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30 years ago

The inclusive agenda did not come about overnight. A report from the Dundee educational priority area (EPA) project questions whether what are now called areas of social exclusion can rely on schools for improvement (TESS, July 19, 1974):

"Put crudely, the hope underlying the establishment of EPAs and other forms of educational positive discrimination is that the inequalities of Western-type industrial societies can be remedied through the schools.

"We have come to the conclusion that educational deprivation, let alone societal or economic deprivation, can be tackled only in part through the educational service. If radical change is desired, plans to bring it about must involve public policies relating not merely to education and social work but to social, and with it economic, structures.

"Education services have, however, an important complementary role to play in the development of a policy for social and economic change. Their first responsibility is to make life as enriching, stimulating and enjoyable as they can for all pupils, and this will necessarily mean a programme of extra help for those children known to be at risk.

"However, the limits which many (teachers), including the most willing and co-operative, placed on their involvement may give serious cause for considering how much change can be initiated and sustained within the school so long as the conventional concerns of teaching continue to be given primacy in the allocation of teacher time.

"Few teachers showed any awareness of the possibility of sponsoring change themselves. Many accepted that their present role was the appropriate one for education in schools such as theirs. This attitude prevailed among both promoted and unpromoted staff."

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