1. Disability Wales: Rights here, rights now.

    February 26, 2024 by admin

    Information pack for Progression steps 1, 2 and 3 aimed at learners and practitioners to support them in promotion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People in education settings.
    Disability Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD) and The Curriculum for Wales: Find them here.


    1. Practitioners Pack
    2. Who is in the circle 24 Cards
    3. Impairments Barriers Solutions
    4. Medical Social Model Words
    5. Diagrams Medical Social Model
    6. UNCRPD Simplified A3 fold
    7. UNCRPD Pictogram Easy Read
    8. List of UNCRPD Articles at a Glance
    9. Full Text of UNCRPD
    10. Simplifies UNCRPD Articles on Cards for Matching Scenarios
    11. Scenario Cards for UNCRPD Article Cards
    12. A Key to matching Scenarios and Cards
    13. Acrostic Poem Disability Rights
    14. Area and School Evaluation
    15. Hari and Aisha Cartoon on Barriers
    16. Joyce going to a new school cartoon

  2. What Makes an Inclusive School?

    October 26, 2023 by admin

    Jacqui and Sally are retired Co-Headteachers – they explain how their school had become one of the most inclusive in the UK. To learn more about Peer mediation and how to set it up in schools, see our video tutorial or learn at your own pace via our online school.

  3. The Inclusion Think Tank Podcast

    April 25, 2022 by admin

    The Inclusion Think Tank Podcast is presented by New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE). This podcast features conversations with inclusive education experts and advocates to discuss the impact of inclusion in schools. It serves as a resource for educators, school administrators, and families who are seeking additional knowledge about topics related to inclusive education.

    NJCIE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves parents and educators in New Jersey. Established in 1989 by professionals and parents, it is the only nonprofit organization in New Jersey with the sole focus on inclusive education and provides needed expertise to schools and educators on how to include students with disabilities into school communities and classrooms with dignity and equality. NJCIE supports inclusive education for all students as a fundamental civil right and views inclusion as a means to creating an equitable, socially just democratic society.

    Listen to all 13 episodes in the playlist below:

  4. Developing an Understanding of Disability Rights in Welsh Curriculum Schools – Pilot Project

    by admin

    The Welsh Government is fully committed to the principles and practices embedded within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD). The Convention requires signatory countries to protect these rights and to monitor progress. Welsh Government are keen to promote the Convention – to help ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by disabled people.

    Working with Richard Rieser, Disability Wales has been commissioned by Welsh Government to produce and pilot curriculum ideas and activities on disability and the UNCRPD to be introduced at Key Stages 1, 2, and 3. These curriculum ideas will be cross curricular, complementing the new reforms: Relationships Sexuality and Religion, Values and Ethics. These curriculum ideas will cross cut the 6 Areas: Expressive arts, Health and well-being, Humanities, Languages, literacy and communication, Mathematics and numeracy, Science and technology and Information Technology and Access.

  5. Richard Rieser Keynote for Quest University, Malaysia

    December 7, 2021 by admin

  6. Videos showing examples of inclusive education

    by admin

  7. Forward to Inclusion or ‘Back’ to Segregation: UK Government SEND Review for England

    August 30, 2021 by admin

    “A whole generation is being let down as there is not sufficient support, or sufficient emphasis on enabling them to achieve their hopes and dreams”
    By Richard Rieser, World of Inclusion

    In 2019/2020 a number of highly critical reports were published on the UK Government’s approach to education for Disabled children and Young people, and those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). These highlight the extent to which things have got worse under the Conservative government, as well as due to COVID-19. They include:

    1. The Audit Commission report, ‘Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in England’, published September 2019, stated:
      “Some pupils with SEND are receiving high quality support that meets their needs, whether they attend mainstream schools or special schools. However, “the significant concerns that we have identified indicate that many other pupils are not being supported effectively, and that pupils with SEND who do not have EHC plans are particularly exposed. The system for supporting pupils with SEND is not, on current trends, financially sustainable. Many local authorities are failing to live within their high-needs budgets and meet the demand for support. Pressures – such as incentives for mainstream schools to be less inclusive, increased demand for special school places, growing use of independent schools and reductions in per-pupil funding – are making the system less, rather than more, sustainable. The Department needs to act urgently to secure the improvements in quality and sustainability that are needed to achieve value for money.
    2. The Parliamentary Education Select Committee Report on SEND, published in October 2019.
      In 2014, Parliament legislated with the intention of transforming the educational experiences of children and Young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The report makes clear this has not happened:“Let down by failures of implementation, the 2014 reforms have resulted in confusion and at times unlawful practice, bureaucratic nightmares, buck-passing and a lack of accountability, strained resources and adversarial experiences, and ultimately dashed the hopes of many… Implementation has been badly hampered by poor administration and a challenging funding environment in which local authorities and schools have lacked the ability to make transformative change.” (Page 3)The Select Committee argues for:
      – More rigorous inspections and a direct route to enable parents to contact Ministers
      – An easing of restrictions on local authorities’ abilities to establish special schools and resource bases
      – Much greater opportunity for Young Disabled people, such as supported internships and apprenticeships
    3. An article in SEN Jungle in September 2019 warned a further SEND Review risked kicking the issue into the long grass:“Ministers know that the reforms haven’t worked as intended in many areas, and that children with all types of needs are losing out on an education, with long-term consequences for their wellbeing and life-chances. They know that families are struggling and having services withdrawn; they know that more than 8,000 children with SEND have no school place; they know that requests for children to have their needs assessed are routinely refused; they know that local authorities find endless inventive and unlawful ways to put up barriers to children receiving support; and they certainly know that education, health and social care services often simply fail to work together in any meaningful way.”

    Lack of Action and COVID-19

    Since these publications, there has been no review published. The COVID-19 pandemic has massively impacted on all children’s learning, but especially Disabled children and Young people. COVID-19 has led to a worsened mental state for a majority of Disabled children, according to a survey of the Disabled Children’s Partnership in March 2021, which found that 29% of Disabled children were shielding, and 54% of parents (of 507 responders) felt that their Disabled child had lost confidence over the previous 12 months. This included life skills, such as being out and about (53%), communicating with others (49%), interaction with strangers (47%) and familiar people (38%).

    The government has talked about ‘catch-up’ but, as we can see from the reports above, the system was not working well for the majority of Disabled children and their parents before lockdown. Now the review, when it comes in late spring, will need to address building back better for the whole SEND system.


    The SEND Review appears to be led by the HM Treasury looking for quick wins to claw back money, rather than providing long-term solutions to the chronic under funding of SEND. There are now 390,109 pupils and students with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), (an increase of 10% on 2019 and 62% on 2015), far more than anyone anticipated. Because the system cannot cope with the increased number of pupils with EHCPs, greater numbers are being educated in inappropriate settings.

    In the past year there has been a 15% rise in the number of pupils with EHCPs attending independent schools, which are not independent special schools. National Education Union analysis indicates that, in order to address the shortfalls, the ‘High Needs Block’ should be £2.1 billion a year higher (assuming the 2020/21 number of EHCPs were funded at the 2015/16 rate). The government has acknowledged the issue and increased funding, (from £350 million for 2019-20, £780 million for 2020-21, to the announced £730m for 2021-22). But this isn’t enough, given the scale of need. The government needs to increase funding in the planned Comprehensive Spending Review for 2023-24. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial situation for many schools, who have incurred additional costs. The failure to keep up in real expenditure terms is putting increasing pressure on school budgets (non-ring-fenced), leading to widespread cuts in vital inclusion support, and subsequently impacting the 1.1 million Disabled students on SEND school support.

    The NEU Conference at Easter 2021 voted strongly for policies supporting inclusive education, including restoring funding, and was a great day for the NEU, Disabled people, parents of Disabled students and education in general, to achieve unity on such a wide-ranging motion. It highlighted how a range of government policies on curriculum, assessment, privatisation, real-term funding cuts, disproportionate exclusion rates, and failure to implement disability equality duties under the Equalities Act, has meant Disabled children and Young people have been let down by the mainstream school system. When combined with other intersectional identities, for instance class and gender, these outcomes have led to multiple failures. Meanwhile, the growth in local authorities (LAs) placing Disabled children in expensive independent schools is causing a great financial strain on LA budgets. The Conference agreed to, “build a widespread campaign for better treatment of Disabled staff and students and to achieve a well-resourced mainstream inclusive education system, sufficiently funded with trained staff, where all can thrive.”

    Demands for when the SEND Review goes out to consultation

    We know the money and solutions exist. This is a political issue and we have set out the following demands for the UK Government to implement in the SEND Review:

    1. Full government funding: Meet the growth in students with SEND on EHC Plans and school support – ring fenced so these students benefit directly from the current notional £6000.
    2. Develop government policies in line with Article 24 of UN-CRPD: Explicitly support mainstream schools in developing inclusive education instead of omitting it from policy.
    3. Stop building free special schools: An injection of resources to develop and increase mainstream provision to halt the large increase in placements in special schools, phasing out the use of expensive independent special schools by LAs.
    4. Improve training on SEND and inclusion: Initial and continuing professional development with mandatory in-service whole staff training and disability equality and human rights training for all.
    5. Reform the Curriculum and Assessment system: Build a flexible, child friendly system, including (new) non-exam-based accreditation, including creative, vocational, interpersonal and social skills, and moderated teacher assessments, which have worked during lockdown.
    6. End exclusions and ban zero tolerance behaviour policies (for instance, Behaviour Hubs): Empower Disabled students, end disablist bullying and introduce/enhance peer support/collaboration and buddy systems.
    7. Fully implement the School Access Planning Duty within 5 years, by which time all schools must be accessible.
    8. Empower all Disabled children and parents to know and exercise their rights to fully resourced inclusive education, requiring an inclusive ethos and strong person-centred approach.
    9. Government policy to create a more relaxed and stress-free environment in schools: Including amental health counsellor in every school and increased funding for CAMHS.
    10. Reasonable Adjustments: Government to enforce a public duty to Disability Equality and fully implement Reasonable Adjustments throughout the education system.

    To achieve the above demands and reorient the English education SEND system toward inclusion, parents, teachers, school students, trade unions and the community need to work in solidarity over the coming months. Please get involved and do all you can to spread these ideas.

    This article is reproduced from Inclusion Now Issue 59.

  8. National Education Union lights a beacon to fight to build and protect our inclusive mainstream education system for children and young people with SEND.

    April 12, 2021 by admin

    Last Thursday 8th April the largest Education Union in the UK, the National Education Union voted, with only 1 abstention and none against, to build a broad based campaign to address disability in schools in England and Wales for both students and staff. The motion was moved on behalf of the Disabled Members’ Conference by Richard Rieser, a veteran disabled campaigner, teacher and consultant who runs World of Inclusion and is the Equality Officer in the NEU Hackney District.

    Richard said:
    “This is a great day for the Union, disabled people, parents of disabled students and education in general to achieve unity on such a wide ranging motion. Clearly a range of Government policies on curriculum, assessment, privatisation, real term funding cuts, disproportionate exclusion rates and failure to implement disability equality duties under the Equalities Act have meant that disabled children and young people are being let down by the mainstream school system. These outcomes, when combined with race and poverty, lead to multiple failure.

    Meanwhile the growth in Local Authority’s placing disabled children in expensive independent schools is causing a great financial strain on Local Authority Budgets. 

    The Conference agreed to build a widespread campaign for better treatment of disabled staff and students and to achieve a well-resourced mainstream inclusive education system, sufficiently funded and trained staff, where all can thrive”.

    The motion was strengthened by an amendment from Colleen Johnson, Executive Member representing Disabled Members, to develop a framework of Disability Equality to challenge stereotypes, negative attitudes and feed into the curriculum and for this to have a high profile launch.

    See motion below Addressing the Crisis of Disability Equality in Our Schools
    On Friday 9th April the NEU also adopted a near unanimous vote a strongly worded motion on SEND Funding and Mental Health from Stockton and Durham prioritised by many Districts across the country. The motion reproduced below notes the bleak position on SEND budgets with Local Authorities at breaking point; that schools are struggling to fulfil their commitments to children and students with SEND under the Code of Practice; that schools have no specific funding allocated to them for students with SEND, with more inclusive schools penalised; that for many of these students COVID 19 has disadvantaged them further; that real terms cuts have disproportionately hit support staff and are undermining schools’ abilities to meet SEND and mental health; that Higher needs funding is insufficient, leading to top slicing of schools’ budgets and an Education Health and Care Plan if eventually agreed does not automatically lead to the funding required to meet needs.

    The motion then instructed the national Executive to urge the government for an immediate increase in funding to all schools and colleges; to ensure sufficient trained therapists and professionals are available to support all those needs;

    to carry out an evidence based review for higher needs funding to support all with SEND and Mental Health; to ensure support for members, parents and other campaigns for proper SEND funding, campaign for the further development of good SEND provision in mainstream and alternate provision; that all EHCPs are properly funded and end the transfer of funding from one Block to another by properly funding all SEND and mental health needs. A successful amendment moved by Emma Parker from Durham set up a SEND organising forum and highlighted the underfunding of post 18 students with EHC Plans, so preventing them achieving their legal entitlement to training and education up to their 25th birthday.

    See Policy on SEND and Mental Health below.

    These two progressive policy outcomes together with successful motions for a moratorium on exclusions, especially for black students and those with SEND (interpreted by the General Secretaries of NEU to be for all students apart from those accused of serious violence to staff/students or sexual harassment), means adequate training and support to prevent exclusions; the revision to a broader based child friendly curriculum which is more recognising of diversity, replacing narrow league tables and tests with teacher assessment, replacement of OFSTED and replacement of GCSEs and A Levels with more flexible assessment suited to a wider variety of students. The National Education Union now has a full range of coherent policies to support SEND and Disabled students which can lead to the development of a progressive, egalitarian and inclusive education system capable of meeting the needs of all our students. All the narrow government education policies were challenged at the NEU Conference. If the above alternatives were implemented the barriers would be removed which are increasingly making our mainstream schools uninhabitable to children and young people with SEND.

    Now we have to build a broad based campaign with parents, other unions and the community to get a fully funded and inclusive education system where all children and students can thrive. The publication of the Green Paper on the SEND system in May will be a first opportunity to build this mass unity.

    Addressing the Crisis of Disability Equality in Our Schools

    1. With concern the unfavourable treatment of disabled staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, including failures to make reasonable adjustments for those at high risk of infection. This treatment reflects an ongoing failure to eliminate discrimination and harassment against disabled staff.

    1. Schools are generally failing to observe the General Equality Duty towards disabled staff and pupils required by Section 149 of the Equality Act, where Responsible Bodies need due regard to i.e. eliminating discrimination and harassment of disabled staff and pupils in all decision making.
    2. The failure of many schools to provide effective education to pupils with SEND, often blaming the pupil for the school’s and Government’s systemic failures. In particular, the disproportionate exclusion of pupils with SEND, off-rolling, insufficient differentiation of curriculum and assessment. While we note the Education, Legislation maintains a presumption of inclusion, to which the Union is also committed; the reality is high levels of disablist bullying, increasingly schools saying ‘they cannot meet need’ and the building of new special schools, growth in the proportion of SEND pupils attending special schools/alternative provision, while SEND budgets in real terms are reduced.
    3. The recent report from ALLFIE showing schools are largely failing to have effective statutory Access Plans (Schedule 10 Equality Act). They are inadequate, often not annually reviewed, consulted upon with pupils and parents, containing information on improving access to the curriculum, not removing physical and information barriers for disabled pupils at the school.
      Conference instructs the Executive to: –
      a) Campaign to collectivise the treatment of disabled staff and change school culture to support them.
      b) Build with unions, parents and disabled people’s organisations a campaign for a properly funded inclusive education system, to achieve adequate SEND funding, large scale staff training on inclusive pedagogy, a curtailing of normative testing, revision of curriculum and assessment and accessible schools, so disabled pupils and others can thrive.
      c) Mount a high-profile NEU campaign to achieve disability equality for staff and pupils in all our schools.
      d) Create a Disability Equality Framework that enriches the curriculum by challenging both negative attitudes and stereotypes.
      e) Provide a well -advertised national launch event for the framework, that involves Disabled members, with regional events to follow which promote the framework by illustrating good practice”.
      Carried as amended National Education Union Conference Thursday 8th April 2021
      837 For 0 Against 1 Abstention

    SEND Funding and Mental Health (Composite)
    Conference notes:

    1. The picture facing schools and colleges supporting students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is bleak, with budgets at breaking point and severe cuts to health and social care provision.
    2. Schools are struggling to meet the needs of our most vulnerable pupils and the lack of sufficient funding and a more coherent approach are rendering the SEND code of practice is nothing more than an empty promise from government to parents and students.
    3. One million of the recognised 1.28 million students with SEND do not have any additional funding afforded to them, and therefore the financial burden of additional support penalises those schools that are the most inclusive.
    4. Students across the UK have also had their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and have had to adjust to dramatic changes in their education, routine and home life. Some have experienced bereavement or other traumatic experiences
      during the lockdown, while groups who were already marginalised or disadvantaged are now likely to become more so.
    5. The real terms cuts to mainstream funding have led to cuts in learning and pastoral support staff and access to specialist support, which is undermining the ability of schools to support their students with SEND and mental health and is failing our students.
    6. Conference notes that High Needs Funding is insufficient for the number of, and needs of, children with SEND.
    7. Conference further notes that school budgets continue to be top sliced, through local Schools Forum agreements, in order to make up the shortfall in the High Needs Funding block. This takes much needed funding from one already underfunded block to support
    8. Conference understands that even if a child has an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP), the school or college they attend may not automatically be given the funded needed to support the child. An additional application is sometimes needed to obtain High Needs Funding.
      Conference instructs the Executive to urge the government to:
      (i) Work with the Union to undertake a full, evidence-based review of current and future demand for high needs funding to support students with SEND, and of the real cost of supporting students with SEND and those with mental health concerns
      (ii) Agree an immediate increase in funding to all schools and colleges
      (iii) Ensure that there are sufficient trained therapists and professionals available to support SEND and mental health needs of students.
      Conference further instructs the Executive to:
      a. Undertake a survey of members, to ascertain the situation of SEND students and those experiencing mental health issues.
      b. Support members, parents and others campaigning for proper funding and support for SEND students and those experiencing mental health issues.
      c. Conduct an enquiry as to how much money has been transferred from school budgets to support High Needs funding.
      d. Campaign for the further development of good SEND provision, both in mainstream and in alternative settings.
      e. Call for EHCPs to automatically come with the required level of funding needed to properly support a child with SEND.
      f. Continue to campaign for properly funded school and college budgets, including proper High Needs funding, to ensure budgets are no longer transferred from one block to another, allowing funding to be used for its intended purpose.
      g. Set up a SEND organising forum for members in Specialist, alternative provisions and those who support SEND students where they can meet virtually on a termly basis to discuss issues arising and organise activist and community-based campaigns.
      h. Highlight the inequalities older students and families are facing around benefits and access to educational provisions. EHCPs are for students 0-25 Years old however many families are unable to access support and provisions once they reach 18”.

    Carried 801 For 6 Against , 1 abstention

  9. Resources and Recordings from the Inclusive Education Festival

    March 31, 2021 by admin

    Watch the online sessions which took place during NDTi’s Inclusive Education Festival, 15-19 March 2021. During the week, there were eight sessions to showcase great stories where inclusion really works and what needs to happen to ensure a more inclusive society.

    View them here

  10. Why Inclusion Matters films

    March 15, 2021 by admin

    Some excellent films on Inclusion in British Columbia and Finland made about the visits of two Early Years educators from Singapore seeking alternatives to the rigid, assessment driven high stakes testing of Singapore by the Lien Foundation. I recommend them highly. 

    Richard Rieser CEO World of Inclusion Ltd

    Why Inclusion Matters

    Inclusive education values children as individuals and enables them to belong, participate and achieve their full potential regardless of their learning differences. It is the basic building block of an inclusive society.

    Schools are places where we need to start cultivating skills such as social sensitivity, collaboration and the ability to work with others who are different. There is strong, consistent evidence that an inclusive education – where children with special needs learn alongside typically developing peers with adequate support – benefits all children.

    A review of 280 research studies from 25 countries by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found those with special needs who are educated in mainstream settings make greater gains in all areas of development than their peers in segregated settings. For typical children, being educated alongside a child with a special need does not lead to negative consequences. In fact, they gain academically and socially from inclusion over time.

    Beyond locating these children in the same classrooms, effective inclusion requires educators to develop a better understanding of their strengths and provide multiple pathways to learn. Such efforts can help to break the boundaries between “mainstream” and “special” education and broaden the repertoire of skills, pedagogical practices and capabilities in schools to deal with diversity more effectively.

    What is “How We Do School”

    An initiative of the Lien Foundation, How We Do School is a nine episode series of short films that explores how Finnish and British Columbia schools address the increasingly diverse learning needs of its students and what we can learn from them.

    We took two Singapore educators from the early childhood education and special education sectors – Dr Jacqueline Chung, Senior Principal and Academic Director at St James’ Church Kindergarten and Ms Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director at Rainbow Centre – to Finland and British Columbia to learn their journeys towards greater inclusivity and equity in its education system. By showing what is possible, we hope this can in turn inspire Singapore and inform ways that we can go about making inclusion more of a reality.

    Why British Columbia?

    Canada, similar to Finland and Singapore, is ranked highly on global education indicators and regarded as a leading nation in the area of inclusive education and disability.

    Ideas about inclusive education have developed over the decades. British Columbia, one of the 10 provinces in the country with a similar population as Singapore, began with separate schools run by parents of children with disabilities in the 1960s. It moved quickly to segregated classrooms within public schools, and eventually to schools where students with special needs are included in regular classrooms with other typical children. By the early 2000s, there were no more special education schools in the province’s , as policies shifted to resource classroom teachers appropriately with assistants and access to professionals like therapists and consultants in special education.

    Families were the primary force behind this move as they advocated for their children with special needs to attend school in their neighbourhood and receive the support required for their children to be successful in regular classroom settings, instead of segregated programmes. Since the 1950s, ground-up groups like Inclusion BCFamily Support Institute and PLAN, run by professionals who are parents of children with disabilities, have journeyed with government to empower families after them and progress standards of inclusion in schools. There is much to learn from British Columbia, which has made inclusion a hallmark of its educational system, as its stakeholders navigate shrinking budgets and political changes to get students and teachers the support they need.

    Read More: The Big Read with TODAY Online

    Why Finland?

    Finland, like Singapore, is ranked highly on global education indicators. At the same time, it is based on equity and idea of ‘education for all’, which have been key drivers in developing an inclusive education system. The country stopped building special education schools back in the 1990s and has since moved to close down many of these segregated schools over the years.

    In fact, its three-tiered system of support to meet the diverse learning needs of its students is built into its mainstream education system and is often cited as one of the key factors behind the country’s high equity and high performance in international comparisons.

    While the number of students requiring special education hasn’t decreased, it was a strategic move to provide special education within mainstream school class settings. Finland’s journey offers insights on how we can improve and calibrate our education system to stay relevant as we gear all children to be productive members of society.”

    Read more: Learning for all, the Finnish way with The Straits Times


    How We Do School: British Columbia Filmed 2019 

    Episode 1 Bridging the Divide https://youtu.be/XT0n5uTSjyY
    Episode 2 Forging Friendships https://youtu.be/vTxm5Rx36F8
    Episode 3 Learners in Progress https://youtu.be/xVfUseGt5IY
    Episode 4 Teaming Up https://youtu.be/f-5poIBv44E
    Episode 5  Power to Parents https://youtu.be/1mH0LIOfwhw

    How We Do School :Finland  Filmed 2018

    Episode 1 What’s So Special https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aheDzMrKuEM
    Episode 2 Teaching TwoGether https://youtu.be/6RJ-Y3xmyFo
    Episode 3 School for All https://youtu.be/ceWeIKLfgv8
    Episode 4 Out of School Into the World https://youtu.be/WI-OlkoLDEk