“Inclusion has no limits, the limits are only in our heads!” – ETR

The Martinschule is a school in Greifswald, in Germany. In the Martinschule pupils with intellectual disabilities and pupils without disabilities learn together. Benjamin Skladny is the headmaster of the Martinschule. We asked him some questions on how children learn together at his school.

``Inclusion has no limits, the limits are only in our heads!``

Click on a word which is in blue and bold to read what it means.

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The Martinschule is a school in Greifswald. 

Greifswald is a town in Germany. 

In the Martinschule pupils with intellectual disabilities  

and pupils without disabilities learn together. 

They start learning together 

when they go to primary school. 

All students of the Martinschule graduate. 

The Martinschule is a school for everyone. 

In 2018, the school received the “German School Award”. 

This is an award given to the best school in Germany. 

The Martinschule received the award  

because everyone is included at school. 

This year Inclusion Europe talks about Education. 

We want to let people know that inclusive education  

is good for everyone. 

Benjamin Skladny is the headmaster of the Martinschule. 

We asked him some questions  

on how children learn together at his school. 

How did the Martinschule start? 

 

Germany once was divided in two parts: 

East Germany and West Germany. 

In East Germany,  

people with intellectual disabilities 

were put in institutions 

or they went to a care centre during the day. 

No child or teenager with intellectual disabilities 

could go to school. 

Greifswald was in East Germany. 

There was a care centre in Greifswald. 

When the two parts of Germany were united, 

we turned the care centre into a school  

for pupils with intellectual disabilities. 

We called it the Martinschule. 

I became the headmaster of the school 

Where did the students and teachers come from in the beginning? 

 

In the beginning there were 24 children 

at the care centre. 

They all became pupils of the Martinschule. 

Some teachers arrived at the school. 

They were trained to work with children with intellectual disabilities. 

Later, many more pupils arrived  

from around the town. 

We moved the school to a new building 

in the centre of the town. 

We wanted to be in the centre of the town because 

we wanted the students to meet other people 

and to be part of society. 

How did inclusion at thMartinschule start? 

 

always wanted to open a school  

where children with and without disabilities  

could learn together. 

But the parents of children with disabilities  

did not like my idea. 

They had had bad experiences before  

with other schools and teachers. 

For example: they were excluded from regular schools  

because their children had disabilities.  

They had been laughed at. 

They were happy that they could take their children  

to a school where there were only children with disabilities. 

So ithe beginning  

we just had pupils with intellectual disabilities. 

In 2000 we worked together with a regular school 

so that their pupils could learn with our students. 

 

Then we set up our own primary school with two classes:  

one for children with disabilities  

and one for children without disabilities. 

From 2011 all classes became inclusive. 

This means that children with intellectual disabilities 

were not in separate classes anymore. 

 

There are always 3 or 4 children  

with intellectual disabilities in every class. 

This is very important for children  

with intellectual disabilities. 

Being together helps them to be more confident. 

What is special about teaching at the Martinschule? 

 

We do a lot of projects and workshops. 

The students can study on their own 

and learn at their own pace. 

Every pupil has different goals about what to learn 

Pupils are at the school all day long.  

So they do not have homework. 

We only give grades to students  

when they are 14-15 years old. 

Our classes have special education teachers. 

Assistants and therapists help them. 

Students with intellectual disabilities get training in three places. 

– our student company “Nibbles & Co”. 

This company prepares and sells breakfast  

for our primary school students 

– aapartment where pupils with disabilities  

practice independent living  

– a centre where students with disabilities  

can do internships 

Why is your idea of inclusion at school good? 

 

Because it works! 

At our school students can learn on their own 

This igood for everyone,  

not just for the children with intellectual disabilities.  

 

Our students are very good compared to other schools. 

They like to come to school. 

The teachersparents and people who visit us 

also like our school. 

What has changed after the Martinschule received the German School Award? 

 

The award told us that we did a good job 

and that we should continue our work. 

 

Not everyone likes the way we teach. 

Many teachers left the school. 

Many parents and students are not sure  

ithey want to keep coming to our school. 

 

But we think that inclusion at our school is good 

and gets better every year. 

Inclusion has not limits, 

the limits are only in our heads! 

Join our campaign “That’s what I learned

on inclusive education!

What have you learned at school,

in your family, in life?

Let us know!

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