Canadian 'total inclusion' zone

BOB Lindsay runs a one-stop shop for schools in the Okanagan Valley district in Canada, offering a network of alternative programmes for all ages from five to 18 and sometimes beyond.

His "Central school" operates on a variety of sites and the 750 pupils on its books are extremely varied, usually difficult and transient.

"Any child who is having difficulties and is not in regular school is registered with me."

He has spent 27 years as a college principal in British Columbia, been head of two elementary (primary) and six secondary schools, but said his current post was the most rewarding. Up to 400 pupils follow courses in the Central school itself. Others - such as "home schoolers" and those too ill to attend school - may study in their own kitchens.

Any school principal who is having serious difficulty with a pupil can call Mr Lindsay in and he will remove them and sort something out. "I never say no to a principal," he said.

But, when pupils are ready to return or when he suggests a transfer to another school, he adds "the principals don't say no to me".

First, he attempts to fix the root of the pupil's disaffection: an anger management course for the violent, drug or alcohol rehabilitation for the addicted. Only gradually is academic work built up again.

The result is that no pupil has been permanently excluded from school in the Okanagan Valley district for more than six years. This beautiful corner of British Columbia is a "total inclusion zone".

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you