Today, Gillian Bird, Services Director at the DSA, presented at the World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the United Nations, New York.
She spoke about education…what has been achieved here in the UK, what works and what still needs to improve…we are concerned that some learners are being left behind.
Few learners with complex needs are being included and we have seen an increase in restrictions for learners 14+ at secondary schools. We are seeing students barred from courses that lead to examinations they aren’t expected to be taking, and placed in segregated classes.
She introduced the delegates at the conference to Jake.
Jake is 15 and attends his local secondary school. He is planning for his future, thinking about what job he might do when he’s older and he is expecting to continue his inclusive education into his school’s sixth form.
This is not a given…most mainstream sixth forms currently exclude students who have intellectual disabilities; they don’t yet offer inclusion or suitable alternative accreditation.
We hope Jake will be listened to and his preferences accommodated…so he doesn’t miss out on an education with his peers…so that he doesn’t get left behind.