents are happy to come forward and receive the correct support for thechild that more and more schools are able to provide in a mainstream setting.

 School should produce and createlife skills for a child such as social skills and that is where inclusion forall children is very important. It is vital for the whole school to have aninclusive attitude and for school staff to work together in order to identify childrenwith additional support needs and support those children as appropriate. (ScottishGovernment 2004) Schools should also be aware of the children in need ofsupport due to their home life; the child could be coming from a family who areliving in poverty, the child could be a carer for a parent or younger siblingsor could be getting neglected in the home. (GIRFEC) The staff should be trainedto spot signs of this and make sure the intervention processes initiated by theGIRFEC policy is being carried out and staff are following the local authoritiesguidelines to identify children in need of support. With the introduction ofthe Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 it brought three stagesof support that schools can provide for pupils with Additional Support Needs. Thethree stages of support according to the act are; School Action, School Action Plusand Statement of SEN. The School Action is the responsibility of the teacher toadjust their pedagogies in order to accommodate children with AdditionalSupport Needs.

The School Action Plus is when the teacher and school continueto provide support for the child however will also have support and input from agenciesout with the school. The statement of SEN is when an assessment is made using avariety of agencies initiated by the local council.  In 2000 there was the introductionof the Standard of Scotland’s School Act which meant that each child waspresumed to be going straight into mainstream education with a few exceptions.These were that if a child was present in a mainstream classroom had a negativeeffect on their own education or other child’s education then they could beplaced in a specialised unit. (Riddell S, 2009) Also these exceptions includedif the child would cause a large expenditure on the budget and also if goinginto mainstream school was against the wishes of the parents.

In 2004 theAdditional Support for learning act got published (amended in 2009) which requiredall councils to provide all their additional support needs policies to parents. It can be argued that inclusionis a bigger issue than just learning in the classroom and inclusion should notonly be associated with children with additional support needs. Exclusion doesnot only take place within disabilities but it is present when somebody isn’tcapable of taking part in mainstream culture and community. (Booth, 1996)Oliver states that an education policy should be created with health, housing,social security and social skills all intertwined within the policy. (Oliver,1998) Scotland is a very diverse and accepting country in today’s society andhas been for many years. From the Italians emigrating into Scotland to a hugeincrease of Eastern Europeans in the last twenty years incorporating themselvesinto Scotland society. The classroom today proves to be an ever growing andculturally diverse environment. Children will be developing friendships withchildren from different countries out with Scotland and this alone is creatinga more inclusive society for the future.

By the classroom having a variety ofnationalities and the teacher’s inclusive attitude children should be gettingeducated within an environment with very few barriers between nationalities andfor the teacher to embrace these different nationalities to enrich the children’slearning and inclusive attitude in the classroom.  Within different regions ofScotland there is also a very diverse culture and it is vital that teachers aremaking the children aware of this. Eliot (1973) discusses that the country’scultural heritage should be preserved for a strong and educated society.

Eliotgoes onto argue that the majority of society is not appreciative or even awareof our diverse culture that is still to this day present in our society. Fromour Celtic languages to our rich and fascinating past that has all shaped howwe live today too many people are only aware of their day-to-day lives aroundthem and not always aware of the broader picture. That is why to have aninclusive classroom in order for the youth to be educated appropriately makingthem aware of not only other country’s culture that are becoming intertwinedinto our society but also that of our own diverse and broad culture. In Scotlandin 2011 there was the introduction of the 1+2 language policy meaning that eachchild should have their mother tongue plus two other languages by the end ofprimary school. (Scottish Government, 2011) This is not only vital forproducing literature skills but it also a very good method to integrate cultureinto our classroom giving our child a far more inclusive attitude. As it isstated in the Scottish Government Handbook discussing the policy, “regular access to native and fluent speakers to stimulate young people’s interest in languagelearning and other cultures.” With English being one of the most broadly spoken languages, there isbecoming an ever-increasing attitude that being literate in English is enoughand there is little need to learn any other languages.

 Therefore, by the introduction of the 1+2language policy it is allowing children to grow their inclusive mind-sets bylearning important language skills and about the cultures that go along withthese languages. Although a lot of attempts are beingmade by teachers to create an inclusive environment in schools there are stilla lot to of developments required. Not all parents of children with AdditionalSupport Needs are convinced or content by mainstream education for their child.Parents argued that not all schools were willing for full inclusion in theclassroom and they also felt that teachers weren’t full prepared or equipped fordealing with children’s additional needs. (McTaggart, 1994) Children withadditional needs are often over protected by an adult in an educational settingdue to being so many rules and laws with a child in a mainstream school. Theselaws can sometimes have an opposite effect on the child with additional supportneeds as if a teacher has an over-protective attitude towards them it can stopthe child from socialising with their peers not allowing them to break downbarriers and create friendships.

This was backed up by young people who saidthat the teachers are guilty of ‘overprotecting’ students stopping them having socialinteraction. (Allan and Smyth, 2009) There is also little guidance for teacherswith children in their class who have an additional support needs and how todeal with this. Teachers argue that if they had clearer guidelines and resourcesto equip them in dealing with children that have additional support need thenthat would be a large step towards inclusion.

(Allan J, 2009) In conclusion, there has beenmany efforts over the years to create a very fair and inclusive education systemin Scotland. Many laws and acts have been introduced such as Mary Warnock’sReport in 1978 to more recent attempts of Inclusive Education such as the Additional Support forLearning Act (Scotland) in 2009. Many educational researchers have writtenreports discussing inclusion.

Some have a very strong opinion that inclusion isthe best method for a child with additional support needs however there aresome experts such as Julia Allan at the University of Stirling who discussesmany negative results of inclusion for a child with additional support needs. Inclusioncontinues to be part of the classroom in today’s school and teachers areforever developing their skills and resources for dealing with inclusion. So,although there are improvements to be made in equipping teachers there are manysuccessful efforts for an inclusive classroom in a Scottish school.  

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