Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

CSIE Strategy 2016-2019

I. Vision

CSIE seeks to transform education so that everyone can feel welcome, visible and respected in their local school. (NB Throughout this Strategy Paper 'school' is taken to mean any provider of Early Years, Primary, Secondary, Further or Higher Education and ‘child’ refers to any young person up to the age of 18.) We see inclusive education as an effective way to eliminate prejudice and an important step towards an inclusive society, where minority groups are no longer marginalised or excluded. CSIE activities focus on the change that needs to take place, so that everyone's right to equality and non-discrimination can be upheld. Our work is underpinned by the following principles:

II. The current picture

Deeply-rooted prejudice is still apparent in today’s society. Hate crime is at an all-time high, according to figures released in September 2016 from the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It appears that the Brexit vote of June 2016 has led many people to believe they no longer need to conceal prejudice, aversion or hate towards others. The government’s hate crime action plan , published in July 2016, clearly states that schools have an important role to play: unless prejudice is challenged and young people are educated away from it, the action plan states, hate crime will continue.

Parents, education practitioners and other professionals often seem unaware of the assumptions they are making about others. Ofsted’s report “No place for bullying” (June 2012) confirmed that disabled and lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) pupils bear the brunt of bullying in schools, but staff often dismiss this as “banter”. Stonewall’s latest School Report (2012) found that 55% of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils have experienced homophobic bullying and that 99% are exposed to pejorative or homophobic language in school. The Teachers’ Report (2014) states that 36% of secondary school teachers and 29% of primary school teachers have heard homophobic language or negative remarks about lesbian, gay or bisexual people from other school staff.

More people – children as well as adults – do not feel welcome, visible or respected in some schools; for example, people from minority ethnic or cultural backgrounds, those who may challenge conventional ideas of gender or those who have impairments and/or learning difficulties.

There are currently 182,105 children in England who have statements of special educational needs and 74,210 children who have an education and healthcare plan (Source: Special educational needs in England: January 2016; SFR 29/2016, Published by the Department for Education in July 2016). 42.9% of these children attend maintained “special” schools, 1.6% non-maintained “special” schools and 0.6% Pupil Referral Units. This widespread segregatory practice seems to be based on historically established expectations, i.e. on a general assumption that ‘special school is where these children go to’. This is widely considered unproblematic, even though it can hinder their life chances and is at odds with society’s stated commitment to disability equality, and with national policy and legislation. In other parts of the world education has transformed and all children are educated in mainstream schools.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from harassment and discrimination, but education often lets them down. National and international legislation and guidance stipulate every child’s right to a good education without discrimination. In practice many schools, local authorities and academy chains discriminate against people from minority groups and are rarely being challenged.

III. Theory of change

CSIE’s theory of change, based on the personal & professional knowledge of staff and trustees, can be summarised as follows:

Prejudice and discrimination in education persist largely due to lack of awareness.

Routine practices and behaviour patterns which seem commonplace and unproblematic to some, act as barriers to the presence, participation or achievement of others.

This can be overcome by: a) raising “kaleidoscopic” awareness (i.e. encouraging stakeholders to look for meaning from multiple perspectives) and b) better equipping schools to promote equality and eliminate discrimination at all levels.These effects can be minimized by: a) raising “kaleidoscopic” awareness (i.e. encouraging stakeholders to look for meaning from multiple perspectives) and b) better equipping schools to promote equality and eliminate discrimination at all levels.

Awareness-raising can be achieved by sharing information and challenging assumptions at every opportunity.

Building school capacity can be achieved through training, information & resources and by encouraging strategic leadership and support for inclusive school development.

IV. Barriers to change

The main barriers standing between the current picture and our vision are:

V. The levels at which organisations can intervene

There are four levels at which intervention can be made:

VI. CSIE’s current strengths and capacity

The Centre is well-known in the education world and CSIE resources are highly regarded. Existing capacity suggests that CSIE activities should concentrate at the level of services and the level of society. This complements the work of other organisations, many of which work at the level of the individual (such as MENCAP, Scope, RNIB, RNID, NAS, DSA, SARI, EACH, Gendered Intelligence, Beat Bullying UK and others) while others focus on the family and community level (such as Barnardo’s, ACE, IPSEA, Network 81 and others). CSIE has strong links with other organisations that focus on the level of services and/or society (such as World of Inclusion, Allfie, Parents for Inclusion, Schools Out UK and LGBT History Month) with whom we plan to maintain our connections.

VII. CSIE's priorities from September 2016 until August 2019

Key priority one
(at the level of services: schools and other educational settings)

Support schools to promote equality and reduce all forms of prejudice-based bullying and discrimination.


Key priority two
(at the level of society: national policy and legislation, public awareness)

Contribute to the development and implementation of education law and policies focusing on promoting equality holistically.


Key priority three

Maintain and develop internal and external operations to help achieve CSIE’s objectives.


VIII. Implementation

Implementation of this Strategic Plan is the responsibility of the CSIE director, who submits a quarterly report to Trustees for their consideration. Progress and achievements are described in CSIE’s annual report, usually available in June each year. Trustees also undertake an annual review of the CSIE Strategy, usually in September of every year.

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Page last updated: Sunday 20 May 2018

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