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Towards inclusion

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has commissioned work to develop non-statutory guidelines for teachers of pupils who attain significantly below age-related expectations.

This confirms the statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils, established in the national curriculum from September, and builds on the principles of inclusion.

So, the guidelines should encourage schools to look at ways of:

* setting suitable learning challenges * responding to pupils' diverse learning needs * overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils with learning difficulties.

The guidelines will support the planning, development and implementation of the curriculum for pupils whose attainment is expected to remain within the range from below level 1 to level 2 by the end of key stage 4. They will be for use by all schools in England and will be designed to complement the programmes of study of the national curriculum.

They will include guidance on such issues as the place of therapy within the curriculum.

In developing the guidelines, detailed consideration is being given to the learning needs and curriculum requirements of pupils with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. They will build o the good practice that has developed in schools during the past decade and be the product of dialogue with teachers, voluntary groups and other organisations.

The guidelines will support schools by providing:

* guidance on development of the whole curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties * suggested practical supplementary materials for areas of the whole curriculum including PSHE and key skills * specific support for assessment of attainment * a basis for the development of schemes of work * a focus for an inter-disciplinary and inter-schools approach to the development of an inclusive curriculum framework.

A team led by Dr Christina Tilstone, University of Birmingham School of Education, is involved in developing the materials.

Draft guidelines have been sent to a large number of schools for pupils with learning difficulties for comment by the end of June 2000.

It is expected that the guidance will be available to schools in the autumn term 2000. Watch the QCA website for more information on the availability of these guidelines.

Nick Peacey is principal manager, equal opportunities and access, for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 29 Bolton Street, London W1Y 7PD.

Tel 020 7509 5555.Website: www.qca.org.uk

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