04 SES 11 F, Putting Inclusion at the Heart of the Quest to Address the Poverty-Related Attainment Gap
The poverty-related attainment gap is an internationally recognised problem (Gomendio, 2017; OECD, 2017, 2018; Parsons, 2016). It resides within a culture of performativity (Ball, 2003; Solomon & Lewin, 2016)deriving from social and economic drivers external to the school environment and is sustained by neo-liberal economic forces and elitist structures (Parsons, 2016)which promote a culture of individualism (Cooper & Mulvey, 2015). One in five children in rich countries live in relative income poverty;one in three European children are deprived in two or more ways; adolescent mental health issues are becoming more common; and, even in the highest-performing nations, one in five fifteen-year-olds do not reach what are regarded as basic educational standards (UNICEF Office of Research, 2017). The disparities in attainment between children who are most and least disadvantaged remain relatively constant over time and have a lasting impact on life opportunities (OECD, 2018; UNICEF, 2010; UNICEF Office of Research, 2017; Slee, 2018a). Yet, both with regard to international and national policy discourses, there is little recognition that a quest for inclusion should lie at the heart of addressing the poverty-related attainment gap, despite some scholarship that argues that this should be the case (e.g. Florian, Black-Hawkins & Rouse, 2017; West, Ainscow,, Wigelsworth & Troncoso, 2017, Mowat, 2019). Further, understandings of inclusive practice in OECD documentation (highly influential in framing national policy) are restricted (Mowat, 2018).
It is important to recognise intersectionality as a key aspect of the structures and cultures disadvantage. Within the Scottish context, around 1/3rdof children living in the lowest decile of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation have been identified as having additional support needs and/or are Looked After Children. Of these, the most represented category are children with social, emotional and behavioural needs (Scottish Government, 2016). The focus of this roundtable discussion is to explore the poverty-related attainment gap from a range of international perspectives and to examine the relationships between poverty and the quests for equity and inclusion.
Three presentations – from Scotland, from Australia and from Greece- will explore the above phenomenon from a range of different international perspectives as a stimulus for discussion, examining the implications for policy, practice and the research community. The Scottish contribution will focus on an exploration of the impact of social inequality and poverty on the mental health and wellbeing and attainment of children and young people in Scotland. The Australian contribution will direct its focus to the designation of failure and disengagement as a mental health issue (Rose, 2019). It will also highlight that while the discourse of inclusion saturates education policy, programmes and practices, exclusion is expanding and deepening (Slee, 2018b). Greece will focus on inclusive education policy during the period of economic crisis. The vague and under doubt vision of inclusive education policy in Greece during thedebt crisis is a contemporary example in which political statements and decisions in favour of inclusion seem to be stripped from their pretexts.
The key arguments forwarded within this roundtable discussion are that the poverty-related attainment gap needs to be understood in its full complexity and from a multi-disciplinary and international perspective. The challenges facing schools in addressing it cannot be separated from the socio-cultural, economic and political context in which schools reside. Exploring the ways in which children living in poverty can be marginalised, identifying and addressing the barriers to their full participation in school life and recognising that the quest for inclusion should lie at the heart of addressing the poverty-related attainment gap are all key aspects of addressing the problem.
Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2), 215-228. Cooper, B. S., & Mulvey, J. D. (2015). Connecting Education, Welfare, and Health for American Families. Peabody Journal of Education, 90(5), 659-676. doi: 10.1080/0161956X.2015.1087776 Florian, L., Black-Hawkins, K., & Rouse, M. (2017) Achievement and Inclusion in Schools, 2nd edition, London: Routledge. Gomendio, M. (2017). Empowering and Enabling Teachers to Improve Equity and Outcomes for all International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Paris: OECD. Mowat, J. G. (2018). 'Closing the Gap': Systems Leadership is no leadership at all without a moral compass – a Scottish perspective. School Leadership & Management. doi: 10.1080/13632434.2018.1447457 Mowat, J. G. (2019). Exploring the impact of social inequality and poverty on the mental health and wellbeing and attainment of children and young people in Scotland Improving Schools, 1-20. doi: 10.1177/1365480219835323 OECD. (2017). Trends Shaping Education Spotlight 8: Mind the Gap: Inequity in Education Trends Shaping Education. Paris: OECD. OECD. (2018). Equity in Education: Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility. Paris: OECD Publishing. Parsons, C. (2016). Ethnicity, gender, deprivation and low educational attainment in England: Political arithmetic, ideological stances and the deficient society. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 11(2), 160-183. Scottish Government. (2016). School Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education. Rose, N. (2019) Our psychiatric future. Cambridge, Polity Press. Slee, R. (2018a) Defining the scope of inclusive education. Think piece prepared for the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report - Inclusion and Education. Paris, UNESCO, https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265773 Slee, R. (2018b) Inclusive education isn’t dead, it just smells funny. Abbingdon, Routledge. Solomon, Y., & Lewin, C. (2016). Measuring ‘progress’: performativity as both driver and constraint in school innovation. Journal of Education Policy, 31(2), 226-238. UNICEF. (2010). The children left behind: A league table of inequality in child well-being in the world’s rich countries, Innocenti Report Card 9 Innocenti Report Card 9. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence. UNICEF Office of Research. (2017). Building the Future Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries Innocenti Report Card 14 (Vol. 14). Florence: UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. West, M., Ainscow, M., Wigelsworth, M. & Troncoso, P. (2017), Challenge the Gap: Evaluation report and executive summary, London: Education Endowment Foundation.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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