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Work underway to make education more inclusive

16 December 2022

​A project to develop a vision, charter and framework to make the Island’s education system more inclusive is underway, a year on from a key review. 

The Independent Review of Inclusive Education and Early Years was commissioned by the Government and delivered by nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs). The Review made a total of 50 recomendations to ensure every student feels valued and respected, as well as having a strong sense of belonging. 

A key recommendation from the nasen report was that the Island should develop a shared vision of what inclusive education is, and how it can be delivered. It also recommended that any work on inclusion should be co-produced with children, young people, and parents. 

The Vision will be supported by a Charter, which will set out the key principles, and which all schools and early years providers will sign up to, and a Practice Framework which will support the development of inclusive practice across the Island.

To develop the Vision, children and young people will take part in in-school workshops to explain what makes them feel included, valued, and welcomed at school. Participants will also be asked what they think their school or college could do to be more inclusive.

All workshops will use the Participation Standards, which were launched in October. Inclusive Education workshops have already been trialed with the School Council Network, which took place with primary, secondary and further education students in late November.

Parents and practitioners will also co-produce the Vision and Charter through surveys and stakeholder groups, especially aimed at gaining views from underrepresented groups.

Over the past 12 months, progress has been made against several of the recommendations made by nasen, including: 

  • The restructure of La Sente School and merger with La Passerelle to provide a holistic educational service provision for children and young people with Social, Emotional, and Mental Health needs.
  • An independent review of mental health provision in schools, which has led to an action plan being developed in partnership with schools
  • £6.1 million proposed in the Government Plan 2023 for inclusion schools, with a focus on children with special educational needs, and those with a record of need 
  • An Additional Resource Centre (ARC) for children with low cognitive ability launched in September at D’Auvergne, with another due to open at Le Rocquier School in 2023
  • Formal training for Special Educational Needs Coordinators has been delivered in collaboration with the University of Winchester

All work on these recommendations is overseen by the Inclusion Review Delivery Board, which is chaired by Kate Briden, (Director General of Justice and Home Affairs), and attended by representatives from Children Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES), Health and Community Services (HCS), Children’s Social Care, schools, third sector, and the Jersey Parent Carer Forum.

An Independent Advisor to the Board has been appointed: Margaret Mulholland is an consultant, policy specialist and regular commentator in the education press. 

Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said: “An inclusive education system is one where we support all children to reach their potential. When we do that, it improves things for each individual child. But it also make schools stronger communities, reduces instances of antisocial behaviour, and improves school life for teachers.

“I look forward to hearing from children and young people about what makes them feel welcomed and safe in schools, and hearing from parents and professionals to learn more about how we can support their children.” 

Chair of the Inclusion Review Delivery Board, Kate Briden, said: “I am honoured to be the Chair of the Board for this important and fascinating work. 

“It has been a pleasure to chair the first two meetings and get to know the Board members, who clearly all share a commitment to make significant changes to ensure Inclusion in education and early years in the Island.” 

Margaret Mulholland, Independent Advisor, said: “I am delighted this important work is underway. These changes will offer schools important support and make a significant difference to the experience of inclusion for young people and their families.”

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