Inclusion at school: A right for every child
Children have differing interests, talents and skills. This is true for children with and without disabilities. An inclusive school embraces these differences and creates an environment where every child can learn at their own pace. In an inclusive school, the focus is shifted from what a child cannot do to what it can do. Inclusion is different from integration: It is not the pupils who need to adapt, but the educational system which must take into account different needs.
Parents of children with intellectual disabilities have been demanding inclusive schools for a long time, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). However, in many European countries children with intellectual disabilities still attend special schools that allow little interaction with non-disabled children and do not provide children with the same opportunities to flourish, as well as later on to get access to the open labour market.
Inclusion Europe demands that countries introduce inclusive schools everywhere and stop segregating children into special schools. For this approach to be successful, children with disabilities must be given the support they need. Teachers and educators must understand and accept that children can learn together, even if their educational goals and abilities are not the same. To bring about this change, strong leadership from school principals and school boards is necessary.
Led by our working group on Inclusive Education, Inclusion Europe promotes inclusive education among its membership and in all European countries. We organise regular study visits, round tables and conferences which are attended by many of our members. Regarding adult education, Inclusion Europe takes part in a project to promote the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities at universities.
Reports published by Inclusion Europe on the topic include:
- Inclusion of pupils with complex support needs
- Best Practices in Inclusive Education – English Version
- Best Practices in Inclusive Education – French Version
- The European Status Report on Inclusive Education
- The Global Report on Inclusive Education (Inclusion International)
- Report: Children’s Rights for all