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  1. 1. 2Learning together to livetogetherAction plan 2008-2015 Generalitat de Catalunya Departament d’Educació
  2. 2. 2Contents1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 32. Inclusive education: education for everybody, school for all ........................................ 63. Principles. The general framework of the Action Plan “Learning Together to Live Together” ................................................................................................................. 94. Pupils with the greatest specific needs for support in the context of inclusive education ............................................................................................................................ 115. Conditions and criteria to progress toward education for all and to facilitate the development of inclusive schools ............................................................................. 136. Entering society and the workplace: the transition to adult life ................................. 277. The collaboration of families and professionals ............................................................ 298. Training for inclusive education ..................................................................................... 32 .9. Administration of the Plan .............................................................................................. 3610. Resources and services map ........................................................................................... 38 .11. Calendar ............................................................................................................................ 4112. Budget ................................................................................................................................ 4413. Bibliography ...................................................................................................................... 46Appendix. Resources and services map............................................................................... 50
  3. 3. 31.IntroductionTo ensure that quality education is available to all students, independently of the con-ditions in which they live and of their personal characteristics, has in recent decades become one of the chief objectives of their teachers and families, and the institutions and individuals who are concerned with education.This great aim, which in recent years has become known as education for all or schoolfor all (Booth and Ainscow, 2004; Giné, 2001; UNESCO, 1994; Stainback, 1999) these days goes beyond the desire, first expressed many years ago, of including children for-merly excluded from the education system.To advance towards inclusive education, progressing towards true schools for all, calls for the involvement of the whole of the educational community—the students, the teachers and the families, as well as the administrators concerned—in a single goal: to procure that, progressively, all children enjoy the right to go to school in their neigh-bourhood or village, without this compromising the equally important right of recei-ving an education that is suited to their particular needs.In recent history, various pronouncements of international organisations, such as UNESCO or the OCDE, point in this direction. In this respect, the Salamanca Decla- ration of 1994 (UNESCO, 1994), a document approved by acclamation by representa-tives of 92 governments and 25 international organisations, which has become an im-portant referent for educational innovation and for education policies, recommended that “those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should accommodate them within a child-centred pedagogy capable of meeting these needs”, also asserting that “regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communi- ties, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all”, and observing that such schools can “provide an effective education to the majority of children and im-prove the efficiency and ultimately the cost-effectiveness of the entire education system”.A year later, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), approved at the 54th World Health Assembly on 22 May 2001, gave an impetus to the new culture of disability with two basic propositions:1. The consideration of disability as a universal human phenomenon, and not as a diffe-rentiating trait of a minority of society for whom special policies are required.2. The understanding of diversity as the outcome of a complex interaction between a person’s state of health, personal factors and their surroundings, in which an interven-tion on any of these may modify the others, their being elements of a complex system.More recently, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the majority of UN member states on 30 March 2007, also recognizes the rights of children and young people with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of an inclusive educa- tion system, with access to compulsory education under the same conditions as other members of the community, without exclusion by reason of their disability, but with
  4. 4. 4the adjustments and support needed to bolster their academic, personal and social de-velopment to the maximum.Legislative initiatives in this and neighbouring countries have also adopted this approach and are also taken into account in this Action Plan: the National Special Education Plan (PNEE) of 1978; the Circular of 4 September 1981, which lays down criteria in the field of special education in Catalonia; Decree 117/84, of 17 April, concening the or-ganisation of special education for integration into the mainstream education system; the Organic Law for the General Organisation of the Education System (LOGSE, 1990) and the provisions that implement it; the Organic Law on Education (2006); the Master Plan for Special Education (2003); and the National Education Pact (2006).The new Catalan Education Law (LEC) stresses, in its preamble, the need to adapt edu-cational activity to meet the diverse needs of students and to achieve greater equality of opportunity. Moreover, the preliminary paragraph includes as one of the fundamental principles of the Catalan education system “social cohesion and inclusive education as the basis of school for all”. Subsequently, the clauses of the act assert that educational attention for all students is governed by the principle of inclusion, and they define cri- teria for educational organisation that must facilitate educational attention to all stu-dents, particularly those who might encounter more barriers to learning and partici-pation, deriving from their personal disabilities. It also provides that special schools may develop services and programmes to support the education of disabled students in mainstream schools.Quite apart from these important documents, it would be a mistake not to take account also of two other sources that have undoubtedly contributed to pointing the way to-wards school for all: on the one hand the educational practices that have already been developed in this direction, both in mainstream schools and in special education; and on the other, the research that has been undertaken on this issue. These two are im- portant resources when it comes to deploying this Plan and sketching out the shape of the future.In concord with everything we have just outlined, the intention is for this Action Plan“Learning Together to Live Together” to become part of the set of policies already being implemented by the Department of Education to promote quality educationfor all, placing special emphasis, at the present time, on enhancing disabled and dis-advantaged pupils’ access to inclusive education as one of the basic pillars of the quality of the Catalan education system. As Stainback (1999) stressed, “We hope that soon we will be able to speak simply of giving a quality education to all students. Yet still there are students who are excluded from normal school and community life”.Furthermore, the Action Plan will promote the development and implementation of good practice in the education system as a whole, and channel proposals towards the implementation of the legal requirements, training, organisation and use of resources and the evaluation and review of the progress made.The Action Plan “Learning Together to Live Together” is, therefore, a specific instru-ment in the hands of the whole of the educational community for the attainment of the following goals:
  5. 5. 5— Advance toward the inclusive schooling of all pupils in mainstream schools. —— Promote methodologies that favour participation by all pupils in the mainstream —school environment.— Optimise support resources for the education of disabled pupils in the mains- —tream school environment.— Enhance interdepartmental coordination in pursuit of integrated attention for dis- —abled pupils while they are at school and during their transition to adult life.— Define the map of resources and services for the education of disabled pupils in —Catalonia.
  6. 6. 62.Inclusive education: education foreverybody, school for allConsidering the different ways of defining inclusive education that currently exist, we could agree that, in general, it has been considered that inclusion, or education for all, has to do with the capacity of educational systems to provide effective, quality educa-tion for all pupils and their intention of providing it in normal, shared environments.Moreover, as several authors have observed (Ainscow, 2001 and Giné, 2008), different traditions can be identified: that which is associated with attention for students with disabilities; that which is associated with groups in danger of marginalisation; that which focuses primarily on the improvement of school for all pupils; and that which understands inclusion as a principle for the understanding of education and society.These traditions have led some countries to place the emphasis on the reform of spe- cial education, while others place it on modifications in mainstream education (Ains-cow, 2005b; Giné, 2005; Marchesi, 2001; European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007).Here in our country, changes began with reforms in special education, but evolved progressively, some time afterwards, toward an orientation in which—as Marchesi (1999) has noted—the improvement of the system as a whole has come to be consi- dered essential. Thus, the LOGSE and Catalan Government decrees 75/1992 and 299/1997 no longer speak of integration, but regard diversity as a characteristic of the system as a whole.Stainback (2001, in a succinct phrase that has been abundantly quoted, defined in-clusive education as “a process that offers all children, without disctinction of ability, race or any other difference, the opportunity to continue being a member of an ordi-nary class and to learn from his or her companions, and together with them, in the classroom”. She thus emphasises the belonging of any pupil to a community, and at the same time stresses the interactive and shared nature of all classroom learning.Similarly, the experience of schools that have implemented practices to make educa-tion for all available, as well as his own research, led Ainscow (2005) to emphasise the following points:— Inclusion is an on-going process to find better, ever more suitable, ways to res- —pond to diversity. He deals with the fact of living with difference and learning to learn from difference. From this point of view, difference becomes a positive factor and a stimulus to learning for children and adults.— Inclusion is concerned with—and pays special attention to—the identification and —elimination of barriers to learning and participation that pupils may encounter. It is a question of using the information acquired from observing educational policies and practices to stimulate creativity and the resolution of difficulties.— Inclusion seeks the presence, participation and success of all pupils. The idea —of presence includes the place where the pupil learns, preferably in settings that are as
  7. 7. 7normal as possible; participation refers to the quality of the experience of the pupils in the school, and hence includes both their collaborative experience and the opinion of the class; while success refers to the result obtained by pupils in learning activities as a whole and not just in tests and examinations.— Inclusion also particularly focuses on those groups of pupils who are at risk —of greater marginalisation, of exclusion, or of not reaching appropriate levels ofachievement. This implies special responsibility for administrators for such groups of pupils, as well as their need to specifically monitor the presence, participation and success just referred to.In this Action Plan “Learning Together to Live Together”, when inclusion is referred to, it is not in the sense of returning (reintegrating) anyone, but of avoiding ever leaving them out of mainstream school life. It is not a question of bringing in those who are excluded, but of building a system able to meet the needs of everyone.Similarly, it is understood that working from the point of view of school for all also means moving from the idea of assisting only pupils with disabilities to the idea of providing the necessary support for any pupil, according to their needs, with the aim of facilitating the participation of all in the class’s group activities.An inclusive school, as proposed by Porter (2001), is one in which pupils with special educational needs or with disabilities go to the same class as their companions of the same age, the same class they would go to if they had no disability.Thus, inclusive education is a process that begins with the recognition of the diffe- rences there are between the pupils, with respect, and the building of teaching and learning processes on the basis of these differences, reducing barriers to learning and to participation by all pupils, not just those with disabilities or special educational needs (Booth, T. and Ainscow, M., 2004).In an inclusive school, as Pujolàs (2005) has stressed, there are no ordinary pupils or special pupils, but just pupils, with no adjective, each with their own characteristics and needs; diversity is understood as the natural state of affairs, and hence all these difference are taken into account so that all pupils, who are diverse, learn to the best of their possibilities. In this context, pupils with disabilities participate as much as they can in general activities and in the life of the school, as well as in teaching and lear- ning activities in the ordinary classroom.From this perspective, this Action Plan assumes the point of view adopted by Indexfor Inclusion (Booth, T. and Ainscow, M., 2004) when it pauses to consider three inter-connected dimensions in the improvement of school education: creating inclusive cul-tures, generating inclusive policies and developing inclusive practices.For any improvement in schools to be consolidated on the road toward effective and inclusive education for all pupils, all three dimensions must be developed.Furthermore, as the same text underlines, it must be borne in mind that “school cul-tures” are key for the implementation of improvements and to the stimulation of, or hindrance to, teaching and learning.
  8. 8. 8School culture is made up of the basic beliefs and convictions of the teaching staff and of the educational community in relation to the teaching and learning of the pupils and to the functioning of the school. Beyond a school’s teaching and learning sys- tems, school culture also includes aspects such as the rules that affect the educatio-nal community, information and communication systems, the relations between the teaching staff and the pupils or between the teaching staff and the families, or other values shared by the members of the community (Huguet, 2006; Marchesi and Mar- tin, 2000).In this regard we once again coincide with Index for Inclusion when it is asserted that it is through progress in inclusive school cultures that the teachers and new pupils can develop and maintain changes in policies and practices.
  9. 9. 93.Principles. The general frameworkof the Action Plan “Learning Togetherto Live Together”On the road towards the school for all, the aims and the measures it is proposed to implement in the Action Plan “Learning Together to Live Together” are based on the following principles which define the general approach that underlies the Plan:— Inclusion. The principle of inclusion affirms that schools must be open to all pu- —pils without discrimination nor exclusion, considering all pupils to be members of the community by right.From this principle there follows the will to advance, progressively and insofar as possi-ble, towards the education of all pupils in mainstream schools, encouraging the fullest and most active participation possible of everyone in school activities.— Normalisation. Educational attention for pupils with special educational needs —(SEN), arising from their personal disabilities, severe learning difficulties or other diffi- culties, is provided, to the greatest possible extent, using the ordinary resources avai-lable for all pupils and in ordinary contexts and environments, thus facilitating the participation of pupils with special educational needs in activities together with their companions.Intervention with specific support and resources is carried out by bringing the specific support or resource to the pupils (to their classroom, school or zone, etc.) rather than the other way round.— Equality of opportunities for learning and participation. The education system —must offer all pupils the possibility of participating in mainstream activities, and eve-ryone who most needs them should have the support and forms of attention they re-quire in order to share these activities and attain the learning goals laid down for each stage to the greatest possible extent.The education provided in schools must promote participation in the community of which the pupils form part and respond to the individual educational needs of each pupil.Education needs to be personalised for all pupils, but more specific measures and attention need to be applied to pupils with special educational needs.Personalised education implies the recognition of different rhythms of learning and of different types of participation, not necessarily, or only, individual attention; rather, it is a question of looking at the pupil and the environment in a more personalised light, allowing better identification of the learning barriers the pupils are facing, deciding, when necessary, on the application of individual plans and activating the organisatio- nal resources for improving attention.Beyond the school environment per se, the pupils’ participation in complementary and
  10. 10. 10extracurricular activities in the surrounding community should be promoted, while seeking to eliminate the barriers that might impede this, and creating the means to facilitate it.— Education close at hand. The education system must guarantee the right of all —pupils to receive education close to where they live and determine efficient criteria for the zoning and coordination of general and specific educational services in order to enhance children’s education through more integrated attention.— Participation and co-responsibility. The participation of the different segments —of the educational community (students, teachers and families) and the involvement of the community at large, each with their respective responsibilities, are vital elements to pave the way for the educational and social inclusion of persons with disabilities. The families of the children affected must take part in decision-making on their children’s schooling and the development of their educational process.
  11. 11. 114.Pupils with the greatest specific needsfor support in the context of inclusiveeducation4.1. From pupils’ special educational needs to thebarriers to learning and participation that may arisein the environmentIn the late 1970s, the Warnock report (1978) introduced the concept of special educatio-nal needs, which brought about a major reappraisal of the education and schooling of persons with personal disabilities or pupils at risk due to exceptional social circums-tances.To speak of special educational needs allowed attention to be diverted from any possible deficits or limitations of each specific pupil and to focus above all on the conditions required for their education, whether in terms of special measures or the modification of curriculums or the special resources that needed to be provided. Thus, the individualdescription of the handicap or other diagnostic label of each specific pupil began tolose weight and instead greater attention began to be paid to the learning conditionsthe environment needed to provide. Special educational needs referred to the com-plementary support or resources some children needed. They were known as specialbecause they were not common to all pupils and they were complementary because they were additional to those provided for all pupils.From this perspective it seemed evident that students with the same category of “dis- ability”, according to the traditional diagnostic standards, might have different edu-cational needs, depending on the family, school or social environment in which they found themselves, and—which is even more remarkable—this may significantly change the “special” nature of the educational needs identified. Thus, a pupil who requires a certain type of support in one school might need something else in the next town or in the school round the corner.More recently the concept has been introduced of barriers to learning and participa-tion (Ainscow, M., 2001; Booth, T. and Ainscow, M., 2004; Stainback, S. and Stain-back, W., 1999), and this concept has clarified and emphasised the importance of con-text in determining the resulting degrees of difficulty faced by students. It is not only the needs deriving from the pupil’s personal disabilities that count, but rather it is the barriers that the environment puts in the way of each person’s possibilities to learn that come to the fore as being particularly relevant.In the same vein, Porter (1990) observes how the most significant differences between a traditional approach to special education and an inclusive approach originate in the fact that the former is focused on the pupil—being based above all on prescriptive diagnostics and placing special emphasis on the role of individualised programmes—while the latter prioritises and focuses on the class group, and considers the types of measures and resources that need to be implemented or provided in the school or classroom, in order the better to resolve the difficulties any particular student may face.
  12. 12. 124.2. The Action Plan and pupils with disabilitiesIn spite of the insistence on the fact that attention to diversity and the inclusive school approach affects all the pupils and the educational community as a whole, these days pupils with disabilities require special consideration for two reasons: firstly because they are still excluded from mainstream schools; and secondly, their full incorpora- tion requires certain changes for which specific structural measures need to be taken.Consequently, the Action Plan, as well as focusing on general aspects that are essen-tial in order for schools to advance toward education for all, also specifically considers the definition of measures to facilitate the incorporation of pupils with disabilities into mainstream schools, with the aim of providing ideal conditions for quality education and good inter-personal relations between all pupils.4.3. Support and support resourcesWhen it comes to defining the supports needed to put inclusive education into practice, the observations by Stainback (2001) are relevant when she stresses that the provision of effective support depends, in part, on what we decide should be expected from this support. In the case of the inclusive classroom, the following two results, at least, seem desirable:— that all pupils are successful in curricular and social activities; —— that the teaching staff genuinely feel they are being supported in their efforts to —promote the success of pupils in their participation in educational activity and in their positive interdependence with the class group.From this perspective, support may take many different forms, the only important condition being that it be effective for the attainment of the desired objective.Also Index for Inclusion (Booth and Ainscow, 2004) offers a new perspective of support when it is defined as “all those activities which increase the capacity of schools torespond to diversity”, asserting, furthermore, that individual support is only one of various possible forms of support that may improve student’s’ learning. Thus, class- room programming to facilitate the diversification of activities, or agreeing on crite-ria that allow for different forms of participation and assessment, would also qualify as support.In this context, where do we include support resources? In this case we are speaking of the provision of tangible material (such as adapted computer keyboards, special chairs or desks, special class material, etc.) or of teacher participation (two teachers per class, doubling up of groups, etc.), or of participation by other professional staff(speech therapists, physiotherapists, auxiliaries, etc.) who help the teacher in the class group. Below we will deal specifically with ways of organising support resources in a shared, effective operation to improve inclusion.
  13. 13. 135.Conditions and criteria to progresstoward education for all and to facilitatethe development of inclusive schoolsGood practice in the building of the school for all, the experiments on inclusion that have been started in various schools, the experience of schools with SESU resources or with SEUs and the observations of teachers with regard to all this, as well as the conclu-sions reached by various researchers (Ainscow, 2001; Giné, 2001; Huguet, 2006; Porter and Stone, 2001; UNESCO, 1995); all these have made clear some of the conditions that allow practice in schools to be improved in order to provide effective education for all. They include a variety of ways of organisation, strategies and resources, which each school or educational zone must adapt to its particular situation and characteristics.As we shall see below, above and beyond the provision of the necessary services and resources, the changes that will make possible the improvement of education for all imply a change in students’ learning expectations, the recognition of the possibilities of learning from one another and the interactive work of professional staff in order to respond adequately to students’ needs.In what follows we review a series of criteria that must be considered from the perspec-tive of inclusive education.5.1. School organisation and teaching and learningstrategiesIt is for head teachers and their senior staff to implement measures to advance toward the inclusion of all pupils. They must, therefore, promote the evolution of institutional approaches and school structures to facilitate the elimination of physical, cultural, attitudinal, curricular, methodological and organisational barriers that impede the ac-quisition of learning by students.As can be seen in the schools that have already implemented this practice, this appro-ach must involve the teaching staff and the educational community as a whole, so that, starting from existing practices and understanding, they actively participate in the process of introducing the modifications favourable to inclusive education which are collectively implemented in the school. The consolidation of teaching teams around shared school projects has proved to be a necessary condition for this approach to be possible.In this process it is useful to consider those educational resources, ways of doing things and strategies that have proved effective in attempts to facilitate education for all. The European Agency for the Development of Special Education (2003), as well as other reports and research (Ainscow, 2001; CSE, 2008; Duran and Vidal, 2004; Giné, 2001; Giné, 2005; Huguet, 2006; Parrilla, 2005; Puigdellivol, 1998; Pujolàs, 2005b; Por-ter, 2001; Ruiz, 2008; Stainback, 2001) have described factors that are effective for in-clusive education, notable among which are the following:
  14. 14. 14For schools, the following have proved effective and positive:— Schools’ equipping themselves with a flexible structure, able to adapt to the —characteristics and needs of the students and the teaching staff, and an internal organisation that strengthens collaboration between teachers in terms both of planning and work in the classroom. That they agree on criteria for the distribution of support teacher attention, professional support staff and the resources and mechanisms for coordination that facilitate flexible adaptation to the diverse needs of different class groups and of the school;— The facilitation of collaborative teaching. The task of teaching is facilitated when —the teaching staff do it collaboratively, with regard to both the internal relations of the team and to the support and assessment available to the school. Hence, it is necessary and useful to make cooperative work between the teaching staff the habitual tool for creating knowledge, and to develop new initiatives that enable a response to the stu-dents’ needs. In school organisation, consideration must be given to this need in the design of the teaching staff ’s personal and collective timetables, thus paving the way for initiatives for shared teaching (two teachers per class, support and accompaniment from time to time, etc.) and for coordination, joint programmes and shared review;— Schools’ providing themselves with organs and structures that facilitate the —development of an inclusive orientation, such as a Committee on Attention to Diver-sity (CAD) and (in many schools) a Social Committee also. The coordination of the specific action and support implemented in schools, as well as a distribution of the teaching staff that is particularly suited to the diversity of the school population, are key factors if progress is to be made towards inclusive education. The Committee on Attention to Diversity (CAD) is a powerful tool available to schools to this end, as experience in schools has demonstrated in recent years (Bassedas, 2005; Huguet 2006). The CAD takes responsibility for stimulating and implementing measures to move towards inclusion and to manage resources. The Social Committee, meanwhile, created in many schools in recent years, has enabled more efficient identification and resolution of barriers to education faced by students with learning difficulties deriving from social and family factors, for which a networked response is essential;— For schools that have specific resources available (SESU, SEU, groupings of chil- —dren with hearing difficulties, etc.), the coordination of their work with other specia- lised resources and that of the teaching staff as a whole, within the framework of the attention to diversity plan designed by the school. The effectiveness of these resources is amplified when they become part of the mechanism for attention to diversity with the whole of the teaching staff behind them;— Agreement in the school on shared criteria and a variety of ways of assessing —students, enabling coherence within the teaching team and clear communication with the pupils and their families on the learning progress of each pupil; use of a variety of means and resources to assess the abilities of different pupils, according to the goals set; diversification of the ways of informing the pupils and their families of the results of assessment;— Forming class groups with a mixed composition of students. Mixed grouping and —personalised focus are two complementary strategies that have proved to be effective and necessary. A diversity of students in the classroom makes it useful and necessary
  15. 15. 15to offer alternative routes to learning and at the same time enables personalised teacher attention, exemplary role-modelling and peer cooperation.As for dealing with diversity in the classroom, good practice in schools has demons-trated the utility and effectiveness of:— Facilitating group work within the class and promoting cooperative learning. —Educational experience with a diversity of students in the same class has revealed that when pupils work together and help one another in learning activities, all pupils reap the benefit, thanks to mutual learning that promotes cooperation. Above and beyond its positive contribution in terms of the value of dialogue, social harmony and solida- rity, cooperative work has proved to benefit abilities related to planning, the manage-ment of learning, the use of language and the contrast of criteria of all cooperating pu-pils (Duran and Blanch, 2008; Pujolàs, 2008; Serra, 2008);— Taking steps toward the practice of participative resolution of relational problems —and conflicts. Cooperative conflict-resolution strategies, and the mediation resources developed in schools with the active involvement of teaching staff and students, have proved particularly positive for pupils with social or behavioural difficulties. The es-tablishment of clear rules for behaviour, coherent treatment by the whole school and the acceptance of individual and collective commitment by the pupils have also all proved to be effective;— The development of ways of class programming that pay regard to the diverse —composition of a class group, and which provide for different levels of participation and educational response. Multilevel learning has proved to be an effective approach to respond to the diverse needs of the students that make up the group. In this approach, on the basis of picking out the key ideas of each unit, ways of presentation and activity development are devised that allow for different roles, goals and paces of learning, as well as a variety of ways of assessment (Ruiz, 2008; Schulz and Turnbull, 1984);— Deciding on individualised (or personalised) plans which, taking as a starting- —point the barriers to learning and participation that pupils face, define the key aspects on which attention must be focused in order for certain skills to be acquired. Such plans make sense in the context of inclusive education when they are explicitly re- lated to classroom programming and take account, furthermore, of how to promote student participation in the various activities;— The development of ways of working and other measures that facilitate attention —to diversity in the classroom. Amongst the different ways of coping with diversity in the classroom with an inclusive orientation for all pupils, the following have proved particularly effective: • shared teaching by two teachers in the classroom, • group learning, • the use of specialised support in the classroom, • group work and/or workshops within the class, • working in inter-class groups and/or workshops, • specific workshops on oral or written expression in small groups, • working in small groups within the class.
  16. 16. 165.2. The psychoeducational assessment of pupilsThe social nature of learning and development described by Vigotsky, which has been amply confirmed by subsequent research and development (Bronfenbrenner, 1987; Bruner, 1977; Rogoff, 1993; Schaffer, 1977), as well as the pre-eminent role of barriers to learning and participation (Booth and Ainscow, 2004), to which we refer throughout this document, lead to an approach to psychoeducational assessment that is no lon-ger mainly or exclusively centred on the individual, but instead considers it essential to take account also of the learning and development environment and the intervention strategies employed.Thus, it seems clear that if pupils’ development and learning is in function of the ex-periences and opportunities that are achieved in interaction with adults and peers, the process of identifying these pupils’ specific educational needs and potential must take account of the variables that affect teaching and learning and not merely each pupil’s individual characteristics.Understood in this sense, psychoeducational assessment must aim to provide relevant information to steer pupils’ education. As a number of works have stressed and veri-fied (Bonals and Sanchez-Cano, 2007; Giné, 2001b; Huguet, 2006; Monereo and Solé, 1999; Sanchez-Cano and Bonals, 2005) this assessment must be a process shared be-tween professional staff and the families, to obtain and analyse relevant information about the different factors that affect the process of development and learning.This is information that must prove useful to identify pupils’ educational needs and potential, particularly with regard to those with difficulties in personal development or who have, for a variety of reasons, severe difficulties in acquiring the skills called for by the syllabus, in order to facilitate decision-making with regard to the curriculum and the types of measures needed for each pupil at the school, in order to bolster progress in personal development and maximise participation in the community.In consequence, reports on assessment and psychoeducational orientation, as well as schools’ agreements on resources and support, must have the same goals and be poin-ted in this direction.The results of the assessment and the reports deriving from them must serve to steer the psychoeducational interventions of teaching staff and families.Assessment and orientation for pupils’ education must be updated from time to time, generally at the beginning of each stage and particularly when there is a request or the need for it.5.3. The schooling of children with disabilitiesSchools, whether private or publicly-funded, must follow the general criterion of edu-cating all children in the most normal, ordinary environment possible. As for children with personal disabilities, account must be taken on a personalised basis of the support they may require and of the conditions in the school.This personalised approach means that account must be taken, above and beyond the general criteria that have been established, of specific variables affecting the child
  17. 17. 17concerned, such as the situation and priorities of the pupil’s family, the accessibility of the nearest school and the conditions within it.Thus, although information about children’s personal disabilities, or the extent of their autonomy, contribute to guiding the decision as to where they will be educated, this information must not be considered in an absolute or decontextualised manner.To help meet the special educational needs of pupils in all schools, the education sys-tem has general and specific resources and services: zonal educational services (ZES), special education teachers, therapeutic education teachers, speech and hearing tea- chers, educational psychologists, resource centres for students with hearing impair- ment (ERCHI), resource centres for students with visual impairment (ERVI), support services for students with motor disability and support services for students with de-velopmental and behavioural disorders, in addition to the other measures to attend to diversity that are developed in schools.Depending on these general conditions and the characteristics of the various educa-tional levels, pupils’ schooling must consider the following criteria:Nursery education (0-3 years)Early attention for children with personal disabilities may in many cases be greatly helped at the nursery stage. It is for this reason that advice and attention to families and early attention to the infant (with intervention by the Centre for Children’s Deve-lopment and Early Care (CCDEC) when necessary) must be coordinated from the very first stages, with nursery attendance when the family considers this to be appropriate. Throughout this process coordinated professional attention is needed for both the in-fant and the family.Thus, at this stage:— children should be accommodated in mainstream nurseries that have places for —children with special educational needs;— nurseries with disabled children have recourse to advice from the PEOT and the —support of the district CCDEC. They can also receive support from the special schools;— the PEOT is responsible for the coordination of intervention by professional support —staff and the orientation of subsequent schooling.Infant (age 3-6), primary (3-12) and secondary (12-16)In this period:— with the normal resources and the specific educational services, students with —sufficient autonomy and adequate social behaviour (such as those with visual or au-ditory impairment, motor disability, those who are autonomous or partially depen-dent and those with slight to moderate intellectual disability) will attend mainstream schools;
  18. 18. 18— to facilitate the attendance of pupils with a lack of autonomy (dependent persons —with motor impairment, severe intellectual disability, general developmental or severe behavioural disorders) in the mainstream school environment, schools are provided with special education support units (SESU), with speech and hearing teachers and other specialists, as personal resources additional to the resources already present in schools and to the different sorts of inclusive organisation developed up to now in va-rious schools;— the special schools will educate those children for whom this is determined to be —the best option after assessment of their educational needs and support requirements, sharing activities with a mainstream school whenever possible. The special schools must collaborate with the ZES with respect both to the education of disabled children and to advice and support for mainstream schools in the zone, once pupils have been enrolled.Post-compulsory educationOnce compulsory education is completed, whenever possible the inclusive education of students with specific support needs and/or personal disabilities should continue in mainstream educational settings, promoting their participation in general courses (higher-secondary education and training courses) so that they will be able to lead an active life with the highest possible degree of autonomy and equality of opportunity.The individualised plans specified in the new regulations for higher-secondary educa- tion and the flexibility of the new structure of training courses are key factors for pro-gress to be made in this direction.Furthermore, the Initial Professional Qualification Programmes (IPQPs) can help young people with personal disabilities to start a personal and professional career according to their interests and abilities, and their launch into the world of work. IPQPs that are addressed to disabled students must include modules on personal and social autonomy and assistance in job placement.Also, disabled young people must be able to follow a diversified syllabus to ensure they have the essential training for transition to adult life.Steps must be taken to make their educational careers as similar as possible to those of other students who have been educated together with them in the compulsory stages of education, as well as procuring the continuity of inclusive conditions in the centre where post-compulsory courses are given, with a sufficiently diverse and appropriately adapted range of courses.In all cases it is important that the guidance given to these students takes a global view of their life project.5.4. Personal support resourcesDefining as an objective that schools cater to the educational needs of all pupils means that some of the ways things have been done until now will have to be reassessed. Some-times this may also mean the progressive modification of the organisation of specific
  19. 19. 19resources at present available to schools, as well as to move towards a more precise de-finition of new needs.In this regard, and as described elsewhere in this Plan, the effectiveness of personal support resources is greatly increased when they form part of a package of support ac- tions, such as those mentioned above in connection with multilevel education, coope-rative work between pupils or different ways of grouping them.The various professionals who make up what we call personal support resources take on a variety of tasks and in some cases require specific training and skills, but they have in common the ultimate goal of reducing barriers to learning and participation, and hence also the shared aim of enhancing the efficacy of teaching in contexts which are as normal and participative as possible. Their function makes sense when they act in a coordinated, complementary way. The group tutor, the support teaching staff, supplementary activities, professional specialists, and teachers in the reception class all have certain aims and a programme in common with regard to a particular pupil or class group.The specialised personal support resources that are available to a school includesupport teaching staff (special education teachers; therapeutic education teachers, educational psychologists at secondary level, and reception class teachers and speech and hearing teachers at both levels), auxiliary support staff (infant education specia-lists, monitors to assist the autonomy of disabled students, SE educators, SE auxiliaries and social integration staff) and educational services specialists, such as speech the-rapists and physiotherapists. Each member of the personal support resources staff must collaborate with the teaching staff to attend to the specific needs of the pupils in each school, with regard to mobility problems, lack of autonomy, language or communica-tion difficulties, relational or behavioural difficulties or severe learning difficulties. This support must be carried out wherever possible and must adapt to the goals and to the tasks under way in the mainstream classroom.Also, depending on the presence in a school of students with specific major support needs, it may also have a special education support unit (SESU) or support teaching staff for the grouping of deaf children. A SESU is a personal support resource that complements others available to a school and is focused particularly toward facilita-ting participation and learning by students with a lack of autonomy deriving from motor disability, severe intellectual disabilities or severe developmental or behavioural disorders in the mainstream school environment. The current special education units assigned to mainstream schools are to become SESUs in these schools.In any event, all pupils at a school, independently of their support needs, must form part of an ordinary class group, and the various resources must be organised to facilitate their participation in ordinary activities and to help and support students faced with learning difficulties, above all in normal settings.The head teacher and senior staff, the school’s CAD and, on the basis of their proposals, the whole of the teaching staff, must assume different levels of responsibility according to current guidelines and rules, for the modifications and support organised by the school to meet students’ educational needs.
  20. 20. 20Schools also have available to them the advice of the educational services and of the special schools in the district.When using and organising the personal support resources that are available to the school, account must always be taken of the criteria discussed above on cooperative work between the students and other forms of support, so that they complement one another.Furthermore, specialist staff (special education teachers, therapeutic education teachers...) should prioritise their attention to disabled students and support interventions in the mainstream classroom, in view of how very effective this practice has proved to be for the students as a whole, and they should reserve their activities outside the general classroom for specific activities for which their presence is essential.The danger must always be avoided of allowing a personal support resource to become a barrier to participation, as a result of generating excessive dependence on the part of the student, or of not having sufficiently combined individual attention with that addressed to the group as a whole.5.5. Special schoolsThe current state of our education system, as is the case also with those of most of our neighbours, obliges us to consider the special schools as an asset and a resource that needs to be progressively transformed to adapt to the inclusive education approach which is proposed in this Plan.Various discussions of this topic (APPS, 2007; Carbonell et al., 2007; Font and Giné, 2007) have stressed the importance of valuing the expertise, the fund of knowledge, the professional teams and the resources the special schools have accumulated, in or- der to reinvest these assets in the development of inclusive education. As Farrell and Ainscow (2002) have observed, the direction and future of the special schools is inti-mately bound up with “making special education more inclusive”.In Catalonia, legislation as early as Decree 299/1997 provided for cooperation between mainstream schools and special schools, with regard both to the mobility of staff and to shared education or exchange of experience and educational resources. Before and after this legal provision, our country has undertaken several pioneering experiments that help confirm here the successful experiments carried out by other countries in this regard (Ainscow 2001). These experiments allow us to state that making special educa-tion more inclusive means understanding it as a package of specialised aid, resources and support at the service of students with special needs of educational support, prio- ritising intervention in mainstream school environments. Thus, the existing special schools must evolve to enable them to perform a double function focused on the edu-cational inclusion of all pupils:— Firstly, the education of pupils with major educational support needs. In this case, —educational attention must prioritise the functionality of what is learnt and promote the autonomy and social habits that facilitate students’ participation in the communi- ty and their surroundings, insofar as possible in mainstream school environments.
  21. 21. 21This function implies that a special school should act as a facilitator for pupils’ pre- sence, participation, learning and success, particularly in the case of those students with the most need for specialised support in normal environments.The possibilities should always be considered of combined school attendance and par-ticipation in activities in mainstream schools, depending on the student’s specific si-tuation, as well as of maintaining collaborative relations with community services and institutions in the zone to facilitate everyone’s participation in the community.— Secondly, they must become reference centres and providers of services and —support programmes for educational inclusion.The specialised knowledge, experience and resources available to the existing special schools on the teaching and learning of students with the greatest need of educatio- nal support, means they can become important support resources for student inclu-sion in situations ranging from ways of approaching situations of difficulty or conflict faced by the student, to reception, orientation and support for families.At any event, as research and good practice has shown, inclusive education necessarily involves cooperation between different professionals, through which tutors in mains-tream schools and special school teaching staff exchange their experiences.This creative and innovative collaboration shares the experience, educational tradi- tions and teaching techniques already found in mainstream schools and special schools and, above and beyond simply adding them together, generates new ways of doing things that are the outcome of shared thought and practice.The special schools, whether public or private schools receiving support from public funds, acting in coordination with educational services, must become outreach specialschools for the mainstream schools in the zone, in order to provide specific resources, collaborate with the adaptation of materials and the development of intervention strate-gies for students’ educational inclusion.Furthermore, the special schools, with the authorisation of the Department of Educa-tion and in coordination with the zonal and specific education services, may act as providers of specific services and programmes to support educational inclusion, in matters such as the following: • Stimulation of language and alternative communication. • Multisensorial stimulation and mobility adaptations in the classroom environ- ment. • Emotional balance and self-control. • Functional skills (mobility, eating, hygiene...). • Orientation of methodological and organisational strategies, adaptation of mate- rials and teaching resources. • Specific support for students in exceptional situations. • Contributions to or information about specific teaching materials. • Support for job placement.To enhance inclusiveness in a given area, projects may also be considered for unions between special schools and mainstream schools promoted by the schools themselves.
  22. 22. 225.6. Education services and specific supportprogrammesBecause of their role in encouraging good educational practice and in providing support for schools to meet the needs of all pupils, particularly those with special edu-cational needs, the education services have a very important part to play on the road towards inclusive education.In harmony with earlier advice on the contribution of education services to progress toward inclusive education (CSE, 2008), we outline below a number of fields to which they can contribute:— Advice to and collaboration with schools to progress toward the inclusive —treatment of all pupils through participation when necessary in the schools’ structure (courses, teaching teams, staff meetings, departments...), particularly in the CADs. Cooperation with the head teacher and teaching staff to make specific proposals for improvements and contribute to putting them into practice.— Assessing, with the cooperation of the teaching staff, the needs and potential of —SEN students, considering how to deal with the barriers to learning and participation the student faces in the environment. Collaboration in tracking their progress and learning throughout their time at school.— Initiate and participate in proposals to update, review and improve the teaching —staff ’s professional practice, promoting and coordinating, when necessary, seminars on methodology, in order to help schools advance towards inclusive education.— Cooperate to bring together and share good practice on educational inclusion. —Facilitate the adoption of measures to improve schools, as decided on after considera-tion of good practices with teaching staff.— Facilitate the inclusion of methodological and didactic proposals in training —activities that take place in the educational zone, which take account of diversity and promote inclusiveness in the classroom.— Contribute to raising awareness of educational inclusion in the whole commu- —nity, organising (or cooperating with) informative events in the zone, and encouraging participation by, and the active involvement of, disabled young people and adults or those at risk of social exclusion, in local social events.— Offer advice, support and orientation to teaching staff to enhance learning and —participation by all pupils in the mainstream environment.— Facilitate and participate in networking by local professionals working in diffe- —rent fields (education, health, social services, etc.) to monitor and support students and their families.— Advise families on matters arising from the education of their children and on —their participation in family, school and community life.
  23. 23. 23Education services maybe zonal or specific:— Zonal education services (ZES) provide psychoeducational evaluation and tea- —ching resources support services for schools in their zone. They include the psychoedu-cational evaluation and orientation team (PEOT), the teaching resources centre (TRC) and the language, interculturality and social cohesion team (LISCT).—— Specific education services (SES) are services to support teaching activity in schools with the aim of adapting educational activity for disabled students or those with severe developmental or behavioural disorders.The SESs perform a specific evaluation of the educational needs of pupils connected with their speciality, provide specific support in the form of resources and teaching materials and carry out educational support actions for teaching staff, students and fa-milies.The specific education services are as follows:— ERCHI (educational resources centre for hearing impairment). These provide ser- —vices to support the education of students with hearing impairment or communica- tion and language disorders.— SESMD (specific education services for motor disability). These provide services to —support the education of students with motor disability.— SEGDBD (specific education service for generalised developmental and behaviou- —ral disorders). Provides support for students with generalised developmental and be-havioural disorders.— ERVI (educational resource centre for visual impairment). Provides support ser- —vices for the education of students with visual impairment.In addition, the Department of Education will call on special schools, in coordination with the education services, to carry out specific support programmes for the inclu-sive education of disabled students in mainstream schools in the zone, providing ad- vice for teaching staff, support in adapting materials and, when necessary, direct atten-tion for students with special educational needs deriving from disablement, generalised developmental disorders or severe behavioural disorders.5.7. NetworkingStudents in general, and most particularly those who are more vulnerable for social reasons, because of their health or because of their personal disabilities, need a greater or lesser degree of intervention by professional staff working in the social, health, employment or leisure spheres.Overcoming the barriers to learning and participation, the fundamental goal of inclusive education, often requires the intervention of professionals in more than one of these fields, above and beyond that of professionals from the educational community.
  24. 24. 24When such a variety of aspects are in play, to share goals and to move forward in a coherent way is as indispensable as it is complex.Various authors (Abril and Ubieto, 2008; Bassedas, 2005; Huguet, 2005) have discussed networking and have offered experiences and observations that have enabled a step to be taken above and beyond mere coordination between different professionals, in pur-suit of a complementary, incremental action, the fruit of collaboration.Their observations stress that the view of a single professional is not enough, in many cases, to help students and their families to overcome these barriers to learning and participation, in order to follow the best possible path of learning and development. When it comes to identifying the difficulties and strong points of a person and their environment and drawing up a plan for intervention and monitoring, it is from con-versation amongst professionals that a shared view and a collaborative line of work can emerge.Networking means, at least, that the professionals involved share this need for colla-borative action, and that they define a minimal shared plan, with a collective commit-ment to monitoring it.The first expression of networking should be in collaborative action by the professional staff who intervene in schools (tutorial teaching staff, support teaching staff, educatio-nal psychology consultants, etc.) and it should extend, when necessary, into the three fields mentioned earlier: health, social, leisure. Networking by the various professio- nal staff will be enhanced by the education services.In order for networking to be possible, enough time and suitable structures must be available. Occasions such as meetings of the CAD or the Social Committee are ideal for this important function, with the cooperation of the education services. Ideas on how to cooperate with other services or how to meet the needs of each zone and each situa-tion may also arise from such meetings.5.8. Involving the communityResearch into inclusive education has made plain the vital importance of the role of the community for the success of inclusion.First of all, stress has been laid on the role of the school itself as a community which is moving in a certain direction to facilitate education for all to a greater or lesser degree. It has also been observed that the pupils themselves are the first resource for inclusion when the school is organised to promote cooperation between peers or when it pro-motes initiatives such as group work in which students learn from one another.But the community goes well beyond the school. Families and social agents can have a very important role to play in enhancing the academic success of all students, parti-cularly when schools work in harmony with the rest of the community and when the cooperation that is required of parents has a direct bearing on their children’s educa- tion.
  25. 25. 25This broader concept of the learning community further strengthens the school’s possibilities of inclusiveness and the success of all pupils. Community involvement in schools, whether in the form of mixed committees or volunteer work (by families, other members of the community, higher-education students, teaching staff, etc.) enhances the schools’ harmonising role and significantly improves learning, incor- porating ways of doing things such as interactive groups and promoting the inclusion of all students in the same activities.In parallel with this, steps must be taken to further participation by students with spe-cial educational needs in activities in the surrounding community, taking advantage of the available cultural and leisure resources which may contribute to developing their potential, improving their quality of life and making their presence in general activi- ties something normal.5.9. Interdepartmental coordinationIndividuals with disabilities often require support that goes beyond the school envi-ronment, necessitating coordination between institutions to ensure the effectiveness of services and that major measures are complementary to one another.To this end it is essential for the departments of Education, Health and Social Action and Citizenship to draw up between them an integrated plan to attend to the needs of individuals with disabilities.Coordination is also essential between the Department of Education and the Depart-ment of Employment to advance towards the integrated planning of training pro- grammes for people with disabilities, with due regard for their prospects for job place-ment.It is also important to coordinate the criteria of the various professional staff who ad- vise and guide families to ensure coherence throughout the process.5.10. Students’ own views about their educationProgressing toward inclusive education also means listening to the students’ opinions about school for all. Students, whether they have disabilities or not, should be able to express their views on the positive aspects and the limitations they perceive; only thus can ways truly be found to resolve the difficulties. Steps must be taken to fill the gap that has been revealed in this regard by research into the opinions of young people with personal disabilities and their classmates after they have completed school (Anderson and Clarke, cited by Marchesi, 2001b).Account must be taken in this respect of young people’s thoughts about the need to be informed about different aspects of their personal disabilities or specific ways of dea- ling with them.It is also important to promote their socialization and formation of relationships, in or- der to avoid the sense of isolation they may feel, particularly when they reach adoles-cence.
  26. 26. 26Appropriate steps must also be taken to prepare students for independence or the assumption of responsibility for commonplace aspects of daily life.Each person’s disability situation is unique, and so the rigid application of general educational criteria must be avoided, lest it cause dissatisfaction on the part of those who have not had the opportunity to have their voice heard. We must listen to the views of students with disabilities, be sensitive to them and understand them, seeking to make the adjustments that may be needed in each particular situation.Furthermore, we should continue to diversify the specific ways of providing education for students with personal disabilities, making the general criteria discussed so far compatible with other, more specific ones, in order to facilitate the process of learning and socialisation.Adolescents and young people with disabilities who attend the various schools have also from time to time expressed their desire to make their attendance at mainstream schools—which allows them to be with and learn with different classmates—compatible with the opportunity of periodically meeting other adolescents and young people who share with them expectations for the future and interests related to their personal disa- personal disa-bilities.The development of inclusive education must also be sensitive to the desires and aspi-rations of adolescents and young people with disabilities, trying out a variety of forms of social and community participation to enhance their quality of life.
  27. 27. 276.Entering society and the workplace:the transition to adult lifeAt the end of the period of school attendance, transition to adult life for people with personal disabilities calls for special attention if the goals of participation and learning for all that have been pursued throughout their inclusive education are to be achieved.Experience with students with major needs for educational support deriving from disability make it clear that attention must be paid to preparation for access to a job and the transition to adult life, before their time at school is over. Hence, experience and opportunities for work and in the community should be provided for them before they leave school. A plan for transition to adult life (Font and Giné, 2007) should have two goals:— For students to identify their abilities for learning and development before leaving —school so as to improve their autonomy and functionality.— To identify the services and support needed to help them obtain a proper job, a —suitable place to live and the opportunity to continue developing personal and social skills, as well as giving them the opportunity to form relationships and friendships.With these aims in view, personalised life projects can be drawn up as a background to the development of skills for transition to adult life, bearing in mind the conditions and possibilities in each area and the needs and possibilities of each individual, in or- der to reaffirm personal autonomy and social skills as well as work-related skills.Hence, at the end of the period of compulsory education it is indispensable to begin guiding students in this regard, and to this end personalised itineraries must be devised that are suited to the young people’s abilities and interests and to their possibilities in society and at work.In the development of personalised life projects the following have an important role to play:— the community work carried out in connection with inclusive education in the —zone, as well as the solidity of the networking that has taken place on social and work-related questions and the prospects for future job placement and participation within the community;— participation by the families of young people with disabilities and others close to —them. Collaboration between the families and the professional staff who advise them, and the support these are able to provide, are essential throughout the process.To facilitate this process, the Department of Education, in coordination with the De-partment of Employment, will:— promote the involvement and participation of companies in the processes of fin- —ding initial employment and the development of a variety of options, such as sheltered
  28. 28. 28employment, work teams, supported employment, self-employment and other forms of work activity;— encourage companies to offer work experience for school-leavers with disabilities —under the same terms as the others and procure that the IPQPs (Initial Professional Qualification Programmes) in each zone are coherent with the availability of jobs;— plan the availability of professional training to take account of the possibilities of —companies in the area as well as the interests, abilities and skills of people with perso- nal disabilities.People with personal disabilities very often need instruments to support them if they are to enter the world of work with equal opportunities. Supported employment is a system that provides a package of aids and measures to accompany people with disabilities as they seek work, start their job and hold it in an ordinary company. It suits all those individuals who need continual accompaniment or supervision as they begin work so that they can successfully do a real job in the long term. One of the key figures in this process is the job placement officer, who will offer assistance to workers with disabilities and who coordinates all related issues.Furthermore, the Department of Education, in coordination with the Department of Social Action and Citizenship, will promote the measures needed to facilitate transi- tion to adult life for people with disabilities under the best possible conditions, and hence the transition from attention in the school environment to attention on a daily basis (at present occupational centres and specialised attention centres).
  29. 29. 297.The collaboration of familiesand professionalsIt is generally agreed that the family environment has a key role for the development and education of the individual, and this is even more so in the case of students with special educational needs in view of the greater dependence that often conditions their development and their access to learning and participation.Here in the Action Plan “Learning Together to Live Together”, we wish to give a pro-minent place to the cooperation between the family and the school and between the family and professional staff which is so necessary in order to deal with barriers to lear-ning and participation.For many years, those working in the fields of health and education tended to think of the role of the families of students with special educational needs more as an instru-mental one than as a collaborative one: they often sought the cooperation of parents to take part in programmes to stimulate their children, programmes drawn up by specia-lists in various aspects of education or by enablers. Progressively, staff in the Centres for Children’s Development and Early Care (CCDECs), schools and the education ser-vices have evolved toward a more global, interactive approach, in which the families begin to play a more relevant and active role.As various studies and research have stressed (Almirall, 2007; Giné, 2003; Leal, 1999; Planas, 2003; Paniagua, 1999), to move forward with inclusive education it is essential: • to improve communication between professional staff and families, • to improve avenues of participation by parents in decision-making, • to put greater emphasis on the work of professional staff to inform, support and advise the families of SEN students.7.1. From the family with problems to the family withneeds and a part to playIn recent years the idea that families with a child with disabilities had to have problems or difficulties that were characteristic of their situation has gradually been left behind in favour of a view in which they are considered normal families in exceptional cir-cumstances (Seligman and Darling, 2007).The abandonment of this “pathologising” approach became possible when families be-gan to be analysed in their specific environment and as people with certain resources available, whether within the family itself or in their immediate setting. This change of perspective means that families are no longer thought of in terms of deficits and problems, but rather as having needs and possibilities, and also allows the differences between the characteristics of different families to be envisioned and attention to be paid to how their situation evolves.
  30. 30. 307.2. Collaboration between families and professionalsImproving avenues for parents’ participation in decision-making and in the process of educating their children involves a commitment to progress toward a model in which professional staff and families collaborate, and in which each party recognises the other’s mutually-necessary knowledge and expertise.This model is based on recognition by professional staff of the knowledge the parents have about their child. Parents are seen as protagonists in the adaptive process and in the response to their child’s needs, and a balance is sought between participation by families and professionals.The professionals can contribute information, offer options, open up alternatives and help interpret information, situations and reactions.This approach means that professionals, above and beyond their technical expertise as teachers or advisers in a certain field, need to have the ability to relate and a particular- ly empathic attitude to enable them to control and lead this collaboration.7.3. Information, support and advice for familiesThe growing presence of students with disabilities in mainstream schools, as proposed by educational inclusion, must be accompanied by the implementation of organisatio-nal measures and training for the staff that will enable adequate communication with students’ families. Furthermore, provision must be made to ensure the availability of whatever specific information, support and advice the families may need (Almirall, 2007; Giné, 2003; Paniagua, 1999) on specific aspects related to their particular needs.In general terms, the schools and education services should pay special attention to aspects such as the following with regard to information and advice:— Provide information and clarification on aspects of students’ progress and on —functional aspects connected with disability.— Cooperate with the family on students’ schooling and the adoption of measures to —facilitate their educational and social inclusion.— Provide information, and/or ways of obtaining it, on technical resources and so- —cial assistance.— Advise on strategies and ways of doing things that facilitate the control of beha- —viour and the setting of limits for their child.— Facilitate contact with associations of families or other organisations that may be —a source of mutual assistance.As for families’ emotional support needs, schools and education services must prioritise:— Appropriate treatment when disability is diagnosed and assistance to face up to the —feelings this may arouse within the family.
  31. 31. 31— Help for families in comprehending the disability, providing an accurate view of —the difficulties faced by a person with disabilities as well as their potential.— Help for families to find their own resources to cope. —— Support and advice in the situations of particular difficulty that occur in the —course of life and school (starting school, change in stage of education or the school attended, changes in a student’s capacity for autonomy, puberty and the onset of ado-lescence, etc.).— Support in the event of a communication block between the parents and their —child with disability.
  32. 32. 328.Training for inclusive educationTo put this Action Plan “Learning Together to Live Together” into effect a specific trai-ning programme is necessary for all teaching staff, head teachers, professional staff in the education services and support personnel (educators and monitors). Even though the Framework Plan for Continuing Training 2005-2010 already provides for educa-tional inclusion as a priority topic for training, on the basis of this Action Plan a se- ries of specific measures will be taken that will take account of inclusion in classrooms and schools, at the same time setting it in a broader social and community context.To move firmly toward educational inclusion it is necessary, at the outset, to provide class teachers, other specialists in schools, professional staff in the education services and head teachers and senior teaching staff with an orientation and with strategies that smooth their task in a normal classroom or school setting.According to the Framework Plan for Continuing Training 2005-2010, the training plan for inclusive education will combine training in the school and in the local educa-tional zone (so as to facilitate the exchange of experiences and the optimisation of re-sources) with other, more general, measures addressed to all professional staff.8.1. The objectives of trainingThe objectives of training for inclusive education are evident from the very concept and ought to impregnate all informative and training actions that derive from the Action Plan.— To share the idea that underlies educational inclusion: the recognition that all stu- —dents can learn and that they should do so in an ordinary social and educational con-text, in equality of rights and duties and without barriers.— To move forward with the practice of inclusion as a set of actions in the class- —room, the school and the surrounding area, aimed at combating inequality and pro-moting the educational success of all pupils, placing special emphasis on the groups which are traditionally most vulnerable, amongst whom are students with disabilities.— To contribute to perceiving the process towards inclusive education as one of trans- —formation that requires commitment and which will bring with it improvement for everyone, emphasising the fact that equality and quality of education are not only not contradictory, but reinforce one another.— To sensitise the educational community about inclusion, so that it is perceived as —something positive that benefits everyone and contributes to creating more just, more cohesive communities.— To share inclusive practices as a means to achieve both basic transverse skills and —those specific to each area.— To pool and disseminate the strategies and resources needed by all those involved, —
  33. 33. 33so that they can offer all pupils the opportunity to learn and participate in the context of the classroom, the school and the ordinary environment.— To give teaching staff the tools and strategies they need to enter into inclusive —practices with enough confidence for positive, collaborative dynamics to be generated in the classroom and in the school.8.2. The initial training of teaching staffInitial teacher training at university must include the theoretical underpinnings of educational inclusion as an option that promotes learning and the overall development of the student.Furthermore, this training must stress the content on strategies and ways of program-ming activities that facilitate inclusive education in schools and in classrooms.In specialised training, carried out at postgraduate and master’s level, priority must be given to enabling graduates to provide support and assessment on methods and re-sources that enhance educational attention to all students in mainstream environments.8.3. Continuing training of teaching staffThe backbone of this training is that given in-school or in the local educational zone.— In-school training is justified by the importance of the joint work of the professio- —nal staff who work there to facilitate processes of inclusion. This training necessarily involves a discussion centred on the school’s beliefs, policies and educational practice. It must cover the organisational and structural measures that must be taken in the school to facilitate inclusion; an analysis and a recognition of the most suitable class-room methodology; a discussion of the strategies for collaboration between the tea-ching staff involved in teaching the same group (tutorial teachers, specialist teachers and support teachers) to promote an inclusive dynamic, and of the consequent decisions on the role of specialists in schools (special education teachers, speech and hearing teachers, therapeutic education teachers, educators, educational psychologists, etc.).The leadership of the head teacher and the senior staff and the presence of external advisors are essential for the optimum development of training in the school. This proposal, furthermore, is coherent with the new Catalan Education Law, which pro-poses a greater degree of autonomy for schools.— As for training in the local area (educational zone or training plan zone), training —must ensure that inclusive good practice is known and shared, it must promote coope-rative networking between the schools, including the special schools, and provide spe-cific training for certain specialists. Initially, training actions will be organised directed at all the different staff involved in order to raise their awareness and encourage wor-king together, and subsequently there will be more focused training for specific groups of staff, according to their needs. In parallel with this and as a general rule, discussion will be stimulated on the teaching and learning methodologies that are most propitious for inclusion with respect to all types of didactic activity.
  34. 34. 34This proposal is also fully coherent with the desire of the Department of Education, manifested in the Education Law, to manage education on a local basis, as is the case of the educational zones.It is therefore incumbent on the zone director, in conjunction with the education ser-vices and the schools’ inspectorate, to take charge of this zonal training.— The centralised training provided by the Department of Education, directed at —head teachers, senior teachers and the teachers of particular segments of the curricu- lum, will include transversal guidelines and methodologies to facilitate the implemen-tation of inclusive education.— Specific training will focus on more detailed aspects of the educational needs and —potential of those with different disabilities. This training will be directed primarily at specialised teaching staff and the teaching staff at schools which have students with disabilities.8.4. The basic content of trainingThe content of training will be adapted to the various types of school, the local zone concerned and the staff and their requirements, but will basically cover the following topics:— General aspects: — • The underpinnings of inclusive education. Concept and models of inclusion. • Knowledge and use of the material: Índex per a la inclusió: guia per a l’avaluació i la millora de l’inclusive education (IC-UB 2005), to draw up and implement an improvement plan for the school. • Collaborative work with support teaching staff and other specialists. • Ways of organising support for and attention to diversity in the school. • Universal design of learning. • The evaluation of inclusive contexts: identifying the barriers to learning, partici- pation and success for all pupils. • Involving families and the surrounding area to promote inclusive practices. • Optimising resources.— Methodology and educational attention: — • Ways of organising the school and the classroom that are favourable to educatio- nal inclusion. • Classroom management strategies to optimise learning and participation for all pupils: strategies for the self-regulation of learning, cooperative work, multilevel teaching, etc. • Adaptation of textbooks and teaching material. • Forms and strategies of adaptation for different subject areas. • Use of technological resources. • Working with methodologies based on reflective practice.
  35. 35. 358.5. Specific actionsTraining for inclusive education is directed at all professional staff in schools and the education services; it will take place in different settings: centralised, by region, by local educational zone, in schools or on an individual basis on-line.Teaching staff thus have access to generalised training to support the process of trans-formation in the school and the classroom, with the aim of achieving the participation of all pupils in mainstream environments, but they will also have at their disposal spe- cific training on different types of disability and specific strategies and resources to de-ploy.At the regional level, coordination seminars will be organised to cover cooperation be-tween the staff in special schools, those in mainstream schools with special education support units, and the education services.
  36. 36. 369.Administration of the PlanMany experts and professionals have participated in the drafting of the Department of Education’s Action Plan, and together with them, priorities have been established, together with criteria and proposals for bringing its measures and aims into line with real educational needs. The Plan takes account of their suggestions and contributions.Various committees have been established to implement the process:Technical committeesA technical committee was established in 2007. Representatives of the various directo-rates general of the Department of Education sit on this committee.The technical committee sits fortnightly to analyse proposals and actions and to iden-tify the ways forward.Territorial committeesWithin each of the territorial services a specific committee has been established to promote the Plan and to determine the map of resources and services in an ongoing manner. Those responsible for the planning units, school inspection and the educa- tion services sit on these committees to analyse the projections and existing resources and, on the basis of statistical data regarding the population of each zone, they propose how resources and services be distributed, and programmes implemented, with sights set on 2015.The territorial committees meet regularly, at least once every three months, to push for-ward the planning for resources and to coordinate actions associated with the imple-mentation of the Plan.In order to coordinate the actions of the various territorial areas, the meetings of the territorial committees are attended by members of staff from the Directorate General for Attention to the Educational Community.Group of expertsThe Department of Education is assisted through the collaboration of a group of ex-perts consisting of university teaching staff, members of school management teams, the education service’s staff, school inspectors, representatives of the Departments of Health, Employment, Social Action and Citizenship, representatives of organisations concerned with people with disabilities and members of the Directorate General for Innovation and the Directorate General for Attention to the Educational Community. The group of experts considers proposals and criteria, tracks the Plan’s implementation and decides on indicators to evaluate that implementation.Teacher-training experts committeeA specific committee was established to design an educational inclusion teacher-trai-ning programme. Sitting on this committee were university teaching staff, experts on