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Innovations in Inclusive Education to suport the upcoming Inspection Framework

Innovations in Inclusive Education to suport the upcoming Inspection Framework

Innovations in Inclusive Education to suport the upcoming Inspection Framework

Published on: 31 Oct 2022

Innovations in Inclusive Education to suport the upcoming Inspection Framework
 
 
A question on the tip of principals’ tongues across the Emirates revolves around Inclusive
Education and how we can make it better. With the new Inspection Framework under
development that boasts a full Performance Standard dedicated to Inclusion.
 
A recent article in the Journal of Educational Administration speaks about Principals'
perspectives of inclusive education.
Asking the question: “how can we develop and embed a true ethos of inclusivity that is no
longer a task, separate to the mechanics of the educational machine, but rather, an integrated
feature that flows like the life blood of academics and learning.”
 
The paper found that “certain structures are needed when planning how to develop mutual
values when organising an inclusive school”.
It addresses the need to engage and encourage all stakeholders to commit and carry out the
necessary changes to consecrate an inclusive repertoire in the school. These insights are
particularly pertinent in the Emirates now as we continue to build on the solid foundation of
the past 5 years of development in inclusion.
 
It was found that an integral ingredient of building inclusivity is building concrete, lasting
change in key stakeholders of the organisation or school. This, it found, could be achieved by
building, driving and maintaining stakeholder buy - in. At Inlcuzun we consistently seek to
engage organisations, schools and research facilities to seek out what is working and what is
not in the UAE landscape which informs our training and support for school improvement and
inspection prep. Continuous feedback drives constant innovation and development.
 
John Kotter, Harvard professor and change management expert, created a theory of change
management focused primarily on the people involved in the organisation and their
psychology. With schools being such complex structures, a focus on people is paramount.
 
Kotter’s change management theory involves 8 steps to creating meaningful and long-lasting
change in any organisation, namely:
1. Create a sense of urgency to motivate people
2. Build your change team with leaders and change agents of various skills and
departments
3. Define your strategic vision for what you want to accomplish
 
4. Communicate with everyone involved in the change management process to get them
on board and make sure they know their role
5. Identify roadblocks and address anything causing friction
6. Create short-term goals to break your change management plan into achievable steps
7. Keep up the momentum throughout the process of implementation
8. Maintain the changes after the initial project is complete
 
By implementing a structured approach, one that is people focused (like Kotters) it was found
that all stakeholders were strategically engaged at every level and inclusive practice was greatly
improved.
This engagement effect is reflected further in a case study of change management in the NHS
(National Health System, UK) (Bamfod & Daniel, 2007) where Kotter’s model proved effective in
building a shared ethos and core value system. This was initially driven top down but became
embedded and practiced from the bottom up.
 
Research suggests that schools, like many complex organisations, need both top down and
bottom up support in driving change.
As da Vinci said- “we need to learn how to see that everything connects to everything else”.
In April 2020 an article in the Journal of Inclusive Education delved into the bottom up drive of
inclusive education. Focusing on how instructional leadership affected teachers ability to
operate in a fully inclusive manner.
 
This research focused on developing an isolated single practice or tool which has ripple effects
to drive momentum for changes in inclusive practice.
In this paper, principals took the Individual Education Plan IEP as a tool to lever changes around
inclusion.
Using a targeted approach, they engaged all stakeholders and upskilled the whole staff,
external practitioners and parents around the effective use of this single tool.
This approach was found to have a significant impact on perceptions of inclusive practice and
ultimately on student participation and success in class.
The Kellogg school of change management adds clear steps to achieving success through this
type of focused project, namely;
? Begin by assessing the alignment between the school’s strategy and structure to
motivate for change.
? Evaluate whether the school’s social networks (including all stakeholders) are fostering
execution and innovation of this focused change.
? Balance different organisational structures and allow for both execution and innovation.
? As the project unfolds, iterations and developments may call for slight adjustments and
calibration.
? Constantly implement tactics to increase strategic agility and estimate any resilience
encountered.
? Assess each speed bump as it arises and address them incrementally.
? Gradually build sustainable change.
So how can we take all of this research and convert it into something meaningful and useful for
a school?
 
As principals, we get caught up in the day to day running of a school and rarely have time to
step back and implement large scale structured programmes BUT taking the time to design and
deliver an evidence based programme can change the whole trajectory of a school for the
better.
To make change manageable we can emulate the research. Focus on a single tool, like the
“Incluzun One Page IEP” and build a whole school plan of action around it. Focus on improving
one key feature of practice that can impact all academics. This helps to narrow the lens and
zoom in on a single manageable set of actions. These actions are streamlined, clear cut,
measurable and, hopefully, easier to manage than a more complex, large scale approach.
Success is not an accident; it comes from hard work and effort but we do not need to reinvent
the wheel every time we tackle a messy problem.
 
By looking to the research, tried and tested
methodologies, we can have a much greater chance of success.
 
 

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