Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

news & events

The purpose of education

26 January 2016

CSIE has responded to the Education Committee’s inquiry into the purpose and quality of education in England. The call for submissions included a link to a short video where a range of people said what they thought the purpose of education should be. Their views included: to get people a good job, or basic life skills, to help people realise their full potential, to give preparation for day-to-day life, to enable critical thinking leading to informed choices, and to enable people to get a good job and be happy. These do not appear to be conflicting views; they are all variations on the theme of creating the possibility of a better tomorrow. They are all, however, focused on what individuals get out of a good education, with no mention of the benefit to society as a whole.

In its response, CSIE suggested that the primary function of education is to enable children and young people to become responsible and informed citizens, capable of sustaining happy and fulfilling lives for themselves and for others. It added that an agreed set of core values and a culture of respect, for one another and for the environment, are essential in order to enable future generations to establish sustainable communities free from prejudice and discrimination. CSIE further argued that, at a time when information has become easily and readily available, education’s role needs to expand from a conventional learning of facts and skills organised around a range of curriculum subjects, to a more empowering set of life skills relevant as much to information processing as to interpersonal relationships and communication.

In addition, CSIE’s response highlighted concerns about the narrow focus of what the DfE calls “fundamental British values” and about the negative impact which league tables and the standards agenda can have on school admissions. CSIE recommended that the Equality Act 2010 should be reflected in any framework used to evaluate the quality of education. CSIE further recommended that pupils should learn more about equality and human rights and be supported to monitor and promote these in school. In addition, schools should take every opportunity to challenge stereotypes and educate people away from prejudice, as well as enable pupils to develop a range of interpersonal skills such as collaboration, negotiation and conflict resolution. Last but not least, CSIE recommended that schools should be encouraged and supported to educate all children from their local community, including disabled children and those categorised as having special educational needs, especially when their parents have requested this, and that schools should be specifically evaluated on their development of provision for these learners.

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Primary success

21 January 2016

CSIE’s popular disability awareness workshops, recently adapted for younger pupils, took place in Walker Road Primary School in Aberdeen on Friday 15 January. A whole-school assembly invited all children to see how disabled people do things differently and five workshops, delivered throughout the rest of the day for groups

Pupils engaged in role play and in lively conversations about how disability is understood. They also heard from numerous disabled people, through short video clips, and considered what disability is and how it arises, the difference between impairment and disability, and the relative importance of similarities and differences between people. Through various real life examples, pupils considered how disabled people do things in different ways.

At the end of each workshop pupils were invited to complete a feedback slip, to say whether they found the workshop helpful or not and why, and offering them a chance to ask a question anonymously. CSIE has collated this information and written to the school including responses to all questions pupils asked.

CSIE has developed these workshops in direct response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s recommendation that schools should do more to help pupils understand disabled people, the social model of disability and the prejudices disabled people face (“Out in the open”, EHRC, 2012).

Our disability awareness workshops have been consistently rated very highly by pupils and staff. On this occasion 101 out 103 participants said that they found the workshop helpful. One did not respond and another said that the workshop did not add to what they already knew. Some of the reasons pupils gave for finding the workshops helpful were:

“It helps people know that disabled people are equal to us.”
“It helped me understand that you shouldn’t judge people by the way they look.”
“Now I know that people can do different things in a different way.”
“It helps people understand disabled still means person and that no one is different.”
“I learnt a lot more about disability.”
“It was nice to see what people could do without feet.”
“I can see what people do the same but different.”
“I like seeing what disabled people could do with different techniques.”
“I learned what people can do.”
“It was interesting because it was fun.”
“I didn’t know that somebody with no arms can do so lots of things.”
“I learned things about disabled people that are really important.”
“I didn’t know that much about disabled people and now I have more respect for them.”
“You’ve made me realise that disabled aren’t any different and I liked watching the videos.”

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Successful workshops

18 December 2015

Another series of CSIE’s popular disability awareness workshops took place earlier this week, on Monday 14 December, for students in years 7, 8 and 9 in Whitcliffe Mount School in West Yorkshire. Five hour-long workshops were delivered, engaging groups of up to 25 students in each workshop, exploring disability from a range of perspectives.

Students engaged in lively conversations about the meaning of specific words and possible implications beyond literal definitions. They also heard from numerous disabled people, through video clips or short extracts of selected writings, and considered what disability is and how it arises, the difference between disability and impairment, and the relative importance of similarities and differences between people. Through various real life examples, students identified some common assumptions about disability and considered how disabled people do things differently. At the end of each workshop students were offered a chance to ask additional questions anonymously, to which CSIE has sent written responses

CSIE has developed these workshops in direct response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s recommendation that schools should do more to help pupils understand disabled people, the social model of disability and the prejudices disabled people face (“Out in the open”, EHRC, 2012). Our workshops have been consistently rated very highly by students and staff; feedback has once again been overwhelmingly positive. In each group up to 100% of participants (students and staff) said that they found the workshop helpful. Some did not respond and a couple who said that they found it unhelpful, said that it did not add to what they already knew. Some of the reasons students gave for finding the workshops helpful were:
“I now respect people with disabilities. I wasn’t bothered before but now I care.”
“I have learnt that even if you are disabled you can still do the same thing but in a different way.”
“I realised some disabilities don’t have an effect on a body.”
“I know things that I didn’t know about disability.”
“I am now able to see from another perspective.”
“It helped me understand more.”
“I have found out that just because you are disabled it doesn’t mean you can’t do stuff.”
“It helped me look at the concept of disability in a new way.”
“I feel like I know more about disabilities and how you shouldn’t marginalise someone because of it.”
“It made me realise that just because someone has a disability it does not mean they can’t be successful or anything and they are just like us.”

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From strength to strength

01 December 2015

CSIE has been delighted to hear that Equality: Making It Happen has been shortlisted for the European “Zero Project” award (working for a world with zero barriers) and CSIE has been invited to present the new guide at the Zero Project Conference in Vienna next year.

The Zero Project Conference will be held at the United Nations offices in Vienna in February 2016 and is expected to bring together up to 500 inspiring and engaged education stakeholders, opinion leaders and policymakers from around the world. The Zero Project promotes the rights of disabled people globally, according to the principles and Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Equality: Making It Happen goes beyond disability equality, is concerned with all equality strands and encourages schools to address equality holistically. It helps schools make sure that everyone is safe, included and learning, irrespective of ability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or belief and socioeconomic background.

“Seductively practical” materials include equality audit tools, key information, practical advice, suggested activities, examples of good practice and a CD with all materials in electronic format and additional resources. Materials can be used for teaching & learning activities, assemblies, peer mentoring, school council, staff training, equality policy reviews and whole school development. Feedback from schools that have used the pilot edition has been extremely positive, for example: “This should be part of every teacher’s toolkit” and “The guide is extremely clear and user-friendly. It will be my go-to place from now on.”

Equality: Making It Happen will be launched in February 2016 and is available to pre-order from December 2015.

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Equality: Making It Happen

23 November 2015

Following a strong and constructive partnership with Teachers’ Union NASUWT during the pilot phase of this project, we are delighted to share the news that NASUWT have decided to sponsor the forthcoming edition of Equality: Making It Happen.

Equality: Making It Happen is a user-friendly set of reference cards to help schools address equality holistically. It offers succinct practical advice and links to further resources, information and support. It has been created by CSIE in close collaboration with primary and secondary schools, in a project that was launched in March 2014. Equality: Making It Happen has received overwhelmingly positive comments from teachers and other school staff that have used the pilot materials, for example: “an absolutely amazing resource that is easy to use and extremely well designed” and “this should be part of every teacher’s toolkit”.

We are now working closely with NASUWT equality officers, making a number of final amendments to the materials, and plan to publish the new guide in January 2016.

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One of a kind

08 October 2015

Gerv Leyden

CSIE mourns the sad loss of Gerv Leyden, tireless supporter of inclusive education and CSIE Trustee since 2007.

For most of his professional career Gerv had worked as an educational psychologist with children, parents and schools in respect of the education of children with significant needs or who found themselves in vulnerable or challenging circumstances. His focus throughout had been on improving systems and arrangements to support all children more effectively in mainstream settings. In pursuit of this he was also involved in the training of teachers and EPs in order to improve their skills, and understandings, and working at the systems level with schools and local authority services, to develop their capacity to include and meet the needs of all children.

Gerv had also been a member of the National Executive Committee of the Association of Educational Psychologists, Member and subsequently Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Training Committee and a Board member of the Marsha Forest Centre, Toronto.

A ray of sunshine for many whose lives he touched, Gerv’s wit, gentleness and wisdom will live on in our memories and in our stories. Watch Gerv, addressing delegates at the Toronto Summer Institute in 2008. To echo a comment on YouTube in response to this video clip: “How cool is this guy? My inspiration, love ya Gerv xx"

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Out in the open

20 July 2015

CSIE’s successful workshops were recently delivered in schools in Kent and Sunderland. Pupils aged 13-16 took part in disability awareness workshops, engaging in conversation and exploring disability from alternative perspectives. These workshops have been developed in direct response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s recommendation that schools should do more to help pupils understand disabled people, the social model of disability and the prejudices disabled people face (“Out in the open”, EHRC, 2012).

During these workshops pupils were encouraged to explore the literal and acquired meanings of particular words, including notions of “normality” and “disability”. Participants heard from numerous disabled people, through video clips or short extracts of selected writings, and were encouraged to consider what disability is and how it arises, the difference between disability and impairment, and to reflect on what similarities and differences exist between people and what weight these are given. Through various real life examples, pupils were helped to recognize common assumptions about disability and to understand how disabled people do things differently.

These workshops have been consistently rated very highly by pupils and staff: feedback has once again been overwhelmingly positive. 88% of participants (pupils and staff) in Kent and 98% in Sunderland said that they found the workshop helpful. Some of the reasons they gave for this were:
“It made me think of disability in a different way”;
“It changes your own perspective on everyone. On humanity and equality”;
“I have learnt that even if people have differences you should not judge their ability to do things”;
“It has showed me to not take pity just because people are different”;
“I now know that not all physically disabled people are mentally affected and that some are able to learn at the rate able people are”;
“It made me think.”;
“It made me look at disabled people differently”;
“It opened my mind to different points of view”;
“I now see disability in a different light”;
“It made me think more about disabled people ”;
“It was inspiring to me and others”;
“It has made me feel that I should not judge people from their appearance”;
“It made me think differently and outside of the box”;

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We’re on a roll!

28 June 2015

CSIE turns 33 today and has many reasons to celebrate!

Founded on 28 June 1982 as the Centre for Studies on Integration in Education, CSIE took on its current name in the 1990s. The Centre has continued to evolve, has expanded its remit to cover all aspects of equality in education, and has remained at the forefront of developments in inclusive education. Some of our most recent achievements are listed below.

CSIE has worked with eight schools to produce Equality: Making It Happen, a succinct and user-friendly guide for schools to address equality holistically. The guide was recently piloted in schools across the country and attracted overwhelmingly positive feedback, for example:
“Stunning contribution”;
“Excellent document, practical and useful”;
“Very impressive”;
“An absolutely amazing resource”;
“Easy to use and extremely well designed”;
“Very thought-provoking”.

A series of Equality Workshops, linked to Equality: Making It Happen, has recently taken place and will continue to be offered in the autumn. The workshops have also attracted overwhelmingly positive feedback, with comments such as:
“Excellent; experienced delivery, v good knowledge in the field of equality”;
“Excellent speaker. Inclusive. Relevant info to use and be active. Inspiring.”;
“A lot of v practical and v useful information”;
“Eloquent & informative presentation”;
“Great”;
“Excellent content and awareness of legal framework”.

CSIE has recently developed a new strand of work, delivering disability awareness workshops for pupils in schools, in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s recommendation that schools should do more to help pupils understand disabled people, the social model of disability and the prejudice disabled people face (“Out in the open”, EHRC, 2012). These workshops have been highly valued by pupils and staff, who made comments such as:
“Eye-opening”;
“It helped me see disability from a new perspective”;
“Now I know not to judge by first appearance”;
“It encourages everyone (teachers included) to challenge their perceptions/beliefs about disability".

Alongside all these exciting achievements, recognition from others continues to grow. Recent examples include an invitation to chair a national advisory group on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which was recently set up as part of the Expert Subject Advisory Groups and an invitation to speak at two conferences in Prague, at a key juncture of the Czech Republic’s journey towards a more inclusive education system.

Happy Birthday CSIE, we all wish that you keep going from strength to strength and continue to be valued for achievements at the cutting edge of educational change!

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International recognition

11 June 2015

Prague Conferences

CSIE has been honoured to be invited to deliver keynote presentations in two conferences in Prague, one for school staff and parents, the other for senior officers. The invitation, from popular Czech NGO People in Need, came with the recognition of CSIE “as an excellent professional platform with a deep knowledge of inclusive topics”.

More than 300 people attended these two events, which took place on 9 and 10 June. CSIE director Artemi Sakellariadis was the only foreign presenter invited; she spoke of the value of inclusion and ways to strengthen inclusive school development, assisted by interpreters in Czech spoken and sign language.

The two conferences took place in connection with the end of the two-year project “System Changes for Inclusive Education in the Czech Republic”, and in response to a recent change in education law in the Czech Republic which now requires all schools to become more inclusive.

At the event for senior officers the other presenters included the Czech Republic’s Deputy Minister of Education, Chief Inspector of Schools, Vice President of the Association of Elementary School Head Teachers and representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Palackż University.

CSIE looks forward to opportunities for discussions at this level within the UK as well.

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Equality workshops

04 June 2015

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, CSIE is offering two free workshops on equality: in Bristol on 25 June and Manchester on 26 June. We remain grateful to everyone who backed our crowdfunding campaign and helped make these workshops a reality.

The workshops are for primary and secondary school teachers, inclusion managers and other senior leaders who want to build on understanding and addressing all aspects of equality in school. More than simply helping schools fulfil their legal duties or do well in an Ofsted inspection, these are practical, "hands on" workshops designed to be engaging and constructive.

Both events are free to attend but places are limited and advance booking is recommended. To book one or more places on the Bristol workshop please visit https://making-it-happen-bristol.eventbrite.co.uk and for places on the Manchester workshop please visit https://making-it-happen-manchester.eventbrite.co.uk.

The workshops are framed around CSIE’s new go-to guide "Equality: Making It Happen", a succinct and user-friendly set of reference cards to help schools address equality holistically. The guide offers simple and practical advice, as well as links to sources of further information and support. The workshops will explore how schools can best respond to their legal equality duties and ensure that all protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010 are reflected positively in the curriculum and in everyday school life.

In addition to these workshops, CSIE offers bespoke equality training for school staff and governors. To find out more or to make a booking please contact training@csie.org.uk.

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Fabulous opportunity

28 April 2015

This is a significant moment in CSIE’s life and we are calling on all our friends and allies to help us continue the good work that we have started.

The pilot edition of Equality: Making It Happen, recently published by CSIE, is a succinct and user-friendly set of reference cards. “Seductively practical”, the guide provides equality audit tools, key information, suggested activities, examples of good practice and sources of further information and support. It has been created with primary and secondary schools, in direct response to teachers’ requests for a resource to help address equality holistically. The new guide has received a very warm welcome, including fantastic feedback from NASUWT Equality Officers who described it as: “Brilliant”, “Very impressive”, “Stunning contribution”, “Excellent”, “Well laid out, easy to access” and “Very thought-provoking”.

CSIE is planning a series of free workshops to help schools better understand and address all aspects of equality. The workshops will also show how Equality: Making It Happen can enable schools to ensure everyone is safe, included and learning, ultimately benefitting those at risk of bullying or discrimination. We know of no other initiative addressing all aspects of equality in schools in such an effective and user-friendly way. It will take a long time for our new guide to make an impact on the lives of all pupils in all schools, but for those that it reaches the effect can be decisive.

The number of workshops we run will depend on funding available. We have launched a crowdfunding campaign with a view to running at least two, and as many as ten, workshops. We invite everyone interested in advancing equality in schools to give generously and help us help schools make equality real. Thank you!

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Most helpful workshops

24 March 2015

Last week CSIE delivered disability awareness workshops to pupils, with ages ranging from 11 to 16, in schools in Oxford and Glasgow. In each group 95-100% of participants (pupils and staff) said that they found the workshop helpful. A handful who said that they found it unhelpful, commented that it did not add to what they already knew. Some of the reasons pupils and staff gave for finding the workshops helpful were:

I have found this workshop helpful because…

…it’s changed my views on disabled people in society.
…it helped me to know that disabled people can do things in their own way.
…I didn’t realise how intelligent and smart disabled people could be. It is amazing.
…it encourages everyone (teachers included) to challenge their perceptions/beliefs about disability.
…I now know that no matter how your body works you are the same as everyone else.
…I now understand disability more.
…eyeopening.
…it shows a different side to disability.
…I have learnt a lot about what it is like for disabled people.
…now I know not to judge by first appearance.
…I now see disabled people differently.
…the way in which disabled people are presented is unlike other presentations; it does not present them as victims we must feel sorry for, but instead people who are very similar to us and are not that different.
…it has opened my eyes and mind a lot.
…I have understood the value of inclusive education.
…it opened up my mind to new perspectives and helped me to understand more about disability.
…now I will think more about how the disabled person feels.
…it made me think behind my thoughts on disabled people.
…it shows you not to make fun of disabled people and to try and get a different perspective to see them.
…it helped me understand disability from the point of view of disabled people.
…it breaks barriers.
…it was not used to preach or ‘re-educate’ but to reflect on perspectives.
…I was very interested to hear about the difference between disability and impairment and hear what disabled people think about changes regarding them.
…it has given me a valuable, interesting and complex perspective on disability.
…it helped me see disability from a new perspective.
…it has made me think differently about disabled people.
…I found out disabled people are not much different from us.
…as a class teacher I found the content very informative and relevant.

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Pilot materials available

06 March 2015

Making It Happen

The pilot edition of Equality: Making It Happen is now available from CSIE. The materials have been developed in close collaboration with five primary and three secondary schools, in direct response to teachers’ requests for a succinct, user-friendly resource to help challenge prejudice and advance equality in schools

The new materials were presented yesterday, Thursday 5 March, at the NASUWT Equality Officers’ Briefing in Birmingham and received a very warm welcome from those present. Comments included: “Brilliant”, “Very impressive”, “Stunning contribution”, “Excellent”, “Well laid out, easy to access”, “Very thought-provoking”.

The pilot will run until early June; schools and other interested parties can leave feedback via a simple online form available at www.csie.org.uk/feedback.

CSIE will run a series of equality workshops throughout the country, details of which will be announced after Easter. In addition, CSIE is offering bespoke equality training for school staff and governors. To find out more or to make a booking please contact admin@csie.org.uk.

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Equality: Making It Happen

26 January 2015

We are very excited as we prepare to launch the pilot edition of “Equality: Making It Happen”, a practical and accessible guide for schools to make sure everyone is safe, included and learning. This has already attracted a strong interest in the sector and we look forward to sharing the new materials more widely.

We are now looking for primary and secondary schools, clusters of schools, local authorities, academy chains and initial teacher education (ITE) institutions interested in taking part in the pilot, which is due to begin after half term.

Participation involves engaging with the new materials for up to three terms and offering feedback to CSIE via a simple online form. How to engage with the materials is entirely at the school’s discretion and can involve any of the following: inviting staff, pupils or parents to complete equality monitoring questionnaires as part of a school audit; reading through the guide and noting any opportunities for school development; or consulting the guide during staff meetings, when reviewing the school development plan or simply as the need arises.

CSIE is offering equality workshops to groups of schools piloting the materials, to support their work and to facilitate group discussion; you may want to talk to other schools near you and encourage them to take part in the pilot too. We are still exploring funding options but may have to make a small charge to help cover our costs.

Schools, local authorities and other settings contributing to the pilot phase will be named in the final resource pack and be entitled to a discount on their first order of the first edition.

Please contact the CSIE office if you have any questions or to express an interest in taking part in the pilot. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Page last updated: Tuesday 26 January 2016

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