Social Policy Essay: Critical Discussion on Inclusive Education Plan
Task: It is important for community services workers to understand the purpose of social policies, why they are developed and how they are shaped by the different theoretical perspectives and values of the decision makers in government. It is often a theoretical or ideological viewpoint which informs social policy decision making rather than a genuine identified social need or evidence-based research.
For this social policy essay, you must choose a social policy from the list below and the relevant social system it applies to:
• Income support
• Welfare to Work
• National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
• Inclusive Education
In your essay, you must answer/fulfill the following:
1. Describe the history of your chosen policy.
2. Was it shaped by a genuine identified social need? Or did it come about as a result of the values of government decision makers?
3. Discuss the impact of your chosen policy on Australian society, specifically on a social system/s.
The current social policy essaysheds light on the Inclusive education represents a term being a part of the Australian educational discourse for nearly two decades. Inclusive education represents both an international policy possessing national implications and being a diverse and contested field comprising both empirical along with research on practical data. As stated byMagnússon, Göransson, &Lindqvist(2019), inclusive education consolidates a range comprising assumptions regarding the meaning as well as the purpose of the schools including diverse philosophical conceptualisations. The current assignment aims to present a comprehensive description of the Inclusive Education policy encompassing a brief history of the policy, its characteristics, and its impact on Australian society.
History of Inclusive Education
In June 1994, the representatives from the 92 governments as well as the 25 international organisations in Salamanca, Spain established the World Conference on Special Needs Education (Csie.org.uk, 2021). The dynamic statement states that the education for disabled children in Australia calls for inclusion for the established norm. Australia registered its name as an early attestor to the Salamanca Statement in 1994, and since then has embraced inclusive education as an overarching educational philosophy for all students. Changes in the Australian way of education to children with disabilities initiated in the 1970s, when a report entitled Schools in Australia, urged for appraising diversity and recommended for the notion concerning integration.As described by Sharma et al. (2018), the notion was readily accepted by the makers of educational policy, and till 1981 every Australian educational jurisdiction possessed a policy concerning students with disabilities, however, the result remained unable in reducing the educational inequalities among various groups. Although, the recommendations paved the way for inclusive education and Salamanca Statement constituted an impetus for the desired change within the educational agenda of Australia.
The Australian Federal Government assumed its project by introducing the Disability Standards for Education (2005), a documented briefing explicit detail of the requirements associated with the educational systems within the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). Irrespective of the seemingly prompt progress towards inclusive education by the development of policies, the reflection of the state of things ten years post the Salamanca Statement demonstrated that multiple educational structures, including curriculum, teacher training, pedagogy, and resourcing, were disabling, and although the efforts were extended for addressing them, it was being executed with the limited success. In 2008, the education minister of the nation has signed off a document policy setting the agenda for the Australian educational policy in the future with two goals. Firstly, it is needed to promote Australian schooling which must show equity along with excellence. Secondly, it is also needed to that young-students must become confident to show their successful learning along with creative individuals. The set goals identified all the students including students with disabilities, learning difficulties, low socio-economic backgrounds, belonging to migrant or indigenous families.
Characteristics of Inclusive Education
Inclusive education encompasses celebrating the diversities along with supporting the participation and achievement of all the pupils who encounter behaviour and the learning challenges constituting any kind, in the aspects of ethnic origin, socio-economic perspectives, linguistic and cultural heritage, religion, sexual preference, and gender.As described by Boyle & Anderson (2020), in Australia, inclusive education represents a construct stating that all the pupils must be educated together, within the premise of their local schools. Since the ratification of the Salamanca Statement, the term constituting inclusive education has encapsulated the broader term of education for all the students, which is reflected in the Education Declaration, dictating that the AustralianGovernmentmust ensure the extension of equality of the opportunities for all young Australians enabling them in reaching their potential and achieving their highest outcome in the education.
The government has established legislations relying on the development and utilisation of Individualised Education Program for pupils with a disability. As described by Slee(2018), initiatives of inclusive learning established in schools are based on organisational development and the change serves as an effective response to the problem of the distance between the education bureaucracies and teachers. The policy of inclusive education has been identified as a genuine societal need that has been conducted over the effective categorisation as well as the separation of the disabled students to mould integration practice and policy. Moreover, according to Slee (2018), the approach in which the government and the education authorities effectively manage the resources represents an imperative variable while generating the school cultures, especially in association with the patterns of the exclusion or inclusion of the students. As pointed out byMavropoulou, Mann, & Carrington (2021), education constitutes an inherently political act where the understanding of the role of politics as well as the government extend an imperative role while interrogating any educational reform, especially one as wide-reaching and ambitious as the Salamanca Statement. Therefore, it can be stated that inclusive education policy has been shaped from a genuine identified societal need in the country.
Impact of Inclusive Education Policy on Australian society
The report of OECD in 2018 has identified Australia as occupying equal fourth in the ranking of the systems of the segregated schooling and this is demonstrated in evidence suggesting one in the three students belonging from the disadvantaged backgrounds remain unable to satiate the fundamental developmental milestones within their first year for schooling in comparison to the one in the five of peers (Dovigo, 2017). This disparity subsists into the stage of early adulthood, at the age of 24, fewer than the three among the five adults belonging from the disadvantaged groups are in the full time of education, work or training, while their contemporaries from the advantaged groups have this figure as greater than four within five. As suggested by Slee (2018), students in Australia from disadvantaged backgrounds are more prone to be disorder or disability, educated in a segregated educational setting, and receiving disciplinary actions including exclusion or suspension.
Inclusive education ensures that disabled students are able to access as well as participate in formal process of education.
As observed by Boyle& Anderson(2020), students belonging from the minority or the disadvantaged groups academically gain from being present within an inclusive environment even outperforming their peers in the environments of special education. Inclusive environments within Australia fosters educational benefits prevailing across the major areas encompassing language, numeracy, and literacy, along with the broader areas comprising of development of the cognitive skill. However, the notion of inclusive education including the students from all the learning needs and backgrounds in the mainstream classes contradicts the educational environment prevailing within Australia. The diverse and rich pedagogies employed across different modalities are responsible for naturally promoting and supporting the learning need of a diverse group of students. The heterogeneity associated with the inclusive classroom academically benefits all pupils satiating the different needs and supports required by the students by accessing various parts of the academic curriculum.
As stated by Yates (2020), the Australian government has directed its efforts for inclusive education by emphasising inclusive policy and programs within the context of the national interest of Australia. The Australian Government has introduced the initiatives of inclusive education via the strategy comprising Development for All, emphasising disability inclusion. The strategy has extended priority for supporting inclusive education by encouraging its strategic implementation in the educational programs supported by the nation. According to Sharma et al. (2018), educational attainment represents one of the vital constructs leading to improved outcomes of life and represents that education serves all worth for Australia possessing a diverse student population.
Under the current obligations in Australia, teachers play a vital role in designing the curriculum for enabling disabled students to gain success in their learning. Schools are responsible for providing these students with reasonable adjustments for enabling their effective participation in the education relying on the same basis as the students without any disabilities. However, owing to the absence of adequate definitions of reasonable adjustments in The Standards, there remains a prevalence of inconsistent support provision for disabled students across Australian educational departments (Yates, 2020). In this context, for achieving consistency, the NCCD policy has been implemented across all educational sectors. Since 2018, it has been required for all the staff members of the school for providing the documented evidence concerning school and individual adjustments for pupils with disabilities.
The current assignment has presented a comprehensive and detailed description of the Inclusive Education policy present in Australian society. A brief history of the Inclusive education policy outlining its origin and implementation has been incorporated. A detailed description underpinning the characteristics of inclusive education within the nation has represented the proneness of the Australian society in becoming increasingly segregated and unequal unless some strategic changes are implemented. In this context, inclusive education can aid the nation in progressing forward in a more equitable and socially just direction. The Australian Government has established legislative initiatives in response to organisational development as well as in response to the problem concerned with the distance existing between the educational bureaucracies and teachers. Moreover, the assignment has identified inclusive education as an inherently political act underpinning the role of politics in educational reform.Concluding the assignment, it can be stated that inclusive education in Australia has fostered educational benefits present within the major areas including language, numeracy, literacy, and the development of the cognitive skill benefitting all the students of diverse educational needs.?
Boyle, C., & Anderson, J. (2020).The justification for inclusive education in Australia. Prospects, 49(3), 203-217. [https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09494-x]
Dovigo, F. (Ed.). (2017). Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practices: An International Perspective. Springer. [Retrieved from: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fGALDgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=+inclusive+education+in+Australia+book&ots=b7cm0knh6G&sig=3dOQ_8xOZyYVY4PtKV_zRvkgatA]
Magnússon, G., Göransson, K., &Lindqvist, G. (2019).Contextualizing inclusive education in educational policy: the case of Sweden. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 5(2), 67-77. [https://doi.org/10.1080/20020317.2019.1586512]
Mavropoulou, S., Mann, G., & Carrington, S. (2021). The divide between inclusive education policy and practice in Australia and the way forward. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 18(1), 44-52. [doi: 10.1111/jppi.12373]
Sharma, U., Aiello, P., Pace, E. M., Round, P., &Subban, P. (2018). In-service teachers’ attitudes, concerns, efficacy and intentions to teach in inclusive classrooms: An international comparison of Australian and Italian teachers. Social policy essay European Journal of Special Needs Education, 33(3), 437-446. [https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2017.1361139]
Slee, R. (2018). Inclusive education: from policy to school implementation. In Towards inclusive schools? (pp. 30-41). Routledge. [Retrieved from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780429469084-3/inclusive-education-policy-school-implementation-roger-slee]
The UNESCO Salamanca Statement.Csie.org.uk. (2021).Retrieved 21 September 2021, from http://www.csie.org.uk/inclusion/unesco-salamanca.shtml#:~:text=In%20June%201994%20representatives%20of,inclusion%20to%20be%20the%20norm.
Yates, R. (2020). Dependency on Australian aid and the introduction of inclusive education initiatives in Kiribati. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, 7(1), 112-123. [DOI: 10.1002/app5.296]