Parents and professionals in Scotland continue to work towards inclusive education for learners with additional support needs. However, a recent consultation on the presumption of mainstreaming has received some mixed reviews.
The Scottish Government’s Excellence and Equity for All consultation hoped to obtain views on the draft guidance published for local authority education departments. It hoped to help their decision-making in applying a presumption of mainstreaming, as well as improve inclusive practice in schools.
A total of 362 responses were received, all of which voiced strong support for the vision and principles of the guidance. However, concerns were raised that current practice did not meet the aspirations. For the guidance to be effectively executed, practice would have to be strengthened and more support put in place.
The most common concerns were resources and having sufficient numbers of teachers and support staff. Further concerns were access to specialist support, specialist provision within local areas and the physical environment of schools. The attitude of practitioners and the importance of sharing the ethos and values of inclusivity for all were seen as essential, as was more training to support teachers and school staff.
The consultation is now closed and responses from parents, professionals and organisations have been reviewed. The next step is to review research carried out with children and young people regarding their school experiences and feelings of inclusion in a school setting.