An inclusive school culture and school policy requires a whole-school approach. The Index for Inclusion (2011) offers clear indicators of this culture and policy and supports schools in their self-review of these aspects.
According to the European Toolkit for Schools, an inclusive school culture and school policy requires a whole-school approach.
“The whole-school approach Involves addressing the needs of learners, staff and the wider community, not only within the curriculum, but across the whole-school and learning environment. It implies collective and collaborative action in and by a school community to improve student learning, behaviour and wellbeing, and the conditions that support these.” (UNESCO)
This approach sees schools as collaborative learning environments. The whole school community including parents and families, together with external stakeholders, take responsibility for helping all pupils to develop in the best possible way. In doing so, The Whole School Approach from Ireland is seen as a way of developing a corporate culture based on shared values and vision, creating an inter-professional approach to supporting the needs of pupils and improving engagement in collective and individual reflection. These initiatives are developed and implemented in cooperation with other education sectors and cooperation partners. Indicators of whether an inclusive school culture and policy is being developed are listed under A and B. By policy we mean the national policy strategies, the regional policy with cooperation partners and the policy in the school.
An inclusive culture is a place and context where all teachers, pupils and other staff can find community in the concept of diversity. There must be an infusion of diversity practices throughout the educational institution. The school must create an inclusive culture with inclusive values and norms, and an open climate in which all pupils are welcome (Emmers et al., 2017).
The Index of Inclusion (2009) is a model listing indicators for creating inclusive cultures, policies and practices. For this question in our Guide for coaches, we focus on culture and policy.
2. Establishing inclusive values where
The 'Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools' (2011) is a set of materials to support the self-review of all aspects of a school, including activities in playgrounds, staff rooms and classrooms and in the communities and environment around the school. It encourages all staff, parents/caretakers and children to contribute to an inclusive development plan and put it into practice. The three dimensions are one of the cornerstones the project is based on. In order to realize inclusive education, there must be a certain sense of urgency at the following levels: practice, culture and policy (see index of inclusion Booth and Ainscow, 2011; Emmers et al., 2017).
The Index of Inclusion (2011) lists the following indicators for developing an inclusive school policy:
2. Actively securing diversity
By having a questionnaire filled in by several people from the same school, it is possible to find out how inclusive the school policy is.