Inclusion

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NCSE (2011) described inclusion as a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of learners. It involves removing barriers so that each learner will be enabled to achieve the maximum benefit from his/her schooling.

Schools with strong inclusive cultures are characterised by:

  • A positive ethos and learning environment whereby all pupils, including those with special educational needs, feel welcome and experience a sense of community and belonging
  • An emphasis on promoting pupils’ participation and active engagement in their learning and in the life of the school
  • A commitment to developing pupils’ academic, social, emotional and independent living skills
  • A focus on high aspirations and on improving outcomes for all pupils

Inclusive Education Framework

Educate Together

Educate Together has over 40 years experience of providing a unique, inclusive and equality-based school ethos. The Educate Together model is founded on a legal commitment to parents, staff and children to run schools based on equality and respect. Our core values, as set out in the Educate Together’s Charter, are:

Equality-based

All children have equal access to the school and no one religion or worldview is given priority over another within the school.

Co-educational

All children are encouraged to explore their full range of abilities and are provided with equal opportunities regardless of their gender or identity.

Child-centred

Our child-centred approach means that we put children at the heart of all policies and practices and involve them in decision-making where appropriate.

Democratically-run

We run schools on a democratic basis, encouraging active participation by parents and students in the daily life of the school whilst positively affirming the professional role of the teachers.

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Student Councils

Democracy and democratic values are a core part of what an Educate Together school is all about. Educate Together schools are run as participatory democracies, with respectful partnership between students, parents and school staff. This means that all members of a school community are supported and encouraged to make meaningful contributions to decision-making. A key part of a democratic school community is its Student Council.

A Student Council is a representative structure for students, through which they can become involved in the affairs of the school, working in partnership with school management, staff and parents for the benefit of the school and the students.

Student councils at primary level

The aim of the Student Council at primary level is to provide students with greater involvement in the decision making procedures of their school and to help them learn about how democracy works. Generally two children from each class are elected by secret ballot and are appointed as representatives for their class to the council for the duration of the school year. Infant classes tend to be represented by two elected pupils from 6th Class. Children in the senior classes can run campaigns asking their fellow students to vote for them ahead of the election.

Student Councils generally meet several times each term. These meetings are facilitated by a teacher with council representatives collecting ideas and suggestions for the agenda from each class ahead of each meeting. Suggestions are then discussed, prioritised and are brought to the attention of the school’s principal and to staff meetings. In Educate Together Primary Schools Student Councils have been responsible for a number of positive changes in their respective schools, such a 6th Class-Junior Infant Buddy System, fundraising for new sports equipment and a campaign to install a zebra crossing outside the school.

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