Inclusive Learning – Giving Every Child Their Chance
At Ipswich Academy, we work hard to ensure every one of our pupils has the tools and support they need to be able to learn in the same manner as their peers.
Often inclusive learning is seen as something solely for children with special educational needs. While this is certainly part of it, inclusive learning is far more – it is a practice which includes everyone.
Also, there is often some confusion between the terms inclusive learning and integrated learning. Integrated learning, where students with and without disabilities all learn in the same classroom can be very effective, and where this is the case then we will work to provide it. However, in other cases integration can actually be a barrier to learning. For instance, deaf students engaging in certain exercises may be better off away from the main class in a space that is acoustically suitable, enabling them to access the work in a more helpful environment.
We approach inclusive learning by looking at the individual needs of every child at our school. These can be academic, and often are, but we also examine other factors such as independence, resilience and attention skills. There are often other barriers to learning to consider, including social, gender and economic issues. This holistic approach allows us to see the whole picture, and from there we are able to take positive action and provide the most effective support.
Ipswich Academy has a large team of Learning Mentors, with at least one assigned to each year group. They are on hand for pastoral support and to try and ensure all students succeed. Mental health can be a big factor in learning ability, and so we have a wide range of mental health support on offer, including mental health first aiders and regular counsellors.
Students with high needs are timetabled to our Support Centre with bespoke, small class lessons on a range of subjects, in a nurture environment. We provide students who have the highest needs with 1-1 or 1-2 tuition with our dedicated Learning Mentor, Jane Fison, who works with them on a range of life skills, to develop them as a person and prepare them for adulthood, alongside accessing core subjects.
Much of the support we provide is done from within our school, however if we feel we don’t have the right resources to give the most effective support we will use external specialists, such as Teenage Mental Health. We also work closely with other schools in the Trust, regularly meeting to discuss what is happening, and to share best practice and expertise, which can then be applied successfully in the individual schools.