From September 2021, we developed and ran a UK-wide research & advocacy project on ‘Inclusive Education’, what it means and how it can be implemented. We worked with the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA - England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Down's Syndrome Scotland (DSS). This project was a pilot study with the aim of using the processes, resources and materials developed to have a positive impact on other education systems around the world.

This project ended in July 2022.

Now, the Down’s Syndrome Association have their own project building on the learnings of the original project. They will be sharing knowledge and resources to support inclusive education.

Inclusive Education for all learners, including those with Down syndrome.

We, DSi, DSA and DSS, believe the split education system (mainstream/special schools) in the UK doesn't offer the best education to learners - 'disabled' or 'non-disabled' - or staff. Though we do recognise that education professionals are working very hard within the existing system.

Through this project and beyond, we are advocating for long-term system change towards ‘full’ inclusion.

We encourage teaching staff to welcome neuro-diverse learners into their settings with the knowledge that everyone will benefit if it is done effectively, as part of a whole school culture of inclusion and belonging.

We understand that including learners with learning disabilities fully is a challenge for teachers and policymakers and that they need adequate support, resources, funding and training.

Ultimately, for society to be more inclusive, education needs to reform, although education cannot bear the full responsibility for this change.

Research and advocacy campaign.

We surveyed and spoke directly with stakeholders about their experience of the UK education system.

Stakeholders included people with Down syndrome, their families, education professionals and policymakers. 

Our research identified many frequently asked questions, plus areas where knowledge can be shared.

From January 2022 we ran a campaign to raise awareness and advocate for long-term system change:

  • We shared weekly key messages on the subject of Inclusive Education for all learners, including those with Down syndrome.
  • We distributed concise answers to FAQs, by professionals and people with lived experiences, including self-advocates.
  • We provided training and materials to enable supporters to undertake their own advocacy campaigns.

All of this can be found on the DSA website via the link below:

DSA website

What is next?

The DSA is now building on the original project to both highlight existing resources and to develop new resources to support teachers, SENCOs, school leaders and people who have Down’s Syndrome and their families.

They have created an Education Project page to share the latest resources and information about education. You can visit this page and sign up to receive all the latest via email:

DSA Education Project

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