back to site

The Case for Inclusion - The Salamanca Statement

More than 300 participants representing 92 governments and 25 international organisations met in Salamanca, Spain in June 1994 to further the aim of ‘Education for All’. This was to consider what basic policy changes were needed to promote inclusive education so that “schools could serve all children, particularly those with special educational needs.

I hope that setting it out here will not switch you off. You need to read it to see the ideological content of the Inclusion policy. It is copied directly from on the Internet.

THE SALAMANCA STATEMENT: NETWORK for ACTION on SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION Adopted by the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality Salamanca, Spain, 7-10 June 1994 Organised by the Government of Spain and UNESCO, the Conference adopted the Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs Education and a Framework for Action. These two documents are important tools for efforts to make sure schools work better and to fulfil the principle of Education for All. They are printed in a single publication published by UNESCO. Get hold of a

copy from the UNESCO office in your country or from the address at the bottom of this page. When you are familiar with its contents, use the two documents to lobby your government for improvements in the education of disabled children and for inclusive education policies.

The Salamanca Statement says that:

  • every child has a basic right to education
  • every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs
  • education services should take into account these diverse characteristics and needs
  • those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools
  • regular schools with an inclusive ethos are the most effective way to combat discriminatory attitudes, create welcoming and inclusive communities and achieve education for all
  • such schools provide effective education to the majority of children and improve efficiency with cost- effectiveness.

The Salamanca Statement asks governments to:

  • give the highest priority to making education systems inclusive
  • adopt the principle of inclusive education as a matter of law or policy
  • develop demonstration projects
  • encourage exchanges with countries which have experience of inclusion
  • set up ways to plan, monitor and evaluate educational provision
  • for children and adults
  • encourage and make easy the participation of parents and organisations of disabled people
  • invest in early identifi cation and intervention strategies
  • invest in the vocational aspects of inclusive education
  • make sure there are adequate teacher education programmes

Phil Wills MP, former Lib Dem spokesman for Education, said in the Commons on 20 March 2001: “Working in Chapeltown in the late 1960’s convinced me that unless we could educate the whole community together - wherever they came from and whatever their needs and disabilities - frankly we would breed dysfunctional communities. It is a point of principle to me and my colleagues that inclusive education goes to the heart of the education system.” provides comprehensive information.