How to succeed at inclusion

How to succeed at inclusion

The first of our intermittent blogs during the #AARE2022 conference. If you want to cover a session at the conference, please email to check in. Thanks!

This blog was put together by Lara Maia-Pike, the centre coordinator in The Centre for Inclusive Education QUT and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Thom Nevill & Glenn Savage, University of Western Australia

In this session the presenters discussed their recent paper focusing on developments of inclusive education in Federal and National reform. They started by providing a historical and conceptual analysis of Inclusive Education starting, particularly during the period of 1992 to 2015.

Political rationality refers to ways of thinking about: they are concerned with ideas real of policy. The methodology used in their paper involves intervention approach to policy analysis, paying close attention to context and how meaning is constructed in policy. They identify three phases of policy development: one, standardisation, two, neo-social and three, personalisation.

Phase 1: Rationality of standardisation: 1992-2055 mode of reason, clear consistent and national guidelines (for example DDA & DSE). 

Phase 2: review on the standards impact: emphasis on economic goods, producing wider education reforms (national Disability Strategy, NDIS). Banner of “education revolution”. Role in fostering economic productivity, emphasis of  economic benefits of inclusion, broader productivity agenda.

Phase 3: the rise of personalisation, refers to how a service can be made more effective by tailoring to the needs of the students. Teachers can make education more inclusive and equitable by tailoring it to student needs. NCCD

What are the implications? There is the shift from conceptualising inclusion collectively to personalisation of inclusion AND there is a responsibilisation of teachers and mothers.

Key insights:

  1. rationalities that underpin inclusive education policies evolve and mutated over time. Economic rationalities have rearticulated the meaning and practices of inclusive education
  2. Emerging and unexplored tensions between rationalities of standardisation and rationalities of personalisation

Ilektra Spandagou, The University of Sydney

The presenter explored how early intervention is constructed within the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. The concept of early intervention is deceptively simple, often refers to early action that could prevent future complication or need. Early intervention goes beyond education, and has been critiqued because often is not distinguished from early childhood development. 

Early intervention is a recognised right for children with disability in the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) (UN, 1989) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (UN, 2006). Several CRPD articles refer to early intervention, with more prominent Article 25 on Health. Early intervention in International Conventions often sits within Health related conventions. Early intervention in the Sustainable  Development Goals is a policy narratives, a collective approach across different regions of the world. Findings include universal interventions, general targeted initiatives, targeted-mixed interventions (targeting disadvantages with interventions that reduce poverty) and disability targeted to disability. 

Universal interventions are varied, many are integrated programs that combine health, social and educational services. In some countries early interventions looks into reducing poverty. 
Early interventions matters and can change the experience of disability. It is across field which is often ignored from the field of inclusive education. While many of these initiative in early intervention necessary, the critique is that early intervention needs to be done in a way that is inclusive. 


Kate de Bruin, Monash University Why Inclusive Education Reforms Fail in Australia?

The presenter focused on the question as to why policy reforms fail. The presenter used Path dependency Theory, which is often applied in economics, and explains the resistance to change. The theory has three essential components: first refers to initials conditions; second subsequent event and finally institutions reproduced it. Institutions become self-reinforced.
The initial conditions of Victorian education focused on creating a workforce to develop and sustain the economy. This led to the early critical juncture rise of Eugenics, which was enthusiastically taken by Medical associations. Tools to screen for deviance and intelligence were developed, screening a large number of children. More and more children were identified, more and more assessor’s needed, growing exponentially, and leading to the creation of special schools. IQ tests became an intrenched mechanism leading institutions defend and reproduce segregation, through a legitimate based mechanism. The moral argument was reconstructed by the legitimacy argument. During the 1980 categorical models were developed, where children had to meet a minimum threshold and category, and IQ tests were still used to segregate people, despite the development of conventions and legislation on the rights of people with disability regarding their education. The CRPD clearly defined inclusive education under the CRPD-GC4. Many institutions still benefit, including profit making, from segregation. 


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