What is community based inclusion?
A quick way to get a sense of how community-based inclusion works is to watch the animation (at the bottom of this page).
Community-based inclusion means placing the boundary of inclusion around a group of geographically and communally linked places of education including mainstream schools and their differing in-house alternative resources , PRUs, specialist, and alternative agencies and providers. Children can move around this community of educational opportunity but not be excluded from it. The community’s aspiration is to find a place for every child within that community. The ethical and functional values of community-based inclusion are unimpeachable.
The protocol for achieving the inclusion of every child within his or her education community can be summed up in twelve words:
Broaden the schools, Build the bridges, and find a place for every child.
- “Broaden the schools” means increasing diversity of opportunity within the school boundary – creative flexible resourcing of alternative learning support centres, a fully differentiating curriculum leading to a wider variety of awards and tertiary options, links with college, nurture groups, vocational and work-based learning and so on.
- “Build the bridges” means creating a process for managing the movement of children between places of education – hence the development of managed moves.
- “Find a place for every child” is an aspirational goal – if every child has a place in the education community where they feel that they belong and which meets their needs then the community will have achieved an extraordinary goal.
Much of the current debate about the value of managed moves and the prevalence of unofficial and unethical removals of children from schools stems from a misunderstanding of the challenge we face. The issue is primarily one of capacity. If you set a community the task of meeting the needs of all its children, and the community has insufficient capacity to do this, then policies and procedures will be strained to meet the target and exhaustion, cynicism and expediency will lead to children being unfairly treated. These unethical steps may be unofficial exclusions, badly carried out managed moves, undue pressure on and misleading guidance to parents, and so on. Where the community has developed capacity to meet the diverse needs of all its children these unacceptable practices will reduce.
Having capacity depends on broadening schools (so fewer need to move to more expensive off-site provision) and developing a thriving alternative sector. Inaura the inclusion charity is re-directing its resources to promoting the alternative educations sector by providing online management and governance facilities for very small schools and places of education.