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Teachers and other educators often work in isolation, lacking support and struggling to meet the needs of all their learners. They have few opportunities to share any good ideas they develop. Similarly, parents and families may be unaware of the support or services available for their children. Communication and collaboration is therefore essential in inclusive education – and inclusion champions can help facilitate this.
The school inclusive education coordinator (IECo) is an inclusion champion. This is a voluntary role and the IECo is a member of the SIT.
Overview of the IECo role
helps manage and encourage the SIT’s activities;
co-ordinates inclusion-related activities;
promotes inclusion across the school community;
brings people together to address inclusion challenges; motivates collaboration with parents, caregivers, families, the wider community and other interested stakeholders;
focuses on improving teaching and learning across the school, to promote presence, participation and achievement of all learners in all subject areas and learning groups.
An effective school IECo is not necessarily a special educational needs (SEN) specialist.
Specific IECo activities
Activities in school
Build capacity and sensitise school management, teachers and other school staff.
Ensure school planning is more inclusive.
Assess physical environment for accessibility.
Advise teachers on making specific resources.
Provide training on inclusive classroom strategies.
Enhance partnership between school and community.
Observe and assess individual learners.
Organise focus group discussions for both teachers and learners.
Suggest activities for a whole-school approach to inclusion.
Activities in the community
Raise awareness at community level.
Build partnerships between school and community.
Visit homes of specific learners when necessary.
Attend local meetings.
Make referrals for services available locally – for example, medical or rehabilitation assessments.
Identify local skills and materials that could be used in schools – for teaching aids, etc.
Train local volunteers to identify out-of-school learners.
Arrange specialist training for parents and carers when required.
Activities with the Ministry of Education at district level and at policy level
Attend local council meetings to raise awareness and ask about available funding.
Raise awareness in the media – local radio and newspapers.
Attend planning meetings to ensure that all plans are inclusive.