British Columbia promotes an inclusive education system in which students with special needs are fully participating members of a community of learners. Inclusion describes the principle that all students are entitled to equitable access to learning, achievement and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their educational programs. The practice of inclusion is not necessarily synonymous with full integration in regular classrooms, and goes beyond placement to include meaningful participation and the promotion of interaction with others. (p.2) The teacher responsible for a student with special needs is responsible for designing, supervising and assessing the educational program for that student. Where the student requires specialized instruction, this is best done in consultation with resource personnel available, with the parents and with the students. Where the student’s program involves specialized instruction by someone other than the classroom teacher, collaborative processes are required to make best use of the expertise of the specialists available to assist and to ensure a coordinated approach. In secondary, where several teachers may be involved in the student’s program, coordinated planning is especially important. (p. 9, 10)
B.C. teachers believe in inclusion and have adopted a policy that every student is entitled to an appropriate education. Students with special needs have a right to access an inclusionary public education system which prepares them for full citizenship in a democratic society.
“All students in BC, including those with special needs, are entitled to receive a quality publicly funded inclusive education. A Ministerial Order directs students with special needs to be placed in regular classrooms as the first option. Research shows that when students are included in regular classrooms they make greater overall academic gains than do their peers with similar Abbotsford School District – Subject 2 disabilities in segregated classrooms 1. (KATZ AND MIRENDA, 2002) To ensure the success of inclusion, students must have the necessary supports to learn in the regular classroom and participate in school social activities. The benefits of inclusion extend to all students. Typical students experience gains on many fronts: opportunities for new learning, improved values and attitudes related to human diversity, more developed interpersonal skills, as well as greater maturity, self confidence and self esteem 2. (KATZ AND MIRENDA, 2002)