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.

Inclusive education maximises the outcomes of all students through the identification and reduction of barriers to learning. A premium is placed upon supporting all students with suitable adjustments and curriculum provisions to ensure full engagement within regular classrooms and the broader school community, whilst enabling students to work and achieve at their proximal level. 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.

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. 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.

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

Inclusion 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.

Inclusion 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

For practical insight into how inclusive education can be realised, access the content provided:

A case study on successful inclusive school reform can also be viewed via the link Case Study: Inclusive School Reform.