Inclusive education in its broadest sense is a very high priority for the Scottish Government and for all those involved in education in Scotland. There is clear recognition of the fact that teachers need to be well prepared and appropriately supported throughout their careers if they are to succeed in developing and sustaining the desired inclusive practice which will enable them to meet the increasingly diverse needs of all children within schools in Scotland.
In 2007, the Scottish Teacher Education Committee (STEC), with the support of the Scottish Government, set up a working group on which there was representation from all of the seven universities involved in initial teacher education, to develop the National Framework for Inclusion. This revised edition of the National Framework reflects the remit and ongoing work of the STEC Inclusion Group to ensure that teacher education and career-long professional learning opportunities in Scotland reflect current theory and practice in inclusive education and align with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) Standards and the broader reforms of teacher education underway in Scotland.
The National Framework for Inclusion identifies the values and beliefs, the professional knowledge and understanding, and the professional skills and abilities, in terms of inclusive education, to be expected of student teachers and of qualified teachers at whatever stage of their career. This edition of the Framework has been updated to reflect the GTCS Standards adopted in December 2012.
The Framework is about the here and now, reflecting current concerns and developments within the profession in the wake of the Donaldson Review and within the context of the education system as a whole. But it is also forward-looking: those working within education have a key part to play in bringing about greater equality and social justice through their commitment to universal and fair educational provision and the creation of learning environments that support all children and young people. In recognition of this the Framework is also aspirational and anticipates the kind of society we want to have.
As with the edition it replaces, the revised Framework for Inclusion makes clear reference to the mandatory Standards for Registration, the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and the Sandars for Leadership amd Management. It proposes under each of the headings (Student Teachers, Teachers, Advanced Professionals) what should be regarded as minimwn expectations of teachers at each of the levels rather than a hierarchical approach to anticipated engagement by teachers.
As was the case with the flrst edition of the Framework, the Working Group made the decision to use the GTCS Standards as a context for exploring the implications for inclusion as an aspect of teacher education. The Working Group then had to decide which of the Standards were most relevant for the document. As with the original Framework, these choices were made on the basis of their relationship to inclusion and pedagogy for students, the career-long development of teachers and for the element of leadership that entails the work of all experienced teachers. The standards used were chosen through a process of consensus within the Working Group. Some were chosen for conflrmation of the expectations which the Standards place on students and teachers and others were chosen for interrogation. The Working Group then generated a series of questions intended to assist students, teachers and teacher educators to examine the implications of the Standards for the development of inclusive practice.
The spirit of the document is based on an open-ended positive view of the child's capacity to learn. The Framework document aims to be comprehensive but it is not exhaustive nor is it intended to be prescriptive. Although the questions in the Framework acknowledge the experience and positions of participants and are designed to be used progressively they may be amended or supplemented to suit particular audiences. While the Framework is built upon the Professional Standards for teachers, the principles and contexts of social justice and inclusion are relevant to everyone. The questions, or adaptations of the questions, may be useful for development activities with participants from a wide range of backgrounds, for example, social work and health professionals, parents, carers, support staff and instructors.
The Framework for Inclusion Document is accompanied by a glossary and by details of the composition of the Working Group.
This work has been made possible by a grant from the Scottish Government Learning Directorate for which we are grateful.