To our partners in Inclusion,
While Inclusive Education has been an area of focus since our inception over 65 years ago, in recent days, you will have seen the conversation be brought to the forefront through media stories. We wanted to take this opportunity to clarify some points that appeared in a recent piece by CBC.
The reported comment from our Executive Director, Sarah Wagner was taken out of context. Specifically, the reference to inclusion meaning “every student, all the time, without exception.”
Inclusion means everyone. That’s its very definition. In the context of this story, however, it creates a perception that Inclusion NB’s position is that there should be no flexibility as to whether children can leave the regular classroom.
This is not the case. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s inclusion policy (policy 322) clearly allows for the flexibility for students to leave their classroom learning environment, for periods of time if it is justified and is for a specific intervention they cannot receive in the common learning environment with their peers. The criteria and process for classroom variation is clear.
We do, however, continue to see inconsistencies in policy interpretation and application, with 50% of our teachers and educational assistants reporting they have not received training on Policy 322 as outlined in the Department’s Moving Forward report.
This is not an inclusion issue. It’s a resourcing one. Resources must be available to teachers, schools and classrooms and properly deployed and in a timely manner. That includes training for educators and paraprofessionals, access to specialists such as speech language pathologists, school psychologists etc., as well as smaller class sizes in the English prime system particularly, just to name a few. The team surrounding the student must be supported to work together to create a plan with an end goal to return that child to the classroom, properly supported, to learn alongside their peers. This is their right.
We continue to work collaboratively with our partners to advocate for enhanced resources and better training to improve our inclusive education system so that every child can reach their fullest potential.
For more on our advocacy position and efforts, read here bit.ly/40mSQIf.