Our modern European societies are characterised by diversity: diversity of social background, of origin, of language, of potential. This diversity must be embraced and accommodated if we are to create more inclusive, cohesive and stable societies that can meet the needs of all their citizens.
This need, to accept the diversity of Europe’s citizens, extends into Europe’s schools and the diverse range of learners’ support needs must be embraced to allow all students to flourish. The OECD states that almost one-fifth of students may develop a special educational need during their schooling years. The most recent global estimate of disability prevalence from the WHO asserts that between 93 million and 150 million children live with disability. In its "Disability Statistics", Eurostat underlines that persons with disabilities leave school earlier and are twice as likely to be NEETs.
With these trends in mind, inclusive education must be a founding principle of any education system at all levels, to enable all learners, regardless of their support needs, to fulfil their full potential. Despite the large amount of International and European legislation supporting the right all children have to an inclusive education, most notably the United Nation’s (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 24) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 28), the realisation of fully inclusive education systems is yet to happen across Europe.
The ‘To Inclusive Education and BEYOND’ conference will bring together key stakeholders to explore how we can work together to support the transition towards inclusive education across Europe. Touching on issues, such as staff training needs, the role of support service providers, the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation and need for adequate policy frameworks, the conference will address the key challenges and opportunities for the inclusion of all learners in mainstream schools as well as promote promising practices in the field of education.
Held in partnership with EASPD, CECD Mira Sintra and the BEYOND project, the European Conference ‘To Inclusive Education and BEYOND’ will:
- Take stock of the impact of COVID-19 on the education of learners with disabilities and lessons learnt;
- Bring together all stakeholders, including service providers, learners with disabilities, teachers, parents and local authorities, to discuss the way forward for inclusive education;
- Share promising practices and innovative tools for the achievement of inclusive education and the training of social care and support service staff;
- Together build on EASPD’s 2015 Salzburg Declaration to develop key recommendations for the achievement of inclusive education.