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Inclusion and the curriculum

QCA news from Nick Peacey

QCA is committed to one of the most radical projects of the new century: the inclusion of all pupils in education. Inclusion is not just about pupils with special educational needs and disability, it is about making possible the success of all learners.

The revised curriculum spells out two main aims:

* The school curriculum should aim to provide opportunities for all pupils to learn and to achieve;

* The school curriculum should aim to promote pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

These aims are interdependent. Development in both is essential to raising standards of attainment for all pupils. There are three aspects of the revised national curriculum which reinforce the message on inclusion:

* the section on values, purposes and aims;

* the frameworks for PSHE and citizenship;

* the general inclusion statement.

The citizenship Order for key stage 3 and 4 will be statutory from September 2002. The PSHE and KS1 and 2 citizenship frameworks are non statutory but set out clearly for the first time. There are many aspects of inclusive practice within these frameworks. For example, the strand "Developing Skills of Participation and Responsible Action" within citizenship promotes the empowerent of all to create a just and democratic society. To implement this, schools will need to think hard about how their members listen to one another. Many voluntary groups put this top of their list of ways to reach inclusion. For instance, the British Stammering Association has produced an excellent video on how teachers can listen to their pupils' views on their disability and learning in the classroom.

The general inclusion statement places a new requirement on teachers to:

* set suitable learning challenges;

* respond to pupils' diverse learning needs;

* overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups.

The inclusion statement goes far beyond previous access statements - it challenges schools to plan the needs of all learners. QCA is supporting teachers in meeting that challenge and is currently developing guidance on planning work for pupils whose attainment by the age of 16 is expected to remain within the range from below (national curriculum) level 1 to level 2.

Consultation on the guidance is currently under way. Contact QCA's Equal Opportunities and Access Team, tel: 020 7509 5600.E-mail: collard@qca.org.uk.

Nick Peacey is spokesperson on special needs for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 29 Bolton Street, London W1Y 7PD. Tel: 020 7509 5555Website: www.qca.org.uk

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