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Legislation to support SEN inclusion

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Within the UK there are many laws and acts that are important for inclusion in education. These include The Equality Act (2010), The Human Rights Act (1998) The SEN Code of Practice (2015). In Australia, there is The Disability Discrimination Act (1992). In Finland, there is The Basic Education Act (1998). In Kenya, there is The Basic Education Act (2013). The list could go on and on, but it’s important to know that in multiple countries around the world there is legislation to support SEN inclusion.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 is “a milestone document in the history of human rights” (UN.org). This was devised when representatives from all over the world came together to set out a list of fundamental human rights. It is made up for 30 Articles representing each human right. Some of these human rights include; the right to life, liberty and security of person, no one shall be held in slavery or servitude, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and everyone is equal before the law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations. The Majority of countries obey these human rights. However, countries such as Libya, North Korea and Sudan are deemed abusers of the human rights. All three of these countries do not have equality in educational rights which goes against article 26, everyone has the right to education and article 1, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is important within education and inclusion as the first article within the declaration states “Everyone has the right to education” (article 26). This is important as it proves that anybody no matter their race, gender, physical and mental health, everybody has the right to be in education. Another important article within The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. (article 1).

These two articles state that everyone is equal and everyone is entitled to an education. Therefore, it can be interpreted that SEN inclusion in mainstream schools is highly important.


In 1994, UNESCO along with the Government of Spain held the World Conference on Special Needs Education. Within this conference, there were 300 participants who were representatives of 92 governments and 25 international organisations. This is where they devised The Salamanca Statement. The Salamanca Statement was formed over the agreement that every child with a disability or special education needs should have the opportunity to be in education, and that inclusion should be the “norm”. The believed that every child is unique in his or her learning needs and that education systems should be designed to cater for all of these needs. It was important to them that children with special educational needs would have the opportunity to go to mainstream schools if they wished and that mainstream would be able to meet the needs that any child had. This was where it was decided that all schools should have the provisions for all children, special educational needs or not. The Salamanca statement states that they recognise how important it is for those with SEN to be within the mainstream educational system. It declares that;

“The education system should be designed and educational programmes implemented to take into account the wide diversity of these characteristics and needs”.

The Salamanca Statement states that mainstream schools that introduce SEN inclusion are the most likely way to overcome discrimination.

The statement said that the priority areas were early childhood education, girls” education, preparation for adult life and adult and continuing education. These four areas are important as they are often overlooked and are extremely important

PISA 2015

In 2015 PISA conducted a survey of over 540,000 students (15 years of age) from 72 countries. This survey focused on science with reading, mathematics and collaborative problem solving. PISA is a programme that every few years conducts a worldwide study to assess student acquisition of key skills and knowledge that they have obtained throughout their “compulsory education”.

From the results of the 2015 PISA, it was found that in performance of science, reading and mathematics, South Korea had a mean performance/ share of top performers above the OECD average. However, in the results for science beliefs, engagement and motivation, it was found that South Korea had values below the OECD average. In the results of equity in education, it was found that South Korea was above the OECD average.

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