A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Great efforts are being made to get all primary age children into school and to complete primary education as part of the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All (EFA). This has not included disabled children, especially in less developed countries. The first barrier arises from long-held ideas that locate the problem in the child and their impairment, rather than recognising that it is society’s own response to the impairment that needs to change. Negative attitudes based on traditional thinking still act as a big social barrier. In many parts of the developed North, segregation in separate special schools of pupils with special educational needs or poor attempts at integration have left disabled children and students not achieving their potential. The alternative is to engage in the transformational process in schools that is the development of inclusive education. Too often this approach has been generalised so that the transformations necessary to include disabled children and students with the full range of impairments, and to meet their access and support needs, have not been given sufficient weight. There are a growing number of examples that do include disabled children and students in education. However, the fundamental transformative thinking that is necessary to complete this process is often missing

Author Richard Rieser. He is a disabled teacher who taught for 25 years in primary, secondary and further education. He worked as an Advisory Teacher for Inclusion in the London Borough of Hackney. Until 2009 he was the Director of Disability Equality in Education (DEE), an NGO that provided training and resources for inclusion. Richard currently runs World of Inclusion Ltd. He was Chair of the Alliance for Inclusive Education (1990–2002). He is the author of Disability Equality in the Classroom: A Human Rights Issue, Altogether Better, Invisible Children, Disabling Imagery, All Equal All Different, disability equality in education course books and numerous articles. He has collaborated on several television programmes, including Channel 4’s Count Me In (2000). Making It Work: Removing Disability Discrimination (2002), was a collaboration between DEE and the National Children’s Bureau. Richard has produced three DVDs for the UK Department for Education and Science on ‘reasonable adjustments’. He produced a DVD, Developing Inclusive Education in South Africa (2008). He was a member of Equality 2025, a panel of disabled people who advise the UK Government (2006–2010). He led a project on bringing disability into the school curriculum for the UK Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2010). He has been on various government advisory committees since 1992 and a member of the SEN Disability Tribunal since 2002.