Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

news from 2008

LGBT History Month 2009

18 December 2008

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBT) History Month has been taking place in February every year since 2005. With a remit of "Claiming our history, Celabrating our present, Creating our future" LGBT History Month aims to generate widespread celebration of the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. The LGBT History Month's website has launched an online forum and offers a range of information and up-to-date news, events and useful links. It also lists a number of relevant resources for schools, including the LGBT History Month in Schools Toolkit. CSIE encourages schools to consider marking LGBT History Month with relevant events and to log these with the LGBT History Month website.

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International Day of Disabled People

3 December 2008

Today (Wednesday, 3 December) is International Day of Disabled People and this year the United Nations indicated that "Dignity and Justice for All" should be the focus for the day. In its letter to newspaper editors, the United Nations Convention Campaign Coalition (a group of 31 disability organisations and their allies, of which CSIE is one) has expressed its concern at the government's intention to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with reservations and points out that there does not seem to be much dignity or justice in reserving on essential rights.

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CSIE supports ratification without reservation

11 November 2008

CSIE has written to ministers calling on them to ratify without reservation the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Read more >>

Government fails to uphold children’s right to education

6 October 2008

The UK government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. Nearly 17 years later, according to the Committee which monitors implementation of the Convention, the UK is still failing to uphold the right of all children “to a truly inclusive education which ensures the full enjoyment to children from all disadvantaged, marginalized and school-distant groups”.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the UK’s record on 23 September, and published its conclusions on 3 October. This was the third time the UK has been examined, and the Committee expressed regret that its previous recommendations with regard to education had not been followed up.

The Committee highlighted the many groups of children which face barriers to enjoying their right to education, including disabled children, children of Travellers, Roma children, asylum-seeking children and teenage mothers. Among other concerns, the Committee noted the persistently high exclusion rates and, in Northern Ireland, the problem of segregation and of academic selection at the age of 11.

The Committee noted the lack of a comprehensive national strategy for the inclusion of disabled children into society and recommended legislative and other measures to address this, including training for teachers, awareness-raising campaigns aimed at encouraging inclusion and preventing discrimination and institutionalisation, and the development of a national strategy for the inclusion of disabled children in society. The UK has also been told to take account of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and the Committee’s General Comment No. 9 on the rights of children with disabilities, and to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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CSIE vacancy

16 September 2008

A part-time Administrator is required to cover a period of maternity leave, with an anticipated start date of 17th November for up to 1 year. Applications are invited from candidates interested in working 2 or 3 full days per week in the Frenchay area of Bristol. Candidates should have strong administration skills and experience of financial management; knowledge of Sage software would be an advantage. More detailed information regarding the role can be found by accessing the job description (Word, 32Kb) and person specification (Word, 36Kb). To apply, please complete the CSIE application form (Word, 680Kb) and return it to the CSIE office.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 9am Monday 6 October. Interviews will be held on Tuesday 14 October.

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Award for CSIE Trustee

10 August 2008

Tara Flood, Director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education and a Trustee of CSIE, has recently been named as the winner of the Social Inclusion Campaign Award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, in recognition of all her work towards the Alliance's "We Know Inclusion Works" campaign. The Campaign was launched in July 2006, following months of negative media reports on the so-called 'damaging' effects of inclusive education. To help put the record straight, the Campaign invited disabled children and young people, their parents and staff in their mainstream schools to send in their positive experiences of inclusion. In October 2006 disabled young people and their allies marched to the Department for Education and Skills and personally delivered to Lord Adonis, then the Minister responsible for 'SEN and Disability', a staggering four volumes of positive personal stories of inclusion, expressed in words and/or pictures. The Campaign remains open and the Alliance continues to invite stories of positive experiences of including disabled pupils in mainstream schools (PDF). For more information on the "We Know Inclusion Works" campaign. For more information on Tara Flood please see her Guardian interview.

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Inclusion Week 2008

02 August 2008

Inspired by CSIE's Inclusion Week 2002, Rytmus, the NGO behind the Czech translation of the Index for Inclusion, and their partner organization Quip, Prague, are co-ordinating International Inclusion Week from 29 September to 5 October 2008. This initiative seeks to underline the importance of creating inclusive environments in schools, to acknowledge diversity and to look for ways to overcome barriers to learning and participation in all school communities. Pre-schools, schools, colleges and universities, non-government organisations (NGOs), arts bodies, government, commerce and other organisations in all countries are encouraged to join in Inclusion Week and put on their events as part of this international celebration. For further information please see the Inclusion Week poster (PDF Kb) or visit www.inclusion.rytmus.org and select your language from the options on the right. Do consider registering for this and putting on an event during Inclusion Week (many suggestions are listed in the website) and help make this event a truly international success. CSIE will be running a photo competition and hosting an open morning in their new office.

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Government warns of reservations to disability convention

6 May 2008

On 6 May the UK Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire, responded to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, which has demanded that the Government should immediately ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. This response indicates that several Government departments, including the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), have asked for reservations to be attached to the ratification. Where the Convention says that children with disabilities should be included within “the general education system”, the DCSF wants to make a declaration about how it interprets the word “general”. It should not be taken to mean “mainstream”, says the ministry, but simply the existing range of provision, retaining separate special schools. And where the Convention talks about inclusion in the local community, the DCSF wants to issue a reservation that will enable it to carry on providing “specialist provision, which may be some way from [the children’s] home”, i.e. residential schools.

Reactions have already emerged to the reservations expressed by the DSCF and other ministries. The Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum at the Commonwealth Foundation issued a statement saying, “We wish to express our deep concerns that any Commonwealth country should not be whole hearted in their support of human rights for disabled people.” In London, the UN Convention Campaign Coalition (UNCCC) has issued a press release headed Stop Press – Government Latest – Disabled People are not Fully Human (PDF 16.5Mb).

CSIE argues that, if the government reserves on any article of this Convention, it will effectively be upholding some rights of disabled people and not others. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been written in collaboration with disabled people and was not intended to offer a list of rights for governments to choose which ones to uphold. It is a document that spells out what the UN suggests should be in place in every country, so that disabled people can enjoy full and effective participation and inclusion in society.

A number of organisations are now expected to step up lobbying efforts for full ratification without reservation. Local MPs are being lobbied and lawyers are being consulted on the compatibility of these reservations with Article 46 of the Convention. This says that governments are not allowed to ratify the Convention and at the same time issue interpretive declarations or reservations that contradict the main principle.

Readers wishing to add their voice in support of full ratification can sign the online petition. Every voice counts!

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London school in international conference

11 April 2008

Teacher with pupil Cleves Primary School in the London Borough of Newham was presented to an international audience today (Friday, 11 April), as an example of good practice. The presentation was given by Mark Vaughan OBE, founder and co-director of CSIE until June 2007, during the Europe in Action 2008 Conference, 'Education for all!', the 6th annual conference of Inclusion Europe which took place in Vienna on 10-12 April.

Cleves Primary School has also been selected by Inclusion Europe to appear in the associated publication, 'Ways to inclusive education', due to be launched soon. For more information on Cleves Primary School please visit https://www.cleves.boleyntrust.org/. For more information on the Europe in Action Conference and on Inclusion Europe please visit https://www.inclusion-europe.eu/.

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disability convention comes into force

3 April 2008

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force on 3 April, when Ecuador became the twentieth country to ratify this Convention, and will be legally binding as of 3 May for the countries that have ratified it. Within the last few days, Jordan ratified the Convention on 31 March, Tunisia ratified the Convention and Optional Protocol on 2 April and Equador ratified the Convention and Optional Protocol on 3 April. The Convention was negotiated during eight sessions of an Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly between 2002 and 2006, making it the fastest negotiated human rights treaty and opened for signatures on 30 March 2007. Find out more about CSIE’s involvement in drafting this UN Convention and read the Inclusion UK press release (PDF, 1.67Mb).

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new look for CSIE website

01 March 2008

Screenshots of old and new websitesAfter a little hard work we are proud to launch our new website. This has been completely overhauled and restructured in line with current web accessibility best-practice. The key improvements are:

CSIE understands that some people with visual, physical or other impairments may find it difficult to access web content directly and may choose to use assistive technologies such as screen readers, Braille displays, voice recognition software, alternative keyboard/mice, etc, to view web pages. Our new website has been designed to ensure its content is accessible to these technologies by following simple principles of usable and accessible design. These principles are universal and also benefit non-disabled users. We hope you enjoy our new site.

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Inclusion Summer Institute, 4-6 June 2008

25 January 2008

Back by popular demand, this 3rd UK Inclusion Summer Institute will take place at Trent Vineyard, Nottingham, 4-6 June 2008. Unlike a conventional conference, this event is known for its 'learning marketplace' approach, in which all present can contribute to an evolving programme of events by requesting and/or offering a presentation or a workshop. If you want to explore new ways of thinking and to take ‘deep dive learning journeys’ to connect with people, contexts and ideas, then this event is for you.

For more information and to book your place please see the Summer Institute leaflet (PDF).

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