We have always operated an inclusion policy with regards to SEN, but today we received a complaint from a head teacher. The head thinks we should award a level 2 certificate and badge regardless of outcomes met to kids with SEN just to keep them happy and so that they don't feel different when they get a level 1 badge instead of a level 2.
It was explained that we judge everyone the same and plenty of kids don't meet level 2 outcomes and get a level 1 badge and if we make a exception then the level 2 award becomes meaningless and parents might mistakenly think their child is capable of riding safely on the road.
The head was angry and accused us of not being inclusive and that SEN's should meet a different criteria for training to get the award.
Just wondering if other schemes have had experiences like this? What's everyone's opinion should children with special needs meet different outcomes?
Thanks for your feedback.
Absolutely agree with your decision on this. We try to encourage schools to let us know in advance if they have children in the group with special requirements. All too often the information is not forthcoming until we turn up on the day to deliver. These children should attract Pupil Premium funding so it's worth suggesting that the school could use some of this to put some extra resource into the training. An extra instructor or two so that they can work in smaller groups, or perhaps an additional one to one session in advance of the main training date? Ultimately though it the child simply doesn't understand the dangers on the road or isn't capable of making safe decisions, then sending them home with a certificate that says they do is asking for trouble, and potentially even legal action from a parent should the worst happen. How a headteacher cannot see this is beyond me to be honest.
Perhaps, if you have not already done so, you could make available an explicit policy or other information about how you make reasonable adjustments in line with the published advice on the Bikeability website?
I don't think kids with SEN should meet different outcomes, but the instructor should be able to use their discretion and common sense. I trained a girl with Downs Syndrome who could ride perfectly well, understood and dealt with hazards and understood when and why to give way. She could look around her and meet all level one and two outcomes, but her signalling was incredibly wobbly; although she could ride one handed, sticking her arm out was the issue. She was desperate to ride to school (a one mile journey on exceedingly quiet rural roads) with a friend who could signal and so they rode together. She rode at the front and made all the decisions and the friend did the signalling if it was required. Two years on, she is still riding and able to signal. After a chat with the teacher and with a carefully worded certificate, I was happy to give her her level two badge back then and I feel it was justified.
I think this problem is not with the issue of SENs it with the issue of 'Inclusion' .
I have had a number of schools that think children should be included in road training at level 2 when they are not judged by an instructor as safe to progress. This comes from the mistaken impression that schools can somehow browbeat an instructor using the: 'We have a fully inclusive school policy in force at or school' argument. It is also borne out of grey areas within Bikeability that indicate that 'Taking Part' is the main criteria in issuing a certificate as it states this on the certificate. We need to think about this and let head teachers know within our procedures that some children will not progress to road training due to ability.
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