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The year that the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994) was signed was the year I began teaching initial teacher education classes in inclusive education. Those early classes were part of stand-alone subjects, focused more on teacher actions than the students who were ‘included’. Fast forward twenty-three years and Jeanette and I have just guided the launch of eight courses across early childhood, primary and secondary streams that bring together understandings about pedagogy, assessment and inclusion as core knowledge necessary for all initial teacher education candidates. Students, as gloriously individual learners, are securely at the centre of these subjects. Though some students remain marginalized, excluded and segregated from education with their same age peers, the rise of the children’s rights movement, greater attention to active citizenship and the incorporation of an ethic of care into school improvement, have meant that these same students are increasingly acknowledged as part of the solution necessary to transform educational systems. Accessing and then acting upon student voice has emerged, as this book illustrates, as a powerful tool for understanding and constructing inclusive school cultures. Such cultures are respectful of students’ rights, have a focus on the development of relationships that allow people to accomplish their goals, and build sustainable, caring environments that support the learning of all. Similarly, this book and the ‘welcoming voice’ of its chapters, invites readers to contemplate the interrelated themes of community, relationships, care and empowerment – in every classroom, every day, for every learner.

Student Perspectives on School

Informing Inclusive Practice



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