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COMMUNITYPSYCHUK  September 2008

COMMUNITYPSYCHUK September 2008

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Subject:

Re: do people still support or promote educational inclusion?

From:

Rachael Fox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The UK Community Psychology Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 29 Sep 2008 09:11:58 +0100

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Hi Keith,
I'm not an educational psychologist but I do alot of research on inclusion and exclusion in education.  I think there are assumptions embedded in discourses relating to inclusion that need to be questioned - so I tend to think about questioning inclusion itself rather than whether it is working or not or whether policy discourses and practices on inclusion still matter.
 
First of all I think that inclusion as a critical phenomenon and a social justice issue is something I am generally for and something I think all communities should be aiming for (ours included).  However, I don't think the policy put in place for inclusion, and definately not the practice and procedures that happen on the ground, are focused on a more critical notion of inclusion.  I think the language often sounds very good, but that in practice the positive language masks problematic issues.
 
Something I am interested in asking is what are young people included into in education?  In what way does a young person have to speak, act and even think for education to bestow 'inclusion' upon them?  For me I find that education is only inclusive towards particular young people who speak act and think in particular ways that education expects of them.  I am particularly wary of policies like the 'positive behaviour strategies' -  rewarding young people for behaviour education sees as desirable, and of course excluding those who behave undesirably.  These ways of framing inclusion are meant to sound 'positive' but are actually very controlling discourses which are very similar to the governmentality discourses described by Foucault.
 
I think the quote from HMI is also interesting - it focuses on schools in a similar blaming way, but more importantly, it assumes that if a school is meeting the government's or the Inspectorate's expectations of what inclusion should look like, that 'it is happening'.  For me what looks like inclusion often isn't, and meeting targets like not officially excluding young people, or even putting in place seemingly particpatory structures for young people like a student council (which only has tokenistic power and can be vetoed by the Head), are problematic for me from a more meaningful inclusion position.
 
This doesn't answer any of your questions I'm afraid, more of a general ramble!  I guess I would have a question back for you Keith and other Educational Psychologists - when you examine inclusion as a discourse in education, are their not things you find fundamentally problematic, which as a powerful force within education you feel compelled to actively challenge?
 
Best
Rachael

________________________________

From: The UK Community Psychology Discussion List on behalf of Venables,Keith (Children and Younger Adults)
Sent: Sun 28/09/2008 16:55
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [COMMUNITYPSYCHUK] do people still support or promote educational inclusion?



DOES INCLUSION STILL MATTER?

 

In 1997 the government issued a Green Paper which included strong support for educational inclusion. For the first half decade there were active debates about inclusion and HMI concluded (2004) that "Where schools and authorities committed themselves to inclusion, it happened. When they didn't, it didn't

 

Psychologists for Inclusion organised bi annual Seminars, rarely getting an attendance of less than 20, with one Seminar achieving 60. They were always lively and participatory (people said they were good value for money, too) and the next one is planned for Spring 09, possible at BPS London offices.

 

MY QUESTION IS are EPs still involved with promoting inclusion? Or has the Children Act (2004) swept all this away?

 

WHO IS STILL WORKING ON INCLUSION? 

 

ANYONE?

 

With school staff in the classroom? With CPD, policy development? Projects? Special Schools? 

 

It would be GREAT to hear from you. 

 

Keith Venables

Convenor, EPsforInclusion

 

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