Inclusive education is not only an evidence-based schooling approach that is backed by decades of overwhelming research affirming its benefits both academically and socially, but it is also a fundamental human right.” – Loren Swancutt

Inclusive schooling maximises the outcomes of all students through the identification and reduction of barriers to learning. A premium is placed upon universally designing the school experience to ensure equitable access, participation and learning for all. Students are provided with appropriate adjustments and curriculum provisions to ensure full engagement within regular classrooms and the broader school community. Inclusive education is about setting high expectations, valuing and celebrating diversity; and employing high quality, evidence – based teaching practices focused on success for every student.

Check out this presentation from Dr Kate DeBruin on ‘The evidence for inclusive education.’

Inclusive schooling is not only an evidence-based approach that is backed by decades of overwhelming research affirming its benefits both academically and socially, but it is also a fundamental human right. The  United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities has removed common ambiguity from the term and its application in practice by defining inclusive education. A summary of General Comment No. 4 on the Right to Inclusive Education can be found here.

Check out this presentation from Catia Malaquias on ‘Why do we have human rights?’

In addition, Australia has federal legislation in the form of the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005). Schools are obligated to comply with this legislation, and therefore must consult with students and their parents, and implement reasonable adjustments to ensure equitable access, participation and achievement.

Check out this presentation from Dr Shiralee Poed on ‘The laws underpinning inclusive education.’

All Means All – The Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education provides us with the following summary of what inclusive education is and is not:

Inclusive Schooling is:

  • all students included in the general education classroom all day, every day;
  • all students working in naturally supportive, flexible structures and groupings with other students regardless of individual ability;
  • all students presumed competent;
  • students are supported (where needed, such as through curriculum adaptations and differentiated teaching) to access the core curriculum; and
  • all students known and valued as full members of the school community, developing meaningful social relationships with peers and able to participate in all aspects of the life of the school.

Inclusive Schooling is not:

  • students only being allowed to participate in the class if they are “keeping up” academically – this includes:
    • frequent “pull-outs”;
    • working separately in a corner of the classroom with the education assistant while the teacher instructs the rest of the class; or
    • students being given a separate “special curriculum” or “program” (as opposed to being supported where needed, including through curricular adjustments, to access the same core curriculum); or
  • demonstrating independence or self-sufficiency as a condition of entry