2. Key factors for establishing a strong inclusive ethos

2.1. Reflecting on key factors for establishing a strong inclusive school ethos

The video in Activity 2.1 emphasises:

  • leadership from the school Principal and other members of staff such as the school-based support team co-ordinator
  • whole staff commitment
  • flexible management
  • systematic approaches to removing attitudinal, learning and physical barriers in school.

The video clip shows that children with hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and ADHD are included in the Bukhosibetfu school in South Africa. However, simply enrolling children with disabilities in mainstream school does not make the school inclusive.  Research in schools in Kenya highlights the importance of ‘adapting curricula and curricula support materials; adapted facilities and equipment; teaching learning resources and a safe and accessible environment’ (Mwarari, 2020 p7).  Mwarari (2020) goes on to argue that Head teachers’ attitudes to inclusion are the most significant predictor of effective implementation of inclusion, alongside the knowledge and attitudes of class teachers. Class teachers and other staff can work together to make the ethos and culture of a school inclusive:

  • through their willingness to make adaptations to support learners in their classrooms
  • through the way they interact with children with different needs e.g. using positive language and valuing each child’s responses
  • through advocating for inclusive practice by learning about, discussing and sharing new strategies with other members of staff

Reflection point

What opportunities are there for you to ‘advocate’ for inclusive practice in your school? What you can do in your professional role to make the culture of your school more inclusive?