Le handicap à l'Éducation nationale

International perspectives on inclusive education

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On 18-19 October 2018, the French Ministry of Education organised a conference on inclusive education at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris. The two-day event was an opportunity to compare approaches taken around the world, to exchange points of view, and to inform further discussion around inclusion of pupils with disabilities.

"Together : international perspectives on inclusive education" : conference aims

Martine Caraglio, senior official for disability and inclusion, opened the conference with an outline of the topics to be covered.

"From coordination to partnerships", "from support to self-sufficiency", "from specialisation to training for all" and "from schooling to social and professional inclusion" are the key priorities, at a time when pupils with disabilities are finding enrolling in school increasingly complex because of the sheer diversity of stakeholders and institutions involved in supporting them and their families.

This complex web of stakeholders therefore needs to be simplified - hence the importance of partnership.

Martine Caraglio stressed the need to ensure that all stakeholders are properly trained, and to strengthen training for support workers to allow them to enable disabled pupils to live more independent lives.

She underscored how important it was for pupils to gain qualifications and to be included in the workforce, as they once again have to deal with a multitude of organisations when they reach young adulthood : "This is a fundamental issue, because pupils cannot be included in society unless they are included in the workforce".

She set out the aims of the conference :

  • exchanging points of view
  • comparing and contrasting approaches, so as to inform further discussion around pupils with disabilities and to lay down the conditions necessary for their success
  • laying the foundations of a global network for discussion.
 
Jean-Michel Blanquer
I would like to thank you for coming. I am delighted to see so many people here from across the globe. The problems that schools face are the same here in France as they are everywhere else in the world, no matter what language we speak. Because every school, wherever it is in the world, is in fact part of the same continent - the continent of knowledge, the continent of personal and collective progress. Every school shares the same ideals.
We have come together to talk about our practices and, together, to improve how we integrate pupils with disabilities into our schools.
This is a complex issue. There is no one-size-fits all formula. Nor can we pretend, as some would have it, that, by waving a magic wand, we can make something easy out of something difficult.
We have a duty to address the needs of our pupils, and their families, as quickly as we can. Today's conference is not about thinking as an end in itself. It is about taking action. Yet change does not happen overnight. We have plenty of questions to consider. For instance, we need to think about how we help families deal with the everyday issues they face, how we give pupils the individual support they need, how we transform the role of support workers, how we adapt school premises and educational materials, and how we coordinate the many stakeholders involved in the process. Sophie Cluzel and I have been addressing these questions, and more, during our time in government. We have already seen progress on many fronts, and further progress is set to come in this and future academic years. We are determined to work proactively in government to address the many problems we face. (...)
This issue is a matter of priority for the government. The President himself has stated that time and again, and I want to stress it again here. It is a priority for the French government because stepping up the pace of progress is absolutely imperative. (...)
If we are to create truly inclusive schools, we must radically change mindsets and reform our education system. We have a duty to address our pupils' needs, along with those of their families, as quickly as we can. We want French schools to be fully inclusive, because we believe that is the best way to raise standards. (...)
We have been working to deliver on this aim for the past year. We are investing heavily in recruiting new support workers. In 2019, we will be creating 12,400 new positions for learning disability support workers. The funding is already earmarked in the finance bill that we are bringing to parliament. And, as you know, we hired 11,000 new learning disability support workers for the current academic year.
By reducing subsidised contracts and hiring more learning disability support workers, we are delivering on our pledge to put an end to short-term contracts for staff supporting disabled pupils, and accelerate the gradual shift towards a system of more robust contracts. (...)
Teachers and support workers will receive better training. First, we will build continuing professional development programmes that encompass more stakeholders, including teaching staff, school leaders, healthcare and social work professionals, and non-profit organisations. As we know, this is a vitally important point. That is why all learning disability support workers have 60 hours of training per year built into their contracts - a move that will prove a genuine game-changer.
What we are doing in France is part of a wider, global movement - to achieve the highest levels of excellence, on this subject and on others, to progress continually, and to raise the bar in pursuit of fairness and justice, all by offering you the best models from other countries around the world. (...)
Together, we need to find ways to give all disabled pupils the best possible education.
 

From coordination to partnership between education stakeholders

By law, the public education service makes sure that all children are included in school. But it does not act alone. Who are its partners ? What healthcare and social work institutions does it work with ? How about local authorities ? And non-profit organisations ? What role does each one play ? How can partnerships be organised to respond best to the special educational needs of disabled pupils - today and tomorrow ?

Countries represented : Denmark, Canada (New Brunswick), Sweden and France

Inclusive education policies for disabled pupils in these four countries share two major themes in common.

All disabled pupils are taught in mainstream settings

Denmark began by developing a system of specialised institutions similar to what exists in France. The country came to realise that the system was causing disabled pupils to become segregated and stigmatised, and policy shifted towards including those pupils in mainstream educational settings. Since 2012, pupils being sent to specialised institutions has become the exception. Almost all pupils with a disability are now taught in mainstream settings, within special inclusion units, which are similar to the Localised Educational Inclusion Units (ULIS) found in France. Teachers have also received training on inclusion.

Sweden is unusual in that there are no statistics on educational inclusion because, for stigma reasons, there is no official terminology. Nevertheless, the Swedish representative confirmed that 99 % of the country's disabled pupils are taught in mainstream schools.

Teachers need training and support

In New Brunswick (Canada), inclusive education policy starts from the premise that no teacher can possess the full expertise required for all pupils in his or her class.

In addition to the specific skills required to work in their field, professionals acquire and develop the skills to support educational staff. Professionals in contact with children receive support and training so they can work with groups of children with similar needs - not merely on a one-to-one basis - maximising their impact.

In France, there is growing awareness of the importance of preparing teachers to work with other adults and manage their classes in such a way that disabled pupils are taught in group settings. For instance, there is a rise throughout France of joint training programs involving education, healthcare and social work professionals.

Best practices highlighted during the round-table session

In Denmark, there is a special tool to support the shift from the specialised institutions system to a system in which disabled pupils are included in mainstream school settings. Known as the "inclusion matrix", the tool is used to provide specialised teachers with support and to help coordinate activities between and across different specialists. It is based on three criteria :

  • physical inclusion of the pupil
  • social inclusion of the pupil
  • psychological inclusion of the pupil.

The matrix includes a set of criteria to measure the extent to which pupils are included, and to support dialogue between stakeholders.

In addition, because pupils are active participants in the inclusive system, they gain "inclusive skills". The initiative ensures that all pupils are recognised and able to participate actively.

In France, there is a special scheme known as the Paris Santé Réussite "Learning Difficulty Prevention" programme, whereby a local unit of expert professionals identifies pupils with learning difficulties in reading and arithmetic in grades 1 and 2 to ensure they receive targeted support. The scheme helps teachers assess pupils and work with other stakeholders to make sure disabled pupils get the attention they need. The initiative ensures that action is taken quickly, without having to wait for a disability to be identified and officially recognised.

For Sweden, two interesting initiatives were highlighted. The first was a system of continuous education in specialist centres for young offenders, where pupils school records are shared and their education is not interrupted. The second involved a new educational partnership between teachers and pupils, where both parties are regarded as learners.

From support to self-sufficiency

More than half of all disabled pupils are prescribed personal, human support. In addition to the recruitment problems this raises, does the support actually meet the pupils' needs ? Does it allow them to "develop their personality, raise their level of initial and ongoing training, integrate with social and professional life, and exercise their rights as a citizen" as required by law ? What about self-sufficiency ? In what other ways could it be encouraged - now and in the future ?

Countries represented : Scotland, Ireland, Spain and France

During the discussions on supporting disabled pupils and the various policies that aim to do so, a common theme emerged : how do we encourage pupils with disabilities to become more self-sufficient ?

Supporting pupils without making them dependent

The first observation was that all countries represented at this round-table session provide disabled pupils with support. That support is provided either by specialist teachers or healthcare professionals (Scotland and Ireland), or by dedicated staff (Ireland, France and Spain). Moreover, all of the participants stressed that successful support depended on cooperation between all stakeholders, and with all pupils.

In some cases however (Scotland and Ireland), the concept of support is viewed in a negative light, as being synonymous with dependency. Increasingly, pupils are encouraged to become self-sufficient through the provision of differentiated support.

Helping pupils become self-sufficient

For the Scottish government, for instance, the priority is to prepare pupils to live independent lives in adulthood, with digital technologies used widely so that support workers do not have to be with the pupil at all times.

Prior to 2011, Ireland's support system was problematic. Care took up the majority of support workers' time, and there were often too many of them in the classroom, which caused teachers to feel uneasy. The system was revised in 2014, when the role of support workers was better defined and expanded. Now, the role is much less about pupils developing a dependent relationship with their support workers, and much more about helping disabled children integrate with other pupils in group settings.

Support workers have a dual role : to help disabled children progress at school, and to encourage them to work with other pupils. A personal plan is drawn up for each pupil, and support workers are required to track and report on the pupil's progress towards greater self-sufficiency and independence.

Developing the all-important inclusive environment

In France, half of all disabled pupils require support in school (175,000 pupils in total). As the need for support continues to grow, questions are being raised about whether having a support worker could be preventing pupils from becoming more self-sufficient. Support workers play a vital role for pupils who need them, but their involvement should not detract from the work of other stakeholders. Support workers should interact with other professionals as part of the inclusive process. Human support needs to be provided in just the right manner, so as to help pupils become more self-sufficient, not more dependent.

The participants also stressed that pupils should only be assigned a support worker as a measure of last resort, and that disability stems from a mismatch between the environment and a pupil's personal abilities, which can be acted upon. Consequently, efforts to foster greater social inclusion for disabled pupils could focus on adapting their environment, calling on health care and social work professionals, or engaging other pupils.

Considering social skills

Lastly, all of the participating countries stressed the importance of developing disabled pupils' social skills alongside other skills.

In Ireland, these skills are even included in educational curricula.

In Scotland, the law guarantees pupils with significant special needs a minimum 18-month transition period before going to university, as part of an action plan called Smart Target. The transition period gives the pupil an opportunity to visit the universities to which he or she has applied, to obtain information, and to request that the necessary human and technological measures be put in place. The transition period is a legal requirement, and it can be enforced through the courts if refused.

In Spain, support workers' primary duty is to encourage collaboration between different stakeholders, which can potentially cause conflict. It is therefore important to clearly define the degree of collaboration, so that the support worker's role within a teaching team is correctly positioned.

In the Basque Country (Spain), there is a special scheme where pupils with learning disabilities are able to remain in school until the age of 18 or 21. These young people are taught in mainstream schools, alongside other pupils.

France is currently trialling the Local Inclusive Support Unit (PIAL) system, to ensure that support is available locally to schools and to coordinate how that support is provided.

From specialisation to training for all

Like most European countries, France has adopted the inclusive school model of schooling for pupils with a disability. With the implementation of the 2005 law the schoolroom doors have been opened wide for disabled pupils formerly attending specialised institutions or separate classes.

Access to ordinary schooling methods for the greatest number of pupils assumes that emphasis is being placed on raising awareness and providing training for all personnel involved. From this perspective, how can all teachers be trained to take into account the increased diversity among their pupils ? What role should initial teacher training play in understanding the challenges of the inclusive school ? How can teachers adapt their practices to the special circumstances and needs of disabled pupils ? What changes in training for specialised teachers can be envisaged and for what assignments ?

Countries represented : England, Italy, Canada (Quebec) and France

Setting Training curricula locally

In Quebec (Canada), the education system is decentralised. Services are organised and schooling decisions are made locally. The Ministry of Education provides guidance to schools on organising services for disabled pupils. The support that these pupils receive is based not on a diagnosis, but on a determination of their needs and abilities.

Schools draw up action plans - with input from teachers, parents and, if possible, the pupil - to make sure appropriate services are provided.

There are 72 school boards in the country, with each acting as a local authority and deciding how to organise schooling in its area. Consequently, there is significant variation in the way services are organised. In most cases, disabled pupils are taught in mainstream classes, but there are also special classes and even a handful of specialised schools.

In the United Kingdom, education is decentralised. Even though the four constituent nations share a common approach, there are significant differences between them.

In England, the 150 local authorities have primary responsibility for making decisions around the schooling of children with special needs or disabilities. The national government determines the broad legislative framework. England's education system is extremely diverse, with schools enjoying a large degree of autonomy.

In France, initial training comes under the responsibility not of the Ministry of Education, but the Ministry for Higher Education, which is in charge of universities. Teacher training colleges (ESPEs) are university faculties responsible for training teachers. Each ESPE decides independently what training it wishes to provide, but it must adhere to the regulatory and training frameworks. ESPEs are required to deliver inclusive education training, although there is no specific quota.

Developing specialisation at teacher training colleges

In Quebec, primary and secondary teachers undergo four years of teacher training. There is also an undergraduate programme specialising in educational and social adaptation, plus a postgraduate course in teaching and learning methods for people who have already completed subject-specific training.

The specialised program in educational and social adaptation prepares staff for two roles: teaching a special class, and supporting a teacher whose class includes pupils with difficulties. In addition, educational adaptation issues are included in initial teacher training for all teachers.

In France, ESPEs are required to deliver inclusive education training to all trainee teachers, although they are free to determine how many hours they devote to this subject in their teacher training programmes. Specialist education training is largely delivered through continuing professional development, for which the Ministry of Education is responsible. However, the system is currently being reformed to include a greater focus on inclusive education in teacher training programmes.

In Italy, the inclusive model dates back to 1977. Special classes were abolished, and the inclusive system revolves around co-teaching. In addition to a "curriculum" teacher, classes also have a teaching assistant responsible for supporting pupils with disabilities. The teaching assistant is a specialised, qualified member of staff. At present, professionals follow a two-and-a-half year programme to become qualified for the role, including an entire semester dedicated to a particular type of disability. In addition, all teachers receive specific training as part of their initial teacher training programme, since they are all likely to have pupils with special needs in their classes.

In England, initial teacher training programmes are designed to give trainees an understanding of the needs of all children, including those with a disability, and train them to recognise what kinds of support are needed. In 2012, a new assessment tool was introduced to guide teachers and take account of their ability to tailor their teaching to pupils with disabilities.

There is also more targeted training for teachers just beginning their careers who are looking to specialise in teaching pupils with special needs. This programme is currently under development.

Better supporting teachers and fostering closer cooperation between stakeholders

In England, there are dedicated education coordinators for pupils with special needs. Staff in this position receive additional training and play a vital role. There is also a toolkit for teachers and support workers, as well as an online portal where teachers can access documents, resources and self-guided learning modules.

In Quebec, disabled pupils are entitled to remain in school until the age of 21. More and more pupils with disabilities are being taught in mainstream classes, with the percentages varying according to the type of disability or needs.

In France, the national authorities have created modules for non-specialised teachers. The courses are based on feedback from professionals and last between 25 and 50 hours.

There is also a growing trend for more joint training between educators and healthcare and social work professionals, to ensure all stakeholders are trained in inclusive education together.

In Italy, there is an à la carte training option, with teachers allocated a training allowance so that they can study at their own pace.

In England, new systems have been put in place to support pupils' transition to adulthood, and support provision has been extended until the age of 25.

Best practices

In Italy, there are a number of free courses. The country will shortly be launching a new website and is looking to include an adapted version of France's e-learning platform in its training programme.

In Quebec, regional support and assessment services have specialist staff who can assist teachers. In addition, schools are developing self-assessment schemes and forging partnerships with universities to pool knowledge gained through research and experience.

In France, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education are working more closely with the Ministry of Health. There are no plans to abolish specialised schools, but the intention is for education, healthcare and social work professionals to collaborate more closely, especially within schools themselves. In addition to training, the support that teachers receive is being gradually improved, and the ministry is appointing more floating teachers (staff who are not assigned to a specific class, but instead move from class to class to support pupils with disabilities). The country is also developing an online platform for teachers to help them deliver successful inclusive education.

From schooling to professional inclusion

Firstly, the right to education guarantees social and professional inclusion for all. Secondly, any employer with at least 20 employees must have a salaried workforce that includes at least 6 % disabled employees. Nevertheless, 18 % of disabled people are unemployed (in 2013, for people with an officially recognised disability), compared with an unemployment rate of 10 % for all people aged 15-64. One-third of young people with a disability (aged 15-24) do not have a job. What mechanisms are there to support young disabled people as they transition from education to employment ? What stakeholders are involved and how ? What innovative actions could encourage their social and professional inclusion ?

Countries represented : Germany, Finland, Portugal and France

Developing the right skills for the job market

In Finland, teachers start providing pupils with career guidance and support at primary school. At secondary school, there are specialist career guidance staff to perform these duties. The emphasis is on giving pupils the skills they need to live an independent life after they leave school. Over the past 15 years, there has been a marked increase in the number of pupils with special needs in secondary and higher education. At present, 20 % of young working-age people with disabilities are in full-time employment, 50 % were in temporary employment or in a subsidised contract in the past two years, and 30% had a high capacity for work.

In Portugal, until this year, students who were unable to complete compulsory education up to the age of 18 were enrolled on vocational courses to prepare them to enter the job market. In 2015, various measures were taken to adapt the national qualification framework. There are now recognised courses for people with disabilities, plus an inclusion programme designed to help young people become more self-sufficient and gain the applied skills they need in the workplace. Nevertheless, a high percentage of disabled people are still unemployed in Portugal.

Widening employment support schemes for young people with disabilities

In Finland, there are a number of job market measures such as temporary subsidised contracts and grants for companies that employee disabled people. Employment agencies also offer support services to young people who need them.

In France, there is a sheltered work system to help young disabled people access employment. Businesses are actively encouraged to hire people with disabilities, and this can be for financial reasons, through incentives, or because it fits with their corporate social responsibility programmes. Some companies sign agreements to hire disabled young people.

In Germany, there is also a sheltered work system. Its main objective is to create an inclusive job market for all.

In Portugal, there is also a sheltered work system that provides placements for disabled people. However, individuals can only access time-limited placements, which means the scheme is not as effective as it could be. These protection systems can prove harmful.

Best practices raised during the round-table session

In Finland, schools are responsible for inclusion for as long as a disabled child is in their care. Once they leave school, the "Youth Guarantee" gives all young people under 25 and graduates under 30 the right to employment, or to vocational training if they are unemployed. Professional inclusion is viewed as a universal right, guaranteed by the welfare state through an inter-authority network that coordinates the various services available to people with disabilities.

International comparisons : innovative practices

Over and above their differences, in most OECD countries there is a general move away from integration and towards inclusive education - a model focused on adapting the school environment to pupils with special needs.

In every country, the inclusion of pupils with disabilities takes place on three levels :

  • Legislation
  • Policy
  • Operational principles.
Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

"States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning [...]"

 

England

New systems have been put in place to support young people's transition to adulthood, and support provision has been extended until the age of 25.

Spain

Support in school is based on collaboration between members of the teaching team, even though this type of arrangement can sometimes cause conflict. The system relies on having support arrangements for disabled pupils defined clearly and precisely in advance. In the Basque Country, there is a special scheme where pupils with learning disabilities are able to remain in school until the age of 18 or 21. These young people are taught in mainstream schools, alongside other pupils.

Denmark

There is a special tool to support the shift from the specialised institutions system to a system in which disabled pupils are included in mainstream school settings. Known as the "inclusion matrix", the tool is used to provide specialised teachers with support and to help coordinate activities between and across different specialists. It is based on three criteria :

  • physical inclusion of the pupil
  • social inclusion of the pupil
  • psychological inclusion of the pupil.

The matrix includes a set of criteria to measure the extent to which pupils are included, and to support dialogue between stakeholders. In addition, because pupils are active participants in the inclusive system, they gain "inclusive skills". The initiative ensures that all pupils are recognised and able to participate actively.

Finland

Schools are responsible for inclusion for as long as a disabled child is in their care. Once they leave school, the "Youth Guarantee" gives all young people under 25 and graduates under 30 the right to employment, or to vocational training if they are unemployed. Professional inclusion is viewed as a universal right, guaranteed by the state through an inter-authority network that coordinates the various services available to people with disabilities.

Scotland

The law guarantees pupils with significant special needs a minimum 18-month transition period before going to university, as part of an action plan called Smart Target. The transition period gives the pupil an opportunity to visit the universities to which he or she has applied, to obtain information, and to request that the necessary human and technological measures be put in place. The transition period is a legal requirement, and it can be enforced through the courts if refused. For the Scottish government, the priority is to prepare pupils to live independent lives in adulthood, with digital technologies used widely so that support workers do not have to be with the pupil at all times.

Italy

All disabled pupils are taught in mainstream classes alongside other pupils, regardless of the type and severity of their difficulties.

In addition to a "curriculum" teacher, classes also have a teaching assistant who is specially trained in different types of learning difficulty and disability and experienced in inclusive education for disabled pupils.

There is an à la carte training option, with teachers allocated a training allowance so that they can study at their own pace.

Lastly, the head teacher plays an important role, and is responsible for the inclusion of all pupils with special educational needs.

Quebec

The support that disabled pupils receive is based not on a diagnosis, but on a determination of their needs and abilities. In addition, schools are developing self-assessment schemes and forging partnerships with universities to pool knowledge gained through research and experience.

Disabled pupils are entitled to remain in school until the age of 21. More and more pupils with disabilities are being taught in mainstream classes, with the percentages varying according to the type of disability or needs.

Under a recent pioneering pilot scheme in three primary schools, special classes for pupils with severe learning difficulties were transformed into mainstream classes. The aim was to provide the pupils with speech, language, remedial education and psychological support in a mainstream setting.

Sweden

  • In Sweden, there are no special categories of disability, although some pupils are identified as having special educational needs.
     
  • There is an educational partnership between teachers and pupils, where both parties are regarded as learners.

What next ? Future prospects from the conference

Although all of the countries participating in the international conference had laws and provisions asserting the right to inclusive education, the ways in which this right is realised differs from one country to the next.

In some of the more cohesive education systems, teaching arrangements at schools have been reorganised as part of a move towards greater individualisation, under a universalist approach to educational needs.

In other systems, there is a view that training teachers in special educational needs benefits all pupils.

Generally speaking, countries can be divided into three categories :

  • Countries where almost all pupils are taught in mainstream schools and where specialised schools are the exception rather than the rule.
     
  • Countries where specialised schools and special classes are widely used, even though some are gradually shifting towards an integrated model.
     
  • Countries in the middle, which combine these two systems.

Shared challenges

Over and above these contrasting realities, inclusive education has become the international benchmark model for policies in favour of rights of children and persons with a disability.

All of the countries in attendance share similar education strategies : an "inclusive school for all" where every pupil benefits fully from teaching, acquires knowledge and skills, participates in school life and, ultimately, gains a qualification.

For this reason, contacts have been made to continue shared discussions in international working groups focusing on specific themes.

Positive outcomes

The conference was an opportunity to bring together educational staff, parents and international partners and stimulate group discussion around how best to address a key social issue that transcends national borders: enabling every person, regardless of their specific needs, to become a well-rounded citizen of the world.

Through four themes discussed at the conference - "from coordination to partnerships", "from support to self-sufficiency", "from specialisation to training for all" and "from schooling to social and professional inclusion" - the attendees identified future prospects for addressing key issues such as how to work in partnership, what self-sufficiency means and how to achieve it, how to adapt educational practices to embrace diversity, and how to exercise citizenship.

The main aim of the conference was to show that, as well as sharing common approaches and facing often similar obstacles and challenges, education systems around the world are rethinking how they provide for disabled pupils, and that France is on the right path.

Through that inclusive process, France is shifting to a more universalistic conception of disability, i.e. one that focuses less on rectification and compensation.

As in Scandinavian and English-speaking countries, the emphasis now is on transforming the education system in a way that makes it more welcoming and accessible.

Key principles and guidelines

Principle 1 : Pupil support should have only goal in mind : self-sufficiency

All the attendees agreed that a system that views its role as chiefly to compensate for disability can, to a certain extent, cause adverse effects: by assigning too many support workers whose usefulness is not always evident, by failing to plan for a reduction in the level of support provided during pupils' time at school, especially those with less severe disabilities, and by failing to sufficiently recognise that pupils are able to build social relationships when they are given greater self-sufficiency.

The participants identified a number of areas where accessibility could be improved.

Make school (primary and secondary) the epicentre of inclusive education :

  • by establishing the head teacher or school head as the leader of the inclusive process
     
  • by providing schools, institutions and inspectorates with a self-assessment tool (QUALINCLUS) to help improve the school's inclusion policy and raise standards through a process of continuous improvement ; QUALINCLUS will enable schools to draw up or review their assessment, their strategy, or any other document or policy in a participatory manner
     
  • by switching the focus from compensation to how teaching and learning are organised :

Coordinating support provision within a dedicated unit, adopting a more holistic view of human, teaching, educational and therapy support

Involving all teachers in identifying and addressing pupils' needs in the classroom and in the wider school environment (expert resource persons, special programmes, support groups, inclusion units, human environment, technical environment, etc.).

Provide varied, appropriate forms of support :

  • by clearly defining the support worker's position within the teaching team
     
  • by employing, where appropriate, a dedicated resource person (in formats that differ from one country to the next: teaching assistants assigned to classes rather than pupils in Italy, additional specialised teachers in Quebec)
     
  • by embracing less traditional forms of support, such as getting disabled pupils to work in groups with other pupils (peer-to-peer learning) - an arrangement that is extremely popular among pupils themselves
     
  • by setting specific, measurable and achievable self-sufficiency targets for support workers and measuring progress through periodic assessments
     
  • by ensuring that support workers foster self-sufficiency without causing pupils to become overly dependent on, and attached to, them.
Principle 2 : Despite its complexity, partnership lies at the heart of the inclusive process

Coordinate and set timescales for improvement :

  • by designating a coordination body
     
  • by developing partnerships (through the existing formal agreement mechanism) between schools, teacher training colleges, and healthcare and social work institutions, with a view to forming inclusive "campuses" that support pupils' progress
     
  • by, in the medium term, developing more teaching units with specialised home care and support services (SESSADs) in mainstream schools
     
  • by ensuring that school premises are properly designed to accommodate other professionals (classrooms, etc.)
     
  • by setting up more social work and healthcare resource centres
     
  • by, in the longer term, forming inter-disciplinary teams in all schools and Local State Educational Institutions (EPLEs).
Principle 3 : Teacher training is critically important

Draw on new knowledge to embed differentiation across teaching and learning practices :

Mainstream classes are becoming increasingly diverse in their make-up, and pedagogical differentiation is the key to inclusive education.

Teachers need to be taught how to differentiate at teacher training college :

  • by promoting a civic-minded approach to assessment based on the child's needs and environment, rather than a more clinical approach
     
  • by training new teachers to identify special educational needs (drawing on findings from cognitive science), and how to address them
     
  • by training new teachers to use digital technologies.
Principle 4 : Continuing professional development plays a vital role and can come in many different forms

Continuing professional development for all teachers, plus specialised training for some.

France will launch a national HEADING FOR INCLUSIVE SCHOOL platform in September 2019 - a continuing professional development platform that will provide a clearer understanding of disability by examining practices, resources and support initiatives.

Local resource centres for a more local response.

These resource centres will be developed as part of the rollout of the national training platform :

  • by offering locally developed short-course modules to help teachers identify individual pupils' needs (using the GEVA-Sco2 assessment guide, varying responses, diversifying learning activities and situations, etc.)

  • by harnessing the potential of local training programmes (regions, districts, school networks) for all professionals (Ministry of Education, Departmental Disability Centres (MDPHs), healthcare and social work institutions)

  • by appointing a dedicated resource person in each school or institution (e.g. a specialised teacher or an inclusion unit coordinator to coordinate activities and support the head teacher).
Principle 5 : Professional inclusion is the guarantee of social inclusion

Young people with disabilities rely on the teaching and qualifications they gain in school to transition successfully into the world of work. In order to forge a clear path from school to employment and prevent pupils dropping out of the system, it is important to nurture links between professionals.

Support the transition between school and work :

  • by arranging meetings between representatives of state education and sheltered work sectors (seminar with the National Union of Sheltered Employers (UNEA)), with the aim of introducing more internships and training placements and, ultimately, employing more disabled young people

  • by submitting an Erasmus+ funding application for a project focusing on professional inclusion for young people with disabilities; discussions and networking will help countries work together to identify best practice in helping young people find work after they leave school.

  • The international conference provided an opportunity to compare and contrast different inclusive policy approaches, to benchmark France's inclusive model against other countries', to identify factors that shape a successful system and, of course, to determine an ideal model.

 

En savoir plus
Reference page

For a School of Trust

The School of Trust is based on the respect of three pillars : the core values of the French Republic, the research of excellence and benevolence.

For a School of Trust

Mise à jour : mai 2019

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