Question 1: Do you agree with the vision for inclusive education in Scotland?
Yes/no responses – all respondents
The above question was asked in relation to the Introduction section in the document. This section sets out the purpose of the document, a vision for inclusive education in Scotland, a series of key principles that underpin the guidance and a summary of the key legislative and policy milestones.
The vision for inclusive education in Scotland is –
'Inclusive education in Scotland starts from the belief that education is a human right and the foundation for a more just society. An inclusive approach, with an appreciation of diversity and an ambition for all to achieve to their full potential, is essential to getting it right for every child and raising attainment for all. Inclusion is the cornerstone to help us achieve equity and excellence in education for all of our children and young people.'
The majority of those that responded to this question agreed with the vision for inclusive education in Scotland (65%).
Of those that provided commentary, the majority highlighted that they agreed with the vision for inclusion in principle, agreed that education was a fundamental human right and that all children deserved to feel included and required that in order to achieve their full potential. Many in this sub set also commented on the importance of children developing an appreciation of diversity and understanding of differences and that this would lead to a more just society. It was felt by some that links should be made between leaving education and transition into adult life. Some felt that clarity could be improved by providing a definition of inclusion. It was felt that the terms inclusion and mainstreaming could sometimes be conflated and that it was not clear that an inclusive approach should be the aspiration for children in all settings, not just mainstream schools. There was a concern that 'inclusion' means 'mainstream' when inclusive education should be achieved in all settings.
Many of the respondents who agreed with the vision raised concerns about current practice and implementation of the guidance. It was felt that for this vision to be achieved that the right conditions, staff and support structures had to be in place and this sub set of respondents commented that this was often not the case. Respondents expressed the view that resources needed to be put in place to allow the vision to be realised.
Many of the respondents who responded to the question did not agree with the vision for inclusive education in Scotland. Of those that provided reasons, the responses split between those that did not agree with the vision in principle and those that had concerns about current practice and implementation. Of those that did not agree in principle, they had concerns about the presumption of mainstreaming and thought the implementation of the presumption meant that children were not in the correct place to meet their needs which could mean they were excluded from their learning. Concerns were expressed that this could mean that the rest of the children in a classroom might not get the support required to enable them to meet their full potential. Of those that had concerns about implementation, there were concerns that the vision did not meet the reality of what currently happened in practice and was too aspirational. Of those that raised concerns about implementation the main issue raised was lack of resources. This included staff resources, both teachers and pupil support assistants, and resources to ensure that there was enough provision to cover a wide range of needs both within both mainstream and special schools. Training and support for teachers and pupil support assistants was also highlighted as an issue.