project will increase inclusion
between the University and Education Leeds is paving the
way for new and exciting changes in educational practice.
from the Centre for Disability Studies have been evaluating
pilot schemes in the city looking to bring children with
disabilities into mainstream schools. Two special schools,
one mainstream secondary school and two mainstream primary
schools are participating, using different models of inclusion.
In the first, children from the special schools began
to attend mainstream schools, gradually working up to
full-time attendance. In the second, children who were
at risk of needing special education were supported by
the special schools to enable them to remain in mainstream
schools. The evaluation by Dr Parvaneh Rabiee and Dr Mark
Priestley will provide a framework by which the provision
can be extended to all schools across the city.
Back to school – Dr Parvaneh Rabiee
Dr Rabiee spoke
with those involved at all levels, from parents to education
officials, in order to gain an all round perspective as
to views on inclusion. "I spent some time observing
the children in classes in both the mainstream and special
schools, and it was heartening to see how easily the children
adapted. It was clear that the primary age children –
from both kinds of schools – adapted more quickly to being
educated together," she said. "I also made a
point of getting the reactions of as many children as
possible. As central to the scheme, I felt very strongly
that their views be taken into account."
as the staff were concerned, while all were committed
to the principle of inclusion, they differed on the outcomes.
For some staff, the children from special schools should
benefit academically from the schemes; for other, mainly
mainstream staff, the social benefits for the children
were more important."