1. Inclusive Education: IDA produces a consensus paper on how to achieve SDG 4 in compliance with CRPD Article 24

    April 1, 2020 by admin

    Despite some progress in international frameworks and progress in the development of more adequate education laws and policies, there is no certainty that any country for that matter is on track to ensure access to quality inclusive education for all children with disabilities by 2030. In a context of competing priorities and limited funding, it was essential that DPOs come up with clear messages and recommendations, building on the evidence of what works and looking at mechanisms for taking good practices to scale for broader impact.

    As part if its Inclusive Education Flagship initiative (funded by the Disability Catalyst Programme of DFID), IDA and its members created a dedicated technical task team who worked to provide an evidence-based DPO perspective to frame the implementation of SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) in compliance with CRPD Article 24.

    The consensus document is based on extensive exchanges between IDA members (IFHOH, II, WBU, WFD), dialogue with members of the International Disability Development Consortium (IDDC) and review of literature and in-depth analysis of the Nepal context, including an exchange with Nepalese representatives of disability organizations (DPOs). This document is the result of a collaborative process that lasted 16 months and included:

    • A stock taking workshop with the IDDC IE task group in March 2018 and preparation of a preliminary report on the global state of play of education in general and for learners with disabilities in particular.
    • A comprehensive data collection on Nepal and an in-depth exchange with Nepalese DPOs in March 2019, and interaction with DFID and UNICEF.
    • A workshop in Brighton in July 2019, to formalise this consensus

    This Document is divided into 2 parts:

    • The common IDA Vision for Sustained Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) implemented by 2030 in line with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
    • The elements of dialogue that contributed to building the common vision (parameters set to frame the exchange and country analysis, key points of general consensus, the “special schools” debate)

    You can access to the documents here:

    • The full text of the consensus paper, validated by the Board of IDA in November 2019
    • A summary version, which was shared with UNESCO’s team in charge of producing the 2020 Global Education Monitor (GEM) report
    • A video by the members of the IDA Inclusive Education task team presenting key points of the paper

  2. Direct Action at the United Nations Conference of States Parties UNCRPD makes point of principle on Access

    June 23, 2019 by Richard Rieser

    Delegates to the Civil Society Forum of the Conference of State Parties of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held on Monday 10th June were told by Mohammed Lofty of DPI who was chairing the afternoon session that the UN had decidded on ‘safety grounds’that wheelchair users who were observers, would not be alloweed to the opening ceremony in the General Assembly Hall on the morning of Tuesday 11th June and that the afternoon and subsequent sessions in Committee Room C they would need to go to an overflow room in Committee Room E to watch proceedings remotely.

    This led to a number of delegate observers from the UK Michelle Daley, Anthony Ford, Richard Rieser and Lucy Mason to start a discussion that led to a leaflet and a call for a puicket the next morning
    Leaflet given out at UN Picket 11th June 2019

    Efforts were made to run off leaflets at the Hotel were delegates were staying and this was bbosted by Fed EX being open until 10 pm wwhere another 200 were printed.

    Pictures of thje Picket
    Picket at UN 110619

    Richard Rieser representing Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance International Committee, the author of the leaflet, was at the UN in the Foyer to give out leaflets at 8.50 am and soon joined by many other delegates and more than 60 mainly wheelchair users joined the picket. Many country delegates to the COSPs took the leaflet and said they would rais the matter inside. Soon officials from the UN came and said it was a mistake and would be sorted out. We said we would not move until the matter was resolved. Fifeteen Min utes later Vladamir Cuk, Chief Executive of International Disability Alliance thanked us and said 20 wheelchair using observers would be allowed onto the floor of the general assembly and 40 in the balcony. This would not have happened without the Action.

    This photo shows wheelchair using observers inside the General Assembly
    Picket Tuesday 11th June at UN

    Wheelchair users can bee seen on right and left of the main floor as a result of the action.

  3. The Crisis in Special Education and Disability (SEND) Funding in the English Education System

    May 6, 2019 by admin

    Just before Christmas the Government added £125m to the Higher Needs SEN Budget for this year and next. This was their response to an unprecedented campaign by parents challenging local authority cuts to statutory funding for their children’s SEN with successful judicial reviews; Headteachers complaining about their inability to support pupils with SEN and a big campaign from the NEU and other teachers’ organisations and charities. But this will not address the structural problems that have been set up by Government cuts of school budgets in general and Government policies which increasingly reduced the possibility of schools successfully including disabled pupils and those with special educational needs (SEND). This has led to a big increase in the proportion of students in special schools, increased exclusions, off rolling and more parents being forced to home educate. What is needed is a completely different approach and only Labour have this.
    “Almost every report that comes out of charities, researchers, Ofsted and the DfE’s own commissioned research – many of which we have covered on SNJ – reports the same picture: Not enough money, not enough SEND in teachers’ training, too many children being excluded, too many poor outcomes for disabled children, rising numbers heading to Tribunal, not enough mental health support in schools, too high criteria for access to CAMHS, insufficient support in mainstream, too, too many children in crisis”. Special Needs Jungle 5th December 2018.

    A cut of 8% in real terms between 2015 and 2020 was predicted. Now we have verification from Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) that total school spending in England has risen by around 1% in real terms between 2009–10 and 2017–18, but pupil numbers have risen by around 10% translating into cuts in spending per pupil in England (8%). The IFS go on to say “if you just look at money that goes directly to schools for pupils up to age 16 then school spending per pupil was protected in real terms under the coalition government and then cut by about 4% in real terms between 2015 and 2017. Our bigger estimated cut of 8% between 2009–10 and 2017–18 includes the additional effects of much larger cuts to school sixth form spending per pupil (25%) and local authority spending (55%). Local authority services include spending on home-to-school transport, additional support for pupils with special educational needs, central administration”.This cut has been increased by the Government’s refusal to pay for the full 3.5% pay award, recommended by the Pay Review Board. Schools will have to find at least 1%. As pay is a very substantial part of school budgets, this effectively takes the reduction up to 9%.

    A National Association of Head Teachers NAHT survey of 600 primary head teachers showed 94% found it harder to resource SEND than 2 years ago and only 2% said top up funding was sufficient to meet Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

    Showing their anger at cuts in real spend of schools, over 2000 headteachers demonstrated in Whitehall on 28th September. High among their concerns was their increasing inability to put in place the provision required by children with SEND.

    One head teacher from Suffolk told how she had been bitten by a pupil this week.”It wasn’t his fault. It was because of a situation outside of school, and his emotional support had been cut two weeks earlier because of the cuts.”She could not give her name in case the pupil was identified, but she added: “We have children who are distressed and angry and we can’t help them.”Another Suffolk head teacher, Kelly Head from Springfield Infants School, said: “It’s head teachers here protesting because there’s no one left. We are using people left, right and centre to cover all sorts of jobs in schools.”

    Stockport head teacher, Jim Nicholson, said he was fed up with hearing this government line.”We have seen how our colleagues are having to lay off staff and our vulnerable pupils are not getting support. We’d all rather be back in school teaching. But we’ve had enough”.

    Some statistics indicate the scale of the problem. The number of children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans or Statements has increased by 35% in five years. The number of children and young people being educated in specialist schools and colleges went up by 24% during the same period. The number of parents taking Local Authority decisions on EHCP to SEND Tribunal has increased from 3,147 to 5,697 registered appeals from 2014/15 to 2017/18 and of those that go to a full appeal 89% are found in favour of parents. In January 2018, 4,152 children deemed to have special needs had not been found a school place (up from 776 in 2010). Latest exclusion data for 2016/17 show 46.7% of all permanent exclusions (6x the rate for non-disabled pupils) and 44.9% of fixed term exclusions (5x the rate for non disabled pupils) are pupils with identified SEN (14.3% of school population).

    To understand how this position has been reached it is essential to understand the mechanisms of how schools are funded and how pupils with SEN are funded. Funding for schools is made up of a number of elements. The DFE give a grant to Local Authorities the Direct Schools’ Grant (DSG).This is calculated on school census data from the previous year and adjusted . The DSG consists of an early years block (£3,542m.), a central services block (£ 460 m) a schools block broken into primary and secondary (£33,683m) and a higher needs block (£6,114m) for SEND. The figures in brackets are the amount distributed to Local Authorities in 2018/19 (total £43,809m). From these amounts relevant money is then recouped for money paid directly to academies and free schools. The money is then allocated to schools.

    However, the Local Authority directly allocate funding to all providers on a per pupil basis. The schools’ budget is made up of amount of money per pupil and some basic money, to this is added a notional £6,000 for additional needs based on various indicators such as mobility, free school meals. This is not ring-fenced and does not have to be spent on pupils with additional needs. However, to get money from Higher Needs Budget the school is expected to have spent £10,000 (£4000 AWPU and £6000 additional funding) on a pupil with SEND and show this is not meeting their needs, before the school can draw down additional funding. Local Authorities vary on how they allocate Higher Needs Funding, but for most there has to be a statutory SEN assessment of the pupil before they can access this extra funding for their provision under their Education, Health and Care Plan (until the 2014 Children and Families Act this was a Statement).

    There are also extra grants such as Pupil Premium, which is based on numbers eligible for Free School Meals on the roll of the school. Special schools get place funded for a minimum of £10,000 per pupil, usually with additional bands of funding. For schools outside the Local Authority or non maintained or independent schools the LA has to pay the full fee. So though only 6% of students are on Higher Needs provision in this sector it takes 14% of the Higher Needs Budget. Overall over the last four years the switch away from mainstream inclusion has cost an additional estimated £277 million.

    The ISOS study for the LGA had returns from 93 English Local Authorities out of 150. They have gone from a net surplus on Higher Needs in 2015/16 to an accumulated deficit of £314 million in 2018/19. If scaled up this is £470 m. Many LAs have been able to vire from other parts of DSG, but this has been largely stopped by Government, or use reserves and there are no more reserves to draw upon. The ISOS Study identifies a number of factors that will exacerbate the funding gap and project a national deficit on higher needs funding of between £1.2 billion and £1.6 billion by 20121. The £125m this year and £125 million for 2019/20 cash injection from Damien Hinds will only slow this deficit accumulation down. The underlying factors need seriously addressing.

    Local Authority Higher Needs Budgets are massively overspent and leading to unlawful reductions in funding for those with statutory Education Health and Care Plans. Parents are challenging this and have already halted reductions in Bristol with a Judicial Review. Surrey and Hackney parents are awaiting the outcome of their Judicial Review. The reduction in school budgets is leading to big reductions in support staff and schools’ capacity to include for example, despite secondary pupil numbers rising by 77,090 from 2014 to 2018, the number of teaching assistants (TAs) has been cut by 6,100. Reductions in support staff mean mainstream schools are less likely to effectively include SEND students.

    Since the 2014 Act, there has been an increase in students with an EHC Plan and where they are educated is changing. For school age students (4-16) this has gone up from 229,390 in 2013 to 253,680 in 2018, a growth of 10%. The 2014 Act extended the age range for a statement or EHC Plan from 3-19 to 0 to-25 years old. This has led to a much larger growth in numbers on EHCPs from 237,111 in 2014 to 319,819 in 2018 . The growth in numbers with EHC Plans has been in primary education 24 %, only 3% in 11 to 15 years, but has gone up 55% in 16 to 19 years and 16% in post 19. No additional funding was added to the Higher Needs budget for the growth in post 16 funding. There has been an increase in the numbers of children with complex needs due to advances in medical science keeping disabled children alive, austerity and poverty leading to greater trauma in early childhood. The pressure on base budgets is making it more difficult for mainstream schools to support children with SEND.

    Although many school staff are still committed to inclusion, national education policies have combined to create an environment where mainstream schools are not rewarded or incentivised to be inclusive. The accountability regime and the new national curriculum with more fact based learning and assessments, inspections, floor targets and Progress 8 do not reward schools that maintain a high level of inclusion. There has been a dramatic drop in secondary schools in particular where academies make up the majority. Between 2014 and 2018 the number of students on SEN Support dropped from 17% (566,120) to 12.3% (399,800). At the same time numbers with a statement or ECHP dropped from 1.9% (59,700) to 1.6% (53,025).

    The Special Educational Needs Coordinator in mainstream schools is a statutory requirement and they have to be a qualified teacher and undergo additional training within three years of appointment. In many ways they are the ‘litmus test’ of how well inclusion is going. Therefore the recent NEU/NASEN survey carried out by Bath Spa University is of interest. Of the over 2000 SENCOs taking part (summer 2018) 74% said they did not have enough time to ensure those on SEN Support (1,022,535) could access provision. Only 34% thought they would still be in the role in 5 years and the main reason was lack of resources and lack of time to do the job.
    Labour are committed when elected to develop an inclusive education system with special educational needs fully funded. But the pressure forcing more and more children out of mainstream must be stopped. To make this happen the high stakes testing, role of OFSTED and narrow curriculum will need to be replaced. Staff will need sufficient training, local authorities must be allowed to build and develop much more resourced provision and central support teams. All schools will need to be brought back under local democratic control. Disability bullying will need to be effectively tackled. The plethora of independent schools siphoning money out of the Local Authority system must be replaced by local provision. Most of all, schools will need to be incentivised and supported to become properly inclusive and this will be much encouraged by creating a collaborative National Education System which is fully funded and equitable.

    Labour Members of Councils need to be coming up with shadow plans about how they will go about developing a fully inclusive education system in their area and what changes will be necessary and what it will cost. We will not be able to do everything at once when Labour form a Government so these plans should outline priorities.

    Richard Rieser
    Islington North CLP Disability Officer and World of Inclusion

  4. Marsha de Cordova on International Day of Disabled People

    December 3, 2018 by Richard Rieser


  5. Successful Lobby of DFE and Petition Against SEND Cuts Tuesday 23rd October read ‘Where Now For Inclusive Education?’

    October 25, 2018 by Richard Rieser


    Where Now for Inclusive Education
    Where now for Inclusive Education?
    Richard Rieser, World of Inclusion rlrieser@gmail.com
    Progress towards a more equitable society where all can exercise their human rights, is often not straight forward. Powerful vested interests can subtly draw parents into their web, so confusing them about what is in their or their children’s best interests.

    Progress towards inclusive education for disabled children and those with special educational needs is a case in point. The current coalition Government says it is committed ‘to removing the bias to inclusive education in our English Education system’ and supports more parental choice while introducing real term cuts across all schools and seeking to break up a thirty year consensus of moving towards more inclusive approaches. At the same time under the smokescreen of ‘choice’ parents and special schools are being urged/bribed to opt-out of Local Authority support and planning to set up Special Academies and special Free Schools.

    Under the last Government, after a wide consultation with parents and educationalists, the Lamb Inquiry identified 60 improvements that could be made to the education system for disabled children and those with SEN. Many of these have been ignored by the present Government, choosing instead to thrust the education of disabled children into the front line in their ideological battle to break up state education and prepare the way for much greater private sector involvement.
    In the Green Paper ‘Support and Aspiration’, they hold out a panacea of ‘parental choice’, ‘new special school academies’, ‘special free schools’, removal of bureaucracy and the streamlining of the process of assessing needs and providing support, by providing a single assessment of disabled young people aged 0-25, for Education, Health and Care Plans. It can sound seductive to parents who have been fighting to get their disabled children a decent education.

    Even Local Authorities that were exemplary in meeting the needs of disabled children are being forced to weaken their services by centrally imposed cuts.The National Deaf Children’s Society recently reported thayt 40% of Las in England have cut the number of specialist Teachers of the Deaf. In attempts not to cut class teachers massive cuts programmes have been announced across Children’s Services in nearly every Local Authority over the next four years. For example Barnet, Lambeth, City of Leicester Educational Psychologists are being cut, in Haringey Speech and Language Therapists and Youth Workers across the country. Educational Welfare is a favourite target, as are Behaviour support teams such as in Tower Hamlets and Camden. All this can only be viewed as a cynical exercise to destabilise the provision for SEN and disabled pupils, to open it up to privatisation.

    Yet the vast majority of parents of children with statements of SEN, those on School Action and School Action Plus are happy with the provision made for their children. There are currently 1.7 million children in the SEN system and all but 6% are in mainstream schools. There is not a huge rush to the SENDIST to get children placed in special schools. There are 254,000 children with a statement of SEN and 41% attend special schools. In 2009-2010 there were 1408 appeals to SENDIST, which involved where the child went to school, with 443 of these conceded to the parents. This hardly evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with the SEN system, as claimed by the Government.

    It is true that a minority of parents, particularly of children on the autistic continuum, are unhappy with the treatment their disabled children receive at school. According to the Council for Disabled Children many who have opted for special school claim to be refugees from the mainstream system where their child was bullied or their needs were not met.
    Since 2002 all schools have been under a legal duty to eradicate disability related harassment against disabled pupils, and yet according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission Triennial Review-How Equal is Britain (2010) , 80% say they have experienced bullying at school. Since 2002, all schools have been under a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils in admission, education and associated services and exclusion. Yet exclusion of disabled pupils are 9 times higher than non-disabled pupils and 20 times higher for those on School Action Plus. This is clear evidence of a lack of training and whole school provision to accommodate disabled pupils. Despite rhetoric and policies from the last Government about inclusion, over the last 13 years there were more children in separate segregated settings because of their SEN or impairment than when they came to power.

    There were of course many schools where there was an inclusive ethos , positive attitudes and good inclusive practice-around 20% according to OFSTED (2004). A larger number of mainstream schools around 60% were adequate but with much room for improvement. 20% were not implementing inclusive practice. Much of this poor practice results from the old deficit model, as viewing the problem within the child and their impairment-medical model thinking. The good practice is in schools which are prepared to change and adapt policies, practices and curricula, to accommodate different styles and types of learning and assessment. Such schools also have a leadership whose ethos is informed by equalities and inclusion, where staff are supported in resources, staffing and training disability equality from a social model. Interestingly, neither the Education Bill nor the Green Paper address this success of inclusive education or analyses how to make it more widespread and effective, in line with international treaty requirements, such as Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. In addition, the Green Paper says the Government will make it more difficult for parents to choose a mainstream school for their disabled children, bringing back caveats to Section 316 of the 1996 Education Act, which were dropped in the 2001 Act. Therefore, the cost of mainstream education and the appropriateness will be reintroduced, bringing back the position of ‘compulsory segregation’ against the wishes of parent and child that existed before 2002. This fits in with the new harsh approach to exclusion with no appeal, which will lead to an increase in the exclusion of disabled pupils. Already there is much evidence of a disproportionate number of disabled pupils being excluded from Academies.

    Teachers need more training on how to run inclusive classrooms. Nearly every class has disabled children. The Government are suggesting that the expertise of special schools is key to developing training for mainstream colleagues on how to include disabled children. This is to misunderstand the specialist expertise of special school colleagues, which by its very nature does not fit into the mainstream setting.

    The gains made in the development of inclusive education are now under threat by Government. However, good inclusive practice was always initiated and led by teachers and head teachers, seeking greater equality for disabled pupils and students. It will be harder in the coming months and years, but we are engaged in a struggle for the heart and soul of not only our education system but our society. We will need to keep inclusion as one of our goals for a good local school for every child in every area, rather than the inequality of choice and privatisation.

  6. People Like Us: Anna Sullivan, a Memoir.

    October 15, 2018 by Richard Rieser

    Available from World of Inclusion


    People Like Us: Anna Sullivan, a Memoir
    ISBN 971-1-78926-522-4
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  7. World of Inclusion Leaflet to Labour Party Conference

    September 28, 2018 by Richard Rieser

    Labour Party, UK Commits to Inclusive Education in National Education Service.

    Inclusion Leaflet for Labour Party Conference 2018

    The Leaflet supported the Reference back by Islington North of the SEND Section of the Policy Review Early Years, Education and Training because it did not committee the Labour Party to developing an Inclusive Education System. Moved by Richard Rieser, Islington North delegate and Director of World of Inclusion. This was unanimously carried.

    The wording in the reference back “To ensure the NES, in line with international human rights treaties, is based on the principle of inclusive education, with sufficient funding and staff training to make this a reality” was also contained in a National Education Union leaflet to the Conference.

    In moving this Richard pointed out it was Disability Labour Policy and of the Socialist Education Association and the main unions.

    In her speech to Conference on the same afternoon Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education stated:

    “Too often those who suffer from staff shortages are children with special educational needs and disabilities. So our National Education Service Charter, the result of thousands of submissions from our members and others guarantees it will be truly inclusive.

    That is why our Shadow Children’s Minister Emma Lewell-Buck will lead plans to stop those with special educational needs and disabilities from falling out of the school system. And we would back it up with a record investment in modernising school buildings to make sure they are accessible to all who could learn in them.

    Providing an excellent education to the many and not a privileged few.”

    24th September 2018.

  8. Developing Inclusive Education and Disability Equality : A World of Inclusion Broadsheet for Global Summit July 2018

    July 20, 2018 by Richard Rieser

    Developing Inclusive Education and Disability Equality for children and students with disabilities

  9. World of Inclusion Response to UK Parliament Select Committee Inquiry into SEN and Disability in England June 2018

    June 11, 2018 by Richard Rieser

    World of Inclusion submission to the UK Parliament Education Select Committee Special Needs and disability final1

    World of Inclusion submission to the UK Parliament Education Select Committee, special educational needs and disabilities inquiry.
    1. World of Inclusion Ltd ( Co. No. 07207792 www.worldofinclusion.com ) is an organisation providing consultancy, advice, training and resources on achieving disability equality and inclusive education to schools and colleges in the UK and around the world. World of Inclusion has considerable experience in identifying and combating disability discrimination, harassment and bullying and developing school and local authority policies promoting disability equality and inclusive practice. We are a DPO and operate from a social/human rights approach. Richard Rieser our CEO is a disabled teacher, writer, trainer, consultant and film maker and has played a leading role in the development of policy and practice for disabled students. He was a contributor to the 2014 SEND Code of Practice with regard to disability discrimination and was at the United Nations contributing to the development of Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and the UNCRPD Committee General Comment No 4 (2016) .
    2. Scope of our response Your Committee Chair, Robert Halfon MP, has said ‘One of the primary objectives of the Education Committee is to address social injustice in education. Understanding and addressing the challenges faced by children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is an important part of this work’. Then it is necessary for the Committee to not just examine the impact of the Children and Families Act 2014, Part 3, but also the context created by other Government Policies and the wider International Human Rights’ obligations in the education of disabled children and young people.
    3. The UNCRPD, ratified by the UK Government in July 2009, places strong obligations on the Government and devolved administrations with regard to the education of disabled children and young people. All those identified with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are also likely to ‘have a long term physical or mental impairment that has a substantial negative impact on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities’ which means they are disabled. The Government placed a reservation and interpretive declaration against Article 24 and this continues to limit the Article’s scope.
    4. UNCRPD reservations When the UK government ratified the UNCRPD in June 2009 it placed restrictions on its obligations. Two of those relate to Article 24. The first changes the UK’s definition of a ‘general education system’ to include segregated education:
    “The United Kingdom Government is committed to continuing to develop an inclusive system where parents of disabled children have increasing access to mainstream schools and staff, which have the capacity to meet the needs of disabled children. The General Education System in the United Kingdom includes mainstream, and special schools, which the UK Government understands is allowed under the Convention.” (Interpretative Declaration on Education – Convention Article 24 Clause 2 (a) and (b)).
    As someone who helped write Article 24, special schools are not part of inclusive education. The second reserves the UK’s right to send disabled children to special schools outside their local area:
    “The United Kingdom reserves the right for disabled children to be educated outside their local community where more appropriate education provision is available elsewhere. Nevertheless, parents of disabled children have the same opportunity as other parents to state a preference for the school at which they wish their child to be educated.” (Reservation: Education – Convention Article 24 Clause 2 (a) and 2 (b))
    The UK is one of only two countries in the world to place restrictions on Article 24 (the other being Mauritius). This is completely unacceptable and we are working to get these restrictions overturned.
    In September 2016, the UN Disability Committee published a General Comment on Article 24 setting out how governments can move towards greater inclusion. The UK has ignored this and remains out of step with the rest of the world.
    5. UNCRPD Criticisms of Education in England In August 2017 the UN Disability Committee scrutinised the UK government’s implementation of the UNCRPD. Their findings published in October 2017 highlight the UK’s failings across all the Convention articles, including Article 24, reproduced in Appendix 1 .
    6. World of Inclusion submitted evidence to this UNCRPD Committee Review and we concur that the conclusions are justified and seriously be considered by the Select Committee. However, even the UK Government reservation says ‘parents should have increasing access to mainstream schools and staff which have increasing capacity to meet the needs of disabled children’. This has not happened. An increasing number of mainstream schools say they ‘can’t meet need’ when local authorities seek to place disabled children at their school. The Committee should investigate the factors involved.
    7. Statistical Trends from data over the last 10 years. A drop in numbers on school support and a rise in numbers and proportion of students with higher needs in segregated special schools.
    a) From 2010 to 2017, numbers on school support have fallen in both primary and secondary schools, more so after the 2014 reforms, particularly steeply in sponsored academies. In primary 2012 24%, compared to 14% in 2017. In sponsored secondary academies and free schools the drop over the same period was 26% to 13% . Such differences are not occurring for those with EHCP/statements, which have remained constant at 2.8% .
    b) The numbers and proportion of those with EHCP/statements in mainstream have reduced radically since 2007, more so since 2014 and the numbers in special schools have increased by 20,765 or 22.37%. The increase in population has only risen by 6.23% and shows a definite rise in segregation and away from inclusion for this group of students with higher needs. The numbers with an EHCP/statement has also more than doubled . In 2018, 128,144 children and young people with an EHCP/statement were in all types of mainstream schools and 126,960 in all types of special school. If the 2,330 in alternative provision are added, this leads to 50.02% children with higher level SEN in segregated provision than mainstream schools . The presumption of mainstreaming in legislation since 1981 appears to no longer hold. The doubling of Higher Needs learners in independent special schools which are much more costly (7760 in 2007 to 14,065 in 2017) is also of concern.
    8. Mainstreaming Section 33 of the C&F Act has a presumption of mainstreaming which is clearly no longer working.“ In a case within section 39(5) or 40(2), the local authority must secure that the plan provides for the child or young person to be educated in a maintained nursery school, mainstream school or mainstream post-16 institution, unless that is incompatible with—(a)the wishes of the child’s parent or the young person, or(b)the provision of efficient education for others.” Article 33 specifies that the local authority in general (3), in particular (4) and governors, proprietors or principals of schools (5) can only rely on an exception if they can ‘show that there are no reasonable steps that they or the local authority could take to prevent the incompatibility’. The very useful statutory guidance Inclusive Schooling was no longer in force from September 2014. This explained how schools should interpret the law around Section 316 of the Education Act, as amended by 2001 Act, whether the school could meet need and what steps they should take to accommodate students. No new guidance was introduced to replace it. However, there are now many other factors making it more difficult for schools to meet need of children with SEN.

    9. The SEND reforms are not a leading part of the Government’s education changes. Its policies all militate against the inclusion of children and young people and those with special educational needs. These include:-
    a. Setting up more free schools and sponsored academies which have their own admission policies, parents have no recourse to independent appeal panels or the Ombudsman, are reducing numbers of disabled learners and with special needs faster than other schools. This is leading to a large number of new special free schools , academies and alternative provision which are increasing the pressure for segregation against Government international obligations to develop inclusion.
    b. The expansion of grammar school places are selective and drain more able learners from the surrounding schools, reducing scope for peer support and peer tutoring.
    c. The introduction of a new knowledge based, narrower curriculum with less emphasis on project work and creative arts makes it more difficult to maintain interest and differentiate. The loss of National Curriculum levels with teacher moderation which were effective at identifying progress. The abolition of the p-scales, introduced as a teacher assessment tool in the face of the inadequacies of the 1988 National Curriculum for learners, with SEN working towards level 1 of the NC. The Rochford Report which the Government proposes to replace them with, will provide no continuity or progression for those working below the National Curriculum, instead replacing this with a statutory duty to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following seven aspects of cognition and learning and report this to parents and carers: responsiveness, curiosity, discovery, anticipation, persistence, initiation, investigation.
    d. High stakes testing devalues the achievements of those who work below their expected national curriculum level. Progress 8 and Attainment 8 start at 2 NC levels above the previous curriculum level. There is insufficient recognition of alternative qualifications such as entry level, ASDAN or BTEC which evaluate students fulfilling tasks and course work. The Baccalaureate and new GCSEs reliance only on examinations have an echo of a Eugenic past, where intelligence testing condemned generations of people with learning difficulties to institutions.
    e. The narrow rigidity of the OFSTED framework does not seem to recognise good inclusive provision and does not value good below expected level progress for learners with SEN. This can lead to the dire consequences of placing a school in a category and creating a fear of admitting students with SEND.
    f. Government rigid policy on behaviour not recognising that many impairing conditions can lead to inappropriate or continuing disruptive behaviours, often at a low level, which account for the largest number of fixed term and permanent exclusions. The largest number are those with Social, Emotional and Mental Health impairments (1.84% permanent and 43.23% fixed term). There is little enforcement of the right to reasonable adjustments where impairment impacts on their behaviour, such as anger management, peer support and behaviour support to keep these students in school and allow them to thrive, as required by the Equality Act 2010. Primary pupils in mainstream with school support are 18.6 times more likely to be excluded on a fixed term than a pupil without SEN and 33x more if they have an EHCP/statement. With teenage behaviour, the level of exclusion goes up for the whole cohort, but secondary mainstream students with SEN support are 4.13x more likely to be excluded than those with no SEN and those with an EHC Plan or statement are 4.13 times as likely to be excluded fixed term in 2015/2016 in English schools. Ambitious about Autism obtained figures from Government that show a 44% rise in exclusions from 2011/12 to 2015/16 .
    g. The increasing reliance on placing

    10. Against the bias to inclusion Governments since 2010 have a misguided and unsubstantiated policy ‘against the bias to inclusive education’ . This has been highly damaging to disabled children in mainstream schools. There was never such a bias, but this policy has acted as a brake on supporting and developing inclusion in our mainstream schools. Throughout this period, at least 90% of children with identified disabilities or SEN have attended mainstream schools until last year. (DfE statistics in 2016 show the vast majority, 90.6 percent, of school pupils and students with SEN are in mainstream schools -121,525 with statements or EHC Plans and 991,980 school support In 2017, this drops to 86% 116,255 with EHC Plans or statements and 915,355 school support. ) The Children and Families Act and subsequent SEND Code of Practice mainly concentrated on the minority with a statement, converting these to Education Health and Care Plans, little addressing the needs of the majority of disabled children in mainstream schools. Section 33 & 34 ensure placement for the large majority without a plan or statement in mainstream school ‘Those concerned with making special educational provision for the child must secure that the child engages in the activities of the school together with children who do not have special educational needs’. Increasingly teachers and schools are finding the pressures from beyond the school are making this difficult. There is not sufficient wholeschool training with grants available and insufficient input on initial teacher training.
    11. An emphasis in the reforms on SEN –Assess, Plan, Do, Review hardly compensates. The SEND Code of Practice limits itself to Chapter 1 to talk about disability. But the vast majority of children with special educational needs also tick the definition of disability under the 2010 Equality Act. This definition is not a high threshold and was drawn up in this way to protect from discrimination.

    12. A major failure of the reforms was to not give sufficient weight to the Equality Act Duties schools have towards disabled learners, a lack of enforcement and scrutiny of these duties. To be recognised by the school as disabled, the child does not need a medical diagnosis. The school can be told by the parents or surmise this for themselves. Thus, if the school has placed a child/young person on SEN Support, it is very likely that the definition will apply to them. It is also likely to apply to young people with medical needs and mental health issues who are not on SEN support. As soon as the school is informed, they have a duty to make individual reasonable adjustments including providing auxiliary aids and support for those who count as disabled. The duty to make reasonable adjustments is an anticipatory duty.

    13. There is a duty on Governing bodies or proprietors of schools, before knowing about an individual, to adjust their policies, provision, criteria and practices to not put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage and take steps to meet the likely needs of disabled learners with the need to make reasonable adjustments. For example, admissions, exclusions, sports activities, school activities and trips, lunch time/after school activities and access to learning, should have been regularly reviewed and adjusted so as not to place disabled people at substantial detriment. This is not happening! The school is under a duty to not discriminate directly, indirectly or on the basis of issues arising from disability, and to eliminate bullying and harassment. Disabled children and young people experience the highest level of bullying and harassment in our schools. The Anti Bullying Alliance focuses on this. Unless school staff and students take ownership of zero bullying, not much will change. The Government does not provide clear advice, training or guidance on these duties.
    14. World of Inclusion find that schools and their leaders no longer prioritise this type of training. This compares to our previous organisation Disability Equality in Education, which between 2000 and 2008, provided highly evaluated training to 150,000 teachers and other educational professionals. Independent evaluations demonstrated that this training changed attitudes and practices. It was based on a Social model approach in line with the UNCRPD, to which the Government says it subscribes. There is little evidence of this in the Department for Education edicts, SEND Code of Practice or legislation. This training is essential for the vast majority of schools to take seriously their responsibilities on disability equality or inclusion.

    15. If there are breaches in the current Equality Act or presumption of inclusion, it is left to individual parents or the affected young person to apply to the SEN Disability Tribunal for redress. There is no statutory body that oversees schools on implementation such as school inspectors – OFSTED or the Equality and Human Rights Commission should do this.

    16. OFSTED have a responsibility for ensuring ALL schools in England have an up to date Access Plan under the Equality Act, 2010 Section, Schedule 10 covering access to the environment, learning and formats other than written English-e.g. Braille, BSL and Easy Read.

    17. There is no separate funding stream to schools from Government to implement this legislation. It is not monitored and there is no end date when all schools have to meet access standards. Only new or refurbished have to meet access standards. Lack of physical access or access to the curriculum is regularly used as an excuse to keep disabled students out of the school. This is a breach of Article 9 UNCRPD -Accessibility and the right to temporary adjustments until the necessary structural changes have been made.

    18. Funding The current ‘perfect storm’ around SEN funding has to be tackled urgently otherwise the whole structure will be put in jeopardy.
    a) Higher Needs Budgets are not keeping up with big increases in demand, partly caused by expansion to 19-25.
    b) 4,152 students with an EHC plan are not placed in school in 2017/18 compared to 776 in 2010 .
    c) The unlawful practice of off rolling is being widely practiced with upwards of 100,000 learners, mainly with SEN , not in school .
    d) The large increase in home education of SEN children has caused concerns to the School Adjudicator .
    e) There are at least 4 Judicial Reviews from parents against Local Authorities for proposed cuts in EHC Plan provision.
    f) The cuts in SEND school support are massive, with reductions in teaching assistants and specialist teachers in nearly every school to meet budget reductions.
    19. Parental Satisfaction with the Reforms.
    I n 2008 in a Warwick University survey for the Lamb Inquiry 25% of parents reported they had no confidence in the SEN system for their child. Research commissioned by DFE into parental satisfaction published in 2016 found overall satisfaction but a minority 20-25% not satisfied. A qualitative survey in 4 Local Authorities only it identifies barriers in structures, procedures, skills and resources. Another larger scale survey of parents with EHC Plans completed in 2015 found 33% of parents not satisfied overall. This should not be happening after Pathfinder surveys before the reforms and suggests a similar level of dissatisfaction as in 2008.
    20. The Select Committee should be proposing
    i) A ring fence on school notional SEN budgets so the money cannot be used for non SEN support. Schools are using their notional SEN budget to cover cuts.
    ii) Reversal of school budget cuts. Despite increases in funding this is not keeping up with extra costs or roll rises.
    iii) Increase in Higher Needs Budgets to keep up with the increasing demand for EHC Plans.
    iv) Mandatory annual training for all teachers on effectively including learners with SEND in the curriculum and school social life. Many teachers continue to say they are not equipped to cope with SEND pupils.
    v) Revision of OFSTED framework to include practice on SEN/Inclusion, Anti-Bullying, implementation of Equality Act Duties and school access plans.
    vi) Revision of assessment criteria to reward schools financially for the progress of students with SEND.
    vii) Valuing alternative continuous assessments and broadening the curriculum to restore creative subjects.
    viii) Strong Government guidance on implementing the Disability Equality duties in school, including differentiated behaviour policies linked to earmarked funding for training.
    ix) Reinstating powers to local authorities to increase mainstream resourced provision.
    x) Mandatory meeting of school staff with parents of students with SEND three times a year. This is not happening.

    Richard Rieser CEO World of Inclusion rlrieser@gmail.com 07.06.2018

    Appendix 1 UNCRPD Committee Conclusions on UK Article 24 Education October 2017

    “The Committee takes note of the information provided by the State party about its reservation to article 24 (2) (a) and (b) of the Convention in relation to new evidence or research findings.
    51. The Committee recommends that the State party withdraw its reservation to article 24 (2) (a) and (b) of the Convention without further delay. The Committee is concerned at:
    (a) The persistence of a dual education system that segregates children with disabilities in special schools, including based on parental choice;
    (b)The increasing number of children with disabilities in segregated education environments;
    (c)The fact that the education system is not equipped to respond to the requirements for high-quality inclusive education, particularly reports of school authorities refusing to enrol a student with disabilities who is deemed to be “disruptive to other classmates”;
    (d)The fact that the education and training of teachers in inclusion competences does not reflect the requirements of inclusive education.
    53. The Committee recommends that the State party, in close consultation with organizations of persons with disabilities, especially organizations representing children and young persons with disabilities, and in line with the Committee ’ s general comment No. 4 (2014) on the right to inclusive education and targets 4.5 and 4.8 of the Sustainable Development Goals:
    (a) Develop a comprehensive and coordinated legislative and policy framework for inclusive education and a timeframe to ensure that mainstream schools foster real inclusion of children with disabilities in the school environment and that teachers and all other professionals and persons in contact with children understand the concept of inclusion and are able to enhance inclusive education;
    (b) Strengthen measures to monitor school practices concerning enrolment of children with disabilities and offer appropriate remedies in cases of disability-related discrimination and/or harassment, including deciding upon schemes for compensation;
    (c) Adopt and implement a coherent and adequately financed strategy, with concrete timelines and measurable goals, on increasing and improving inclusive education. The strategy must:
    (i) Ensure the implementation of laws, decrees and regulations on improving the extent and quality of inclusive education in classrooms, support provisions and teacher training, including pedagogical capabilities, across all levels providing for high-quality inclusive environments, including within breaks between lessons and through socialization outside “ education time ” ;
    (ii) Set up awareness-raising and support initiatives about inclusive education among parents of children with disabilities.”
    Dr Alison Black Summary of recent trends research-rising special school placement, an academisation effect? In SEN Policy Research Forum May 2018
    Office of National Census 2018Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland [Online] Available from:https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/pop
    Statistical First Release https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2015-to-2016 Jul 2017
    The Carter Review whose recommendations on intioal teacher training were not made mandatory https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carter-review-of-initial-teacher-training


    https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cedar/projects/completed2010/lambinquiry/report_v4.pdf p75Full Lamb Report is relevant here as much of what recommended were ignored in the CFAct 2014 Reforms http://www.specialeducationalneeds.co.uk/uploads/1/1/4/6/11463509/full_report.pdf
    DFE 2O16 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/education-health-and-care-plans-parents-and-young-people-survey

  10. UN 70 years towards developing inclusion for disabled people

    June 8, 2018 by Richard Rieser