50 Suggestions To Improve Education Inclusion

50 recommendations have been made to make Jersey's education system more inclusive.

The government says an independent review was commissioned as part of its commitment to putting children first.

The National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen) was tasked with reviewing how schools, settings, and support services in Jersey contribute to, or are barriers to, inclusion.

The review team says while there is some exemplary inclusive work within specific areas of the education system, it's not yet happening consistently because it's not reinforced enough.

They call for a shift in culture to meet the needs in education for all young people, being more transparent with data, and challenging the selective nature of schooling.

Other recommendations include:

  • Creating a short-term action plan to address the immediate barriers to inclusion
  • Devising a longer-term strategy for mental health and wellbeing to challenge the existing negative culture around behaviour and the treatment of those showing behavioural issues.
  • Reviewing the Education Law to make explicit reference to the commitment to inclusion
  • Establishing a Jersey Inclusion Charter
  • Creating a common structure to ensure the voices of children and young people and their parents, carers, and advocates are heard
  • Consolidate the recently-developed plans for a virtual school
  • Give headteachers more autonomy on the way their budget is spent
  • Widening educational provision to include young people up to the age of 25.

The Children and Education Minister says the government is trying to work towards making its education system among the best in the world.

Annamarie Hassall, the CEO of the National Association for Special Educational Needs, says the political will is there to make this happen.

"The uniqueness of Jersey, as I see it, the size is a positive, but there is also about the readiness for change.

There are a lot of smart people, examples of great practice, and when you unite that with the political will, I think anything is possible for Jersey.

I want to come back in five years and see that it really truly is a world leader on the stage of inclusion, and it's not just on the stage, it's that people believe it, that communities are connected.

It really is an opportune moment."

Making a ministerial-level appointment to champion inclusive education was one of the key recommendations.

Deputy Scott Wickenden says it's a really good idea.

"What the recommendation really talks about is making sure that inclusion goes across the whole island in everything that we do, rather than just do with education and children.

In that way, I think it's an eminently sensible idea to have somebody, it might not be an Inclusion Minister, it might be a Minister with the remit of inclusion within their portfolio."

He says the 'quick results' are in the six to twelve-month category, and the focus is now on working through the recommendations as quickly as possible.

A child-friendly version of the review can be read here, along with translations in Portuguese, Polish and Romanian.

"We recognise that inclusion is a journey and came to this review understanding that there was already some good practice taking place in Jersey. This report can act as a catalyst so that this work can be extended, enabling Jersey to be close to the cutting edge of international best practice.

Our report on inclusive education resulted from an inclusive approach. We benefited greatly from engagement with teachers, parents, carers and children and young people as well as many organisations and professional groups. The report and recommendations reflect a community approach moving forward." - Professor Philip Garner, Project lead for nasen.

You can read the full independent review here.

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