Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

CSIE Strategy 2020-2024

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 optimum learning environment, 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 in England and Wales is at an all-time high, according to figures released in March 2019 footnote 1 from the House of Commons Library research service. 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 2016-2020 footnote 2 , updated in October 2018, highlights the important role of education in combating hate crime and clearly states that the government's work on preventing hate crime will include supporting the education sector in educating and protecting young people from hate.

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 (2017) found that 45% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender pupils have been bullied in school and that more than four in five trans young people have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren't trans. 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. The Children's Society estimates footnote 3 that around 40,000 refugees arrive in the UK each year, almost half of whom are children.

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 physical, sensory or mental impairments and/or learning difficulties.

There are currently footnote 4 271,200 school pupils in England who have an Education, Health and Care Plan. 43.8% of these children attend maintained "special” schools, 1.3% non-maintained "special" schools and 0.8% Pupil Referral Units. Recent CSIE research footnote 5 has confirmed a national rise in special school placements and a tenfold difference in the rates of segregation into special schools of children with Education, Health and Care Plans.

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 children's 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:

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, Alliance for Inclusive Education, Parents for Inclusion, Schools Out UK and LGBT History Month) with whom we plan to maintain our connections.

VII. CSIE's priorities from September 2020 until August 2024

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 law in relation to education law policies focusing on promoting equality holistically.


Key priority three

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


VIII. Implementation

Each key objective listed above is supported by an Implementation Plan which outlines how the objective will be achieved, as well as by a series of performance indicators which help Trustees monitor progress. These are available on request from admin@csie.org.uk. This Strategy is reviewed annually in September. Implementation is the responsibility of the CSIE director, who submits a quarterly report to Trustees. Progress and achievements are described in CSIE's annual report, usually available in June each year.

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Page last updated: Wednesday 10 June 2020

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