The Advisory Board on English Education (Commission de l’éducation en langue anglaise) has published its brief to the Minister entitled Special Education - Inclusion and Integration in the Classroom.
The Commission wanted to explore the perceptions and the reactions of the people involved in and affected by the implementation of the Ministry’s Policy on Special Education in English-language primary and secondary schools and to learn directly from them to what extent this implementation is working and which difficulties they encounter. The Commission met with various participants and observers including administrators of school boards, teachers, pedagogical consultants, resource teachers, staff working in schools for the handicapped, a human-rights lawyer, associations working with students with physical and intellectual handicaps and a university dean.
The principles underlying the Policy on Special Education are not questioned by those working in the field; however, serious questions are raised about its implementation concerning, for example, the training of teachers and the support they receive in the classroom, the finance rules for the education of “at-risk” students, the resources committed by the school boards which have a large number of special needs students, the situation of adult education students with special needs and the preparation and the implementation of Inclusive Education Plans.
The Commission makes recommendations, which, in the opinion of its members, are likely to make the policies of integration of special needs students more effective.