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The National Curriculum statement on inclusion
A boy sitting in a chair smiling
                  and looking up

Teachers should aim to give every pupil the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible.

National Curriculum

The National Curriculum inclusion statement (DfEE/QCA 1999) is not just a moral imperative. It is a statutory obligation on educators to enable all children in their charge to fulfil their potential. Communication is fundamental to this.

Communication and inclusion

Communication is the medium of learning. Children will be disempowered, and educators will not be compliant, if they do not provide programmes to support communication development in children with SLD/PMLD/CLDD, for whom the essential rudiments are not in place.

Ensure all staff in your school have read the QCA documents Developing Skills: Planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties (2001) and English: Planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties (2001), from which the following are adapted.


QCA Developing Skills


QCA English

The three inclusion principles
Setting suitable
to children's
Overcoming potential barriers to learning
and assessment for individuals and
groups of children
Implementing the inclusion principles (1)

Communication is central to enabling all children to learn within an ethos where they know they are valued, and feel secure and accepted. Inclusion does not just refer to the location where children
are taught.


The National Curriculum's three principles are applicable to all classrooms everywhere and need to be used together to make sure that teaching
is inclusive.

Inclusion is not just an issue for children with SEN in mainstream education. In a special school, the issue will be how children with PMLD or CLDD are included within the main cohort.

Implementing the inclusion principles (2)
A boy in a specialist chair smiling
                  with his teacher

The three inclusion principles are the starting point for a checklist for teachers for supporting children's curricular entitlement through learning experiences that are relevant and meaningful – at times it will be necessary to offer a highly personalised and specialised learning context for the child with SLD/PMLD/CLDD.


It is important that teaching styles take account of communication strategies for the child, both in order for them to understand, and to be enabled to express their knowledge and skills.

Do you emphasise communication?

Does your school environment show a high emphasis on communication across the curriculum?


Are all schemes of work and planning tools incorporating aspects of communication/literacy?

Is there consistency with regard to communication for individuals across the curriculum?


Does all teaching consistently reinforce and extend pupils' knowledge and understanding by putting the development of communication skills at the heart of the learning process?


Is the range of teaching and learning strategies used across the school sufficient, relevant and interactive enough to ensure pupils are engaged and enjoy their learning?

A poetry lesson (1)

Watch this clip, in which a deputy head and a teacher talk about the importance of a rich communicative environment.


Note the centrality of communication and strategies used. The teacher has endeavoured to find the foundations for literacy: an interactive approach, using multi-sensory learning styles; the importance of the social context; and the importance of recapturing early interactive formats (basic patterning and joint attention).

  • Poster
A poetry lesson (2)
girl chooses image

How is the lesson featured in the video compliant with the requirements of the National Curriculum inclusion mandate?


What personalised communication objectives do you think are also being addressed?


Can you explain the choice of teaching and learning strategies?


Do your school policies and practices promote literacy across the curriculum?

Find out more
opened book

DES (2003) Excellence and Enjoyment: a strategy for primary schools. London: DfES.