SCHOOL POLICY ANALYSIS 7
Theeducation sector operates within a set policy framework andguidelines. More often than not, these policies are set at thenational level, in which case they are pretty much generalized withregard to the results that they are supposed to elicit or produce.Essentially, it becomes imperative that policies are customized so asto ensure that the specific schools had the capacity to achieve theoverall outcomes, principles and aims of the government in neffective manner. This can only be achieved via policies that are areflection of the local communities’ needs. It is well acknowledgedthat there are numerous policies that are aimed at ensuring thatevery other child is capable of pursuing his or her academicaspirations and goals, as well as get an opportunity to growemotionally and socially irrespective of any disability that he orshe has.
Accordingto the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which was amended bySpecial Education Needs and Disability Act 2001, an educationalinstitution would be deemed to have discriminated against disabledindividuals in instances where it treats an individual less favorablythan it would treat others, based on his disability. In this case,the reason would not be applicable to the other individuals (Yell,2006).In addition, discrimination would take place in instances where theinstitution fails to demonstrate that the treatment being questionedwas justified. It is worth noting that, according to Section 28B (6)and (7) the less favorable treatment would be justifiable ininstances where it is based on permitted selection criteria or ininstances where the basis of the failure is not only material to thecase’s circumstances but also substantial (Welner&Chi, 2008).
TheDisability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005 endorses a number of ECMaims that ensure that every other vulnerable child is given an equalopportunity to thrive mentally, physically, as well as academically.This is particularly in the case of ECM’s aim of “Enjoying andAchieving” where educational institutions are required to ensurethat learning is customized and differentiated so as to safeguardindividual success and obtain optimal or maximum potential in thelearning environment (Russo&Osborne, 2008).This is also in line with the United Nations Conventions on the Rightof Children Article 23 which requires educational institutions toestablish policies and strategies that would allow children to enjoyschool, as well as achieve national expectations.
Essentially,educational institutions are prohibited from treating disabledstudents in a less favorable manner than other students. Indeed, theyare required to make reasonable adjustments so as to ensure that suchindividuals are not substantially disadvantaged. Further they arerequired to prepare or come up with accessibility plans thatdemonstrate the manner in which they will increase or enhanceeducation acquisition for the disabled students over the course oftime (Osborne&Russo, 2007).Of particular note is Section 28A of the Disability DiscriminationAct 1995, in line with the Special Education Needs and Disability Act2001, makes it unlawful for an education institution to discriminateagainst disabled individuals through the refusal or deliberateomission to accept admission application by the pupil to the school,the terms by which it commits to admit them as pupils, inarrangements that it makes pertaining to the determination ofadmission to the educational institution as a student (Rothstein&Johnson, 2010).In addition, it would be unlawful for the institution to bediscriminatory against disabled pupils with regard to the educationand associated services that are offered to students in theinstitution. Further, it is unlawful for the education body todiscriminate against individuals through excluding them from schoolwhether temporarily or permanently (Russo&Osborne, 2008).
Stillon this, Section 28 of this Act underlines the necessity foreducation bodies to take reasonable steps necessary to ensure thatwith regard to the arrangements made for determination of admissionof students to the institution or the education and associatedservices offered, the disabled individuals are not placed atsignificant disadvantage compared to the normal people (Murdicket al, 2002).It may be imperative that one acknowledges that the Act does notnecessitate that the responsible body alters or eliminates a physicalfeature such as one that emanates from the construction or design ofthe school premises or the resources’ location, neither is itrequired to offer auxiliary services and aids.
TheDisability Discrimination Act 2005, introduced the DisabilityEquality Duty in 2006, which gave public authorities includingschools and higher education institutions the general duty to promotedisability equality. Indeed, the Act came with regulations that gavepublic authorities a specific duty to establish and publishdisability equality scheme, with details pertaining to the manner inwhich disability equality was promote (Obiakoret al, 2010).In this regard, they have promote equality of opportunity between thedisabled and other people, encourage the disabled to participate inpublic life, get rid of harassment and discrimination whileencouraging positive attitudes towards disabled individuals, as wellas take fundamental steps that would allow for the achievement of thepeople’s needs even in instances where this necessitates morefavorable treatment (Rothstein&Johnson, 2010).
Ofcourse, the achievement of these objectives and pursuance of theselaws and regulations necessitates that all stakeholders play theirroles. Indeed, it is required that all teachers strive to ensure thatthe discrimination of the disabled students is averted. Teacherassistants play a crucial role in this as they assist in theestablishment of a co-operative and respectful working relationshipthat would safeguard the success of students that have special needs(Johnson &Redfield, 2012).More often than not the teachers who have students with special needsare required to undertake the design, supervision and assessment ofthe educational program that targets that student. The assistantswould not only assist in the development of the programs but alsopersonal care of the students and the disbursement of theinstructional materials. Further, they would advocate for theestablishment of conditions necessary for the educational success ofthe students with special needs, as well as the protection of humanand legal rights of these students and their families (Kaufman&Kaufman, 2005).More often than not, the disabled children have a hard time formingrelationships or rather being included in groups or even the school.Teaching assistants would go a long way in assisting in the promotionof the inclusion of children in the education institution and insupport of individual children who for a particular reason or anotherwould be incapable of forming good relationships and friendships withtheir peers (Boyle&Weishaar, 2001).For instance, they may assist in the promotion of inclusion of thesechildren with EAL through factoring in some time and expertise thatwould assist them in language. They may also offer their support tochildren in groups that may otherwise be separated from the childrenby offering propping up their social skills, thereby allowing for theenhanced inclusion of the children in the mainstream work.
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