Question 9: Are there any other comments you would wish to make about the draft guidance on the presumption of mainstreaming?
There were 266 responses to this question and there were a wide range of responses. The majority of responses concentrated on implementation of additional support for learning policy more generally although many responses did comment on the guidance itself and possible inclusions to it. Organisations were more likely to provide comments on the guidance and individuals were more likely to comment on the system generally.
Many respondents suggested inclusions to the guidance. The areas mentioned most frequently (in order of frequency) were:-
- Ensuring links were made to other policy areas. Examples given were the Governance Review, development of Head teachers Charter and Improvement Collaboratives, Getting it Right for every Child, Developing the Young Workforce, 'The Key to Life', 'Principles of Good Transitions'
- More detailed guidance clarifying the decision making process including more guidance on dispute resolution
- More detail on implementation of the guidance and monitoring and evaluation of the guidance
- More detail on responding to different types of additional support, for example autism, visual impairment, hearing impairment
- More work on how achievement is measured
Of those that responded on additional support for learning, many mentioned lack of resources as a barrier to achieving the aims of the guidance. Resources included funding generally, staffing resource (both teachers and support staff), buildings and provision for support bases. Many respondents also raised the issue that mainstream was not for all and thought that specialist provision was required in some circumstances. A few respondents mentioned concerns about lack of specialist provision or lack of specialist/other agency response. This included reference to educational psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, child and adolescent mental health services and support assistants. The importance of multiagency work was also emphasised. A few respondents also mentioned the importance of ensuring teachers and others working with those with additional support needs receive appropriate training.
There were a number of other comments made by a small numbers of respondents. These included more work being required to ensure that parents were aware of the guidance and that parent's views were sought as part of the decision making process, that teacher's views should be more apparent within the guidance and within the decision making process, concerns that special schools were sometimes seen negatively instead of an appropriate provision to support children, concerns that schools were not given enough power to deal with violent behaviour and that the document did not go far enough in moving forward the inclusive education agenda.