There’s a movement, a hugely positive and strong increase in the discussion around
in #SEND and how together as architects of real change we can together propagate a move towards a positive view of our children, promoting the good practice out there, that enhances the success of a pathway en route for real inclusion.
For too long now we have been bombarded at times by the negative narrative in play. Be it the view that our children are somewhat ‘less’ from an equality perspective, or ‘incapable’ from an ability perspective, or that parents are ‘difficult’ and a part of the problem rather than the solution. The real view is that we are ALL different and our children are no different to any other being inhabiting this world. And we need to get past that difference is a negative, because it isn’t, and our children certainly don’t view it like that – that lens is skewed by those who fear difference, rather than embrace it.
If we really want to include and have an inclusive society then we have to start at the point of the narrative. Because words are powerful. Very powerful. And their meaning can be loaded and received in many ways. So when we speak about our children or their families we need to reflect on what we are saying and ensure that the narrative isn’t ‘less’ or ‘unequal’, that they and their views are respected and valued equally. A reductive view isn’t a positive; our children have a right like any child to receive an education across the breadth of life, differentiation for their needs and acceptance of who they are as people, human beings. Their lives are scrutinised all the time for being different. It needs to stop. We need to reflect on ‘why’ that is often so difficult to comprehend and accept and move towards focusing on the ‘how’ we keep developing the positive narrative and desire to work together collaboratively for success.
Wherever you are on the journey, it is important that learning promotes equality and opportunities for discussion – avoiding these discussions, on the presumption that someone else will challenge discrimination in these young people’s lives, will stop them from becoming the positive inclusive adults of tomorrow. I see this as an essential part of education in the 21st century, do you?
Gareth Morewood is a SENCO and specialist leader of education at Priestnall School. He was one of the most positive and genuine people I had the pleasure of meeting at the recent first ever National Specialist Learning Festival, #FestABLE, at the beginning of this month at National Star College. His passion for coproduction and collaboration with children and families is truly authentic and really sets the tone to #flipthenarrative. Gareth shares his work freely and widely to support our children and professionals and families together, as one rather than an addition to or an ‘other’.
As he says to become ‘the positive inclusive adults of tomorrow’, flipping the narrative is key to changing the view of our children and their families from ‘passengers only’ within the #SEND world to fully engaged and equally valued partners in the work towards achieving a really powerful and positive outcome for all in education and life. Many professionals, families and children agree, the latter being one of the most accepting groups of people I know. If we are not working together towards inclusion for all and the future of education and life being wholly inclusive, then what are we doing?
Each of the stories described….demonstrate a significant challenge or personal struggle, but so too does each reflect the power working in partnership and the potential for greatness everyone has, whatever their start in life.
Gareth Morewood writing about his #FestABLE experience http://blog.optimus-education.com/power-festable-three-stories
We need to share the good practice and the good stories more, we need to work together to #flipthenarrative and create the change. We need to create hope and hold onto it because that narrative is powerful and strong and binds us as one.