Question 8: Overall, is the guidance helpful?
Yes/no responses – all respondents
The majority of respondents said that they found the guidance helpful (58%).
Of those that provided written commentary along with this response, the most common reasons given for this were that it provided a clear overview of the vision and principles for inclusive education and what everyone should be striving to achieve. It was thought to be useful for generating debate and professional dialogue on this issue and allowed the opportunity to highlight the complexities surrounding this topic. It was felt that the structure of the document was good and made appropriate connections. It was felt to be succinct and that it was clear and helpful. Others commented that it was a useful reference point and helpful to see how things should be working in practice.
There were a number of suggestions about how the guidance could be improved and these fit within the areas set out under question 9 of this report.
Many of the respondents that provided written commentary with their response highlighting that they found the guidance helpful caveated their response by highlighting two main issues. The first was that there was a feeling that although the guidance was helpful that practice currently didn't match the aspirations of the guidance. It was felt that it didn't reflect where schools were at currently and was unrealistic and too aspirational. The other concern that was highlighted was that there was a need for resources (funding and increased staffing) to support the implementation of the guidance.
A quarter of respondents (25%) said that they did not find the guidance helpful. Of those that provided written commentary along with this response, the most common reasons given were that the guidance did not reflect the current reality in schools, that there was a concern that the guidance wouldn't improve practice unless resources were put in place to support it and there was a concern that the presumption of mainstreaming meant that the aims of the document could not be realised. In relation to the drafting of the document itself, there was a concern that the document was not detailed enough and was open to different interpretations. It was felt that it had to link to related legislation and be more prescriptive in nature.