For me it’s simple. At preschool, every child matters. We do our absolute best for every single child who wants to attend our setting or we are no kind of setting at all. Whatever your take on inclusion, I’m sure you feel the same. It’s not about whether you want to do your best, it’s more about what you actually think is best. And what our setting thinks is best is that every child is welcome and we will adapt our provision to help them attend. Our setting is tiny, we have 24 spaces and 19 children on roll at the moment. As a small provider, and with the application of sufficient time, effort and resources, it is possible for us to be completely inclusive. We can anticipate needs, put staffing in place, adapt our provision. We can meet parents, plan ahead, get specialist help in place. Of course things are much more difficult in large schools, because there are more children, with more challenging needs, so you have to scale it up and that isn’t easy or cheap.
Segregation is less a suggestion than a reality within our system. We already have church schools, private schools, postcode purchasing and all kinds of ways in which we separate out our children at an early age. But for our setting it is not about the adaptations that we have to make for children with SEND, as though they were some kind of separate species. At preschool it is very simple. Either we do what we do for everyone, or we are saying that no child matters at all.