I was at a primary school, supporting an initiative based on the Index for Inclusion
(indexforinclusion.org) to help young people develop ‘values literacy’. They were choosing from a range of headings for inclusive values, and illustrating some of those words, onto a ‘values shield’. It was a Year 2 class engaged in a lovely activity which I had been invited to join. The teacher said to me: “I’ve split the values into groups for our lower ability and higher ability children”. The ‘low ability’ children were illustrating ‘love’, ‘joy’ and ‘trust’, while the ‘high ability’ children were illustrating ‘compassion’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘non-violence’. As a visitor with an eye to encouraging the activity, and the school’s wider participation in the initiative, I felt I had to bite my tongue at that point – but my heart sank to see inclusive values divided up and allocated in this way. Developing skills in spotting the gaps between the ideals and reality was at the heart of the initiative.

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