Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

responses to consultations

November 2009

CSIE response to Ofsted consultation on its Single Equality Scheme

In common with other public bodies, Ofsted is preparing its own Single Equality Scheme and has held an initial consultation on its preparations for a draft, which will be released for further consultation in December 2009. The stated aim is “to raise standards and improve lives” by helping to provide “equal life chances and equal outcomes” and protecting people “from discriminatory behaviour.”

In its response, CSIE states its full committment to the principles of equality set out in Ofsted’s proposals. However, we point out that the proposal does not make it clear whether the scheme will be effective for all groups of children and young people. If the scheme is going to deliver “equal life chances and equal outcomes,” then for certain groups it will have to look beyond the standards agenda as the indicator of success, as there is a significant minority of children for whom the relevance of those outcomes as currently conceived is questionable: children said to have “profound and multiple learning difficulties” or “the most complex needs”, with mental health issues, and those not in education at all – either as a result of serial permanent exclusion, being in receipt of palliative care, or because they have never been in the school system in the first place. CSIE asks whether the equality criteria as set out can apply to these groups, and whether they are achievable by segregation and exclusion in childhood. We argue that failure to address these issues because they are “too difficult” risks preserving institutional discrimination. We call for alternative indicators for life chances and outcomes - based not on GCSE results but on person-centered planning criteria, which we believe would be more appropriate for the groups mentioned above.


September 2009

CSIE response to the Government Equalities Office on the Equality Bill: Policy Proposals for Specific Duties

CSIE has responded to the government consultation on the new Equality Bill and the specific duties it imposes on public bodies. We have welcomed the implicit premise that all forms of inequality and discrimination are to be treated with equivalent seriousness, and that this has the potential to benefit disabled children, for whom the law has not so far intervened as effectively as for others at risk of discrimination.

However, CSIE has expressed its regret that the provisions of the present bill weaken the degree of enforceability contained in previous legislation. The specific duties entailed upon public bodies, including schools and local authorities, now permit them to choose some equality objectives and ignore others. CSIE has argued that this will lead to a situation where those groups perceived to be most difficult to treat equally (for example, children whom the mainstream school system already tends to reject or exclude) will be ignored. In any case, the Bill does not apply to children and young people in schools and colleges, and disabled children thus will not have protection under this particular piece of legislation.

CSIE has called for the protection of under-18s from unlawful discrimination by public bodies, including schools and children’s homes; for public bodies to be required to set equality objectives for all groups; and for reinstatement of the requirement for schools to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children, and to publish disability equality schemes.


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September 2009

CSIE response to the Department of Health consultation "A better future", on a future strategy for adults with autistic spectrum conditions.

In CSIE’s consultation response to the Department of Health autism strategy, A Better Future, we have welcomed the fact that the strategy is placed in a social rather than a medical context, and that it sets out an explicit vision of equality, human rights and social inclusion. However, we have criticised the fact that it does not apply to children, whose experiences at school and college will shape their experience as adults and will determine whether or not the strategy’s aim of “social inclusion” is achieved. We have also called for the section entitled “Diagnosis” to cover childhood, when a diagnosis is usually made. We argue that diagnosis needs to be normalised and to raise aspirations toward an ordinary life in the community by having the child begin and continue their education alongside non-disabled peers in ordinary local mainstream schools. CSIE calls for the creation by every local authority of a post for the gathering, dissemination and implementation of best practice in supporting children and young people to make relationships with their peers in mainstream schools and colleges, and for a single strategy to spread this expertise across departments.


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July 2009

CSIE response to the Department of Children, Schools and Families consultation on Assessments relating to Learning Difficulties: Guidance to Local Authorities

In response to the recent DCSF consultation on assessments relating to learning difficulties in preparation for the return of further education to local authorities in April 2010, CSIE has called for the department to put the aspirations of young people at the forefront of planning for further education. The consultation document proposes an assessment-based system that will continue to routinely disqualify certain young people from following programmes of learning and mainstream courses that correspond to their aspirations and their potential. CSIE’s response calls for the new local authority based system to adopt the person-centred approaches currently enunciated in the DCSF’s other strategies and policy initiatives, such as the Transition Support Programme, as well as in those of other government departments with responsibilities for learning disability issues in adult life.


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July 2009

CSIE response to the Department for Children, Schools and Families consultation on Giving Children and Young People a Right to Appeal

CSIE has endorsed the underlying principle behind this consultation: that young people may appeal in their own right against permanent exclusion, disability discrimination or denial of admission. The Centre has, however, urged the government to go further. It has called for young people to be allowed to have an advocate or “case friend” in support; argued strongly against the right of courts or tribunals involved to exercise a “competency test”; and against the stipulation of an age limit below which the right to appeal does not apply. Finally, CSIE has argued that looked-after children should never be permanently excluded.


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July 2009

CSIE response to the Department of Children, Schools and Families consultation on Assessments relating to Learning Difficulties: Guidance to Local Authorities

In response to the recent DCSF consultation on assessments relating to learning difficulties in preparation for the return of further education to local authorities in April 2010, CSIE has called for the department to put the aspirations of young people at the forefront of planning for further education. The consultation document proposes an assessment-based system that will continue to routinely disqualify certain young people from following programmes of learning and mainstream courses that correspond to their aspirations and their potential. CSIE’s response calls for the new local authority based system to adopt the person-centred approaches currently enunciated in the DCSF’s other strategies and policy initiatives, such as the Transition Support Programme, as well as in those of other government departments with responsibilities for learning disability issues in adult life.


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March 2009

CSIE response to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) open consultation on 21st century schools

CSIE has once again urged the government to confirm its commitment to inclusive education and to clarify what support will be offered to mainstream schools to enable them to be consistent in their capacity to respond effectively to the wide diversity of learners.

CSIE argues that the tradition of judging school effectiveness by pupil attainment generates a climate of pressure which leaves little scope for school staff to support pupils' development in the round and to engage with school improvement which is underpinned by moral values. The school self evaluation and inspection frameworks should be adapted so that schools can be held accountable for their work in promoting all equality strands within the whole school community.

Above all, CSIE has demonstrated how, unless a commitment to inclusive education for all is reaffirmed, government policy for disabled children and young people will be significantly out of step from policies for disabled adults. Policy makers should pay careful attention to the long-term impact of segregated schooling on disabled children's future lives, review current practice and establish appropriate ways of supporting the learning of disabled learners in mainstream schools.

Finally, CSIE has pointed out that terminology used, however widespread at the start of the 21st century, must be carefully examined for the assumptions it conveys. The Centre has urged the government to use language consistent with the social model of disability, if it is to convey messages of value and respect towards disabled people.


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February 2009

CSIE response to call for evidence on children's rights from the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR)

CSIE wrote to the committee to express its regret that the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child published on 3 October 2008 with regard to education have not yet been followed up. Our response focused on two questions. First of all, in view of the DCSF's present position that inclusion is a matter of parental choice: What is the justification for allowing parents of disabled children to veto the inclusive education which their child has a right to? And secondly, we asked: What steps have been taken to reform mainstream provision, so that the presence of disabled children is not seen as a threat to the education of others?


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February 2009

CSIE response to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) open consultation on the roles and responsibilities of lead members and directors of children's services.

In response to the DCSF consultation on the roles and responsibilities of lead (elected) members in local authorities and their directors of children's services, CSIE has called for strategic leadership to be provided by government at a national level. We stated that a very clear path needs to be laid out for achieving the vision of equality and inclusion of Every Child Matters, so that it cannot be being safely ignored by the people charged with its implementation at local authority level. We noted that there is no mention of inclusion or inclusive education in the document offered for consultation.


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Page last updated: Monday 05 August 2013

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responses to consultations