Why Include?

School is the gateway to society and inclusive communities start with inclusive neighbourhood schools that  value diversity and respect the right of ALL students to be welcomed and to belong – they benefit not only students with disabilities but ALL students.

An inclusive school …

  • Welcomes ALL children, regardless of background ability or other “difference”
  • Recognizes that ALL children are capable of learning
  • Respects the diversity among children: age, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, social status, health
  • Adopts structures, systems and methodologies for education that respond to the diverse needs of ALL children
  • Embraces its role in promoting an inclusive society
  • Understands that education is a dynamic process that continues to evolve to respond to the needs of today’s children – tomorrow’s citizens

Inclusion matters because …

  • RIGHTS!
    • Inclusion is a right.
      • Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises the right to an inclusive education as a human right of people with disability.
      • In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 ensures equal access by people with a disability to education by making it against the law for an educational authority to discriminate because of disability.
      • State Equal Opportunity Laws also offer discrimination protections.
  • RESEARCH!
    • Inclusion is best evidence practice for students with disability.
      • The case for inclusive education over “special education” models (“special schools” or “education support units”) is overwhelming.  Over 40 years of research shows that when students with disability are included, all students learn and achieve more.  A  comprehensive review of all studies over a 40-year period that compared education outcomes for students with disability in segregated “special” versus regular education environments found that NO study supported better outcomes in “special” settings.
      • Research also shows that when they are included, students with disability have:
        • greater access to the general education curriculum
        • more time “on task”
        • more academic gains
        • more progress on literacy skills
        • increased communication skills
        • improved social skills
        • more friendships.
    • Inclusion is better for ALL students.
      • The research has also shown consistently that children who share inclusive schools with children with disabilities have more positive attitudes towards difference, better social skills and awareness, less disruptive behaviours and more developed personal values and ethics.
      • Inclusive learning environments have also been shown to have no detrimental impact, and some positive impact, on the academic performance of regular students.
  • REAL FUTURES!
    • Inclusion at school is the foundation of inclusive futures and welcoming communities.  In inclusive schools, ALL students of ALL abilities, learn the skills they need to live full lives as part of their communities and to build the communities of the future.

Inclusion is happening EVERYWHERE!  All over the world, there are schools practising excellence in inclusive education. Countries like Canada have been implementing inclusive education for several decades and in Italy 99% of students with disabilities have been educated in regular schools since the late 1970s.  Most developing countries are also on the path to inclusive education.

Want to know more?

See:

Inclusion in Education: Towards Equality for Students with Disability, Dr K. Cologon, Children and Young People With Disability Australia.

Inclusion or Segregation for Children with an Intellectual Impairment: What does the Research Say?“, Dr. R. Jackson, Adjust Associate Professor of Education, Edith Cowan University, Australia.

Inclusion Works! Inclusive education, research and practice“, Xuan Bui, Carol Quirk, Selene Almazan, Michele Valenti.


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