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More than 1,800 people respond to Inclusive Education consultation

18 July 2023

More than 1,800 people have shared their views on how to make Jersey’s education and early years offering more inclusive. Over the last six months, children and young people, parents, carers and school and nursery staff, headteachers, third sector representatives and those that work in other agencies supporting children and young people have taken part in the consultation. 

The consultation was launched as part of a broader response to a review of inclusive education, which was commissioned by the previous government. The National Association for Special Educational Needs, NASEN, made 50 recommendations to ensure all children are supported to thrive. 

The key recommendation was that the Government should “clearly define inclusive education in a way that is accessible and understandable to all residents” and make this definition clear in a Vision and Charter for Inclusive Education and Early Years.

During the consultation, the project team spoke to children and young people in schools, held workshops with parents and carers, and offered a survey for parents and carers in English, Portuguese, Polish and Romanian

Themes identified by the participants include: 

  • Including the voices of children and young people in decisions made about them 
  • Ensuring that nurseries, schools and colleges are accessible to children and young people with physical and mental health needs 
  • Building greater community awareness around inclusion 
  • Adapting the curriculum and delivering it to suit the needs of all children and young people 
  • Working more closely with parents and carers and providing more support for practitioners 

A full report on the outcomes of the consultation will be published over the summer and the results of the consultation will be used to shape the Vision and Charter for Inclusive Education and Early Years. 

The Charter will clearly define ‘inclusive education’ and describe the kind of inclusive education to which Jersey aspires. It will also include principles which will be used to make all children and young people feel welcome, included, supported to reach their social and academic potential. The Charter will be drafted by Inclusive Education Charter Working Group, which held its first meeting last week. The working group includes parents, early years providers, representatives from schools, colleges and government, as well as third sector organisations. 

Assistant Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Louise Doublet, said: “Both myself and the Ministerial team have been delighted with the number of people who have taken part in this consultation. The views they have shared demonstrate not just the wonderful work already underway across the Island, but the many ways that we can make education and early years truly inclusive.

“I’d also like to thank the members of the Inclusive Education Charter Working Group, who will now consider all this feedback and use it to shape the vision and principles of the Charter.

“The first step to building an inclusive education and early years system is to agree what that actually means in principle. That’s why I am so pleased that this project has been shaped by children and young people, and the adults who care about them.” 

Kate Wyatt, a parent who sits on the Inclusive Education Charter Working Group and representative of the Jersey Parent Carer Forum, said: “Parents often tell me about the exhausting battle of advocating for their child to be truly accepted and included and how much they want their child to be part of an environment where they can thrive and have their difference celebrated. 

“We are excited that parents have been fully involved in helping to develop the Inclusion Charter from the start and feel optimistic that together we can bring about change in our Island, making life easier for our children to belong, both in early years and education, and as they become young adults.” 

One young person who participated in the consultation said: “I hope that the Charter will make people see kids as individuals, on a case-by-case basis according to their individual needs and not as one body adhering to what works for most students. I was born with disabilities that make me different and the Charter will help me to feel that it’s okay to expect my needs to be met by removing the barriers to being a successful learner. I hope it stops me feeling like I’m always the problem.”

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