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Inclusion In Schools: 'Work Underway'

 Jersey's government says a project is underway to make the island's education system more inclusive.

It follows a review published a year ago this month that made 50 recommendations.

The independent National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen) was tasked with reviewing how schools, settings, and support services in Jersey contribute to, or are barriers to, inclusion.

It called for a shift in culture to meet the needs in education for all young people, being more transparent with data, and challenging the selective nature of schooling.

Other recommendations included:

  • Creating a short-term action plan to address the immediate barriers to inclusion
  • Devising a longer-term strategy for mental health and wellbeing to challenge the existing negative culture around behaviour and the treatment of those showing behavioural issues.
  • Reviewing the Education Law to make explicit reference to the commitment to inclusion
  • Establishing a Jersey Inclusion Charter
  • Creating a common structure to ensure the voices of children and young people and their parents, carers, and advocates are heard
  • Consolidate the recently-developed plans for a virtual school
  • Give headteachers more autonomy on the way their budget is spent
  • Widening educational provision to include young people up to the age of 25.

12 months on, the government says children will take part in workshops in schools to develop a 'Vision' for inclusivity.

Parents and professionals will be involved too, through surveys.

The government says progress has been made against several of nasen's recommendations, including:

• The restructure of La Sente School and merger with La Passerelle to provide a holistic educational service provision for children and young people with Social, Emotional, and Mental Health needs.

• An independent review of mental health provision in schools, which has led to an action plan being developed in partnership with schools.

• £6.1 million proposed in the Government Plan 2023 for inclusion schools, with a focus on children with special educational needs, and those with a record of need

• An Additional Resource Centre (ARC) for children with low cognitive ability launched in September at D’Auvergne, with another due to open at Le Rocquier School in 2023

• Formal training for Special Educational Needs Coordinators has been delivered in collaboration with the University of Winchester

Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said:

“I look forward to hearing from children and young people about what makes them feel welcomed and safe in schools, and hearing from parents and professionals to learn more about how we can support their children.”

Education consultant Margaret Mulholland has been appointed independent advisor to the Inclusion Review Delivery Board which is overseeing acting on the report's recommendations.

“I am delighted this important work is underway. These changes will offer schools important support and make a significant difference to the experience of inclusion for young people and their families.”

 

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