NEW guidelines have been released to ensure pupils with Down’s syndrome are being offered the best education in schools.
The Educational Guidelines document is the first of its kind in the world, and sets out exactly what teachers and institutions should be doing to improve the availability and quality of education for learners who have Down’s syndrome.
Gillian Bird, Services Director at The Down’s Syndrome Association and one of three authors of the guidelines, said: “The guidelines address the vital qualities necessary for inclusive education for all learners who have Down’s syndrome.
“Many families are frustrated by the slow rate of change towards inclusion for their children particularly within secondary and further education settings.
“Our helpline calls suggest that equality and inclusion is going backwards, with more barriers rather than less. Calls about moving from mainstream to special schools doubled last year. We may lose some of the wonderful opportunities that were given to adults (now in work and living in their local communities) through their inclusive education during the 2000s.”
The document is the culmination of best practice and learning over the last 30 years, and has been put into one document by Down Syndrome International (DSi).
Gillian added: “We expect the guidelines to be included in all teacher training courses. Inclusive education should be available for all learners, from all backgrounds and, although many learners who have Down’s syndrome have attended their local mainstream schools since the 1990’s, there are still many today who do not have this option.
“We are ready for a leap forward in practice so that inclusive education means everyone. The guidelines are bursting with information about how to educate learners with Down’s syndrome of all ages and abilities, covering leadership, teacher education and curriculum access.’
Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association, said: “We are really excited to see these guidelines published. It has been great to work with other organisations around the world to create this powerful resource towards greater inclusion of people who have Down’s syndrome.”
The Down’s Syndrome Association will be sending the guidelines to the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP, and asking him to consider adopting them as best practice throughout the country.
The Guidelines are available to download here
- Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. Around one in every 1,000 babies is born with Down’s syndrome.
- There are over 40,000 people who have the condition in the UK.
- Everyone who has Down’s syndrome will have some degree of learning disability.