Index for Inclusion (I4I)

The Index for Inclusion is a set of materials to guide schools through a process of inclusive school development. It is about building supportive communities and fostering high achievement for all staff and students.

Your school can use the Index to:

  • adopt a self-review approach to analyse their cultures, policies and practices and to identify the barriers to learning and participation that may occur within each of these areas.
  • decide their own priorities for change and to evaluate their progress.
  • use it as an integral part of existing development policies, encouraging a wide and deep scrutiny of everything that makes up a school's activities.
  • The Index takes the social model of disability as its starting point, builds on good practice, and then organises the Index work around a cycle of activities which guide schools through the stages of preparation, investigation, development and review.

Go to the Index of Inclusion Website Following the Index for Inclusion conference held at the Avisford Park Hotel on 27th April 2017, participating schools were invited to be part of a pilot programme for West Sussex to enhance and improve inclusive practice across the county.

Index of Inclusion in West Sussex

Delegate evaluations from the event have underpinned the proposal for how the pilot may operate.

We are delighted that 65 schools registered interest in the Index for Inclusion pilot.

Having reflected upon the interest, we would like to offer the following proposals for the implementation of the Index for Inclusion Pilot:

  1. Schools work in cross-phase clusters agreeing commonalities, sharing best practice and building capacity. In this case, the pilot would vary from cluster to cluster to meet local need and offer a varying perspective enabling comparative analysis of the implementation process and associated impact for wider roll out in Year 2. This would enable all interested schools to be part of a pilot programme and ensure greater coverage and potential Year 1 impact.

  2. We build a county-wide collaborative model which will be focussed and consistent in its approach to implementation and select a clear and focussed aspect of the Index to ensure manageability and impact evaluation. This would enable pilot schools to share learning, celebrate and share successes and work though issues to prevent barriers, while developing a collective strategy for future wider roll-out in Year 2. Links with the proposed Area SEND Partnership Boards will be developed.

Securing parental and pupil voice across all aspects of school life in participating schools and challenging peers and colleagues will be key, regardless of the methodology selected.

Operational practice: Roles:

Local Authority:

  • The local authority will identify an Index for Inclusion lead and designate / train LA Index Supporters.
  • All information concerning the proposed programme will be communicated to schools by the end of the summer term 2017.
  • The lead adviser will:
      - chair 4 Area meetings with all interested parties during the first 2 weeks of September 2017.
    • chair termly Area and 3x termly Cluster meetings.
    • deliver CPD to link advisers within the School Improvement team during Terms 1 & 2 who could, once that team is at full capacity, take ownership of clusters in their areas and continue support at local level.
    • may broker additional support from advisers within LBAT/EMTAS teams.
    • work with each cluster; help to formulate intended cluster outcomes and monitor action plans, and will act as facilitator offering advice and support with school activities.
    • meet with all clusters 3 times per term and act as chair/coach/mentor. Clusters will share and celebrate evidenced outcomes and discuss progress and /or issues at these meetings
    • facilitate collation & distribution of a newsletter on a termly basis following the termly Area meetings.
    • host, with support from other advisers who have begun working with clusters, a celebration of outcomes ‘Equity for All’ Conference which will be held in the latter part of the Summer Term 2018 where all schools/communities involved in the pilot will be represented.


    • All schools interested in taking part in the programme will be asked to send a representative to one of four meetings in their respective Areas during the first 2 weeks of September 2017. Ideally before the initial Area meeting, each school will identify a lead member of staff who will become the cluster link and school community ‘champion’.
    • Schools will be asked to work in clusters within Areas. These clusters will be largely identified from the list of interested schools. (schools may choose to work within or outside of localities if they wish - geography may determine this). Working in these small identified clusters thereby allows for additional nearby schools to opt in at a later stage and is most practical for communication/networking
    • Schools will also be asked to work cross-phase where the geography dictates. This will enable greater variety and fertilisation of ideas
    • During the 1st Area meeting, using the Index 4 Inclusion, clusters will decide their priority/ies and agree area/s of focus and potential outcomes for Terms 1-2. Whereas a whole school focus on a single priority will yield the most positive results, if cluster schools agree, identification of intended outcomes for year groups or classes may suffice. Clusters may wish to add another focus/foci as work progresses. Schools wishing to ‘join in’ part way through the process, will be able to do so but will have to follow the agreed focus of their cluster.
    • Clusters will be asked to draw up an action plan with the support and help of the lead adviser, who will ‘hold’ the plans, monitor progress and keep them up to date. Clusters will decide upon the best method/s for measuring successful outcomes. Use of the Index will facilitate this.
    • Back at participating schools, school ‘champions’ will chair an initial meeting with their whole school community, explaining their Index for Inclusion focus/expectations/activities.
    • Schools will be expected to release their ‘champion’ 4 times per term to attend the Cluster & Area meetings and share practice and outcomes and contribute to the ‘Equity for All’ newsletter.
    • All those participating in the Index for Inclusion pilot will be able to share practice through a Virtual Learning Environment hosted by the University of Chichester.

    Suggestions of foci/starting points for discussion:

    • Ofsted documented comments from parents/pupils/school community
    • Developing resilience of whole school community
    • Improving schoolwide relationships
    • Anti-bullying
    • Inclusive pedagogy
    • Feeling visible, respected, valued and welcome


    60 schools, working in 7 Clusters across West Sussex are currently involved in collaborative School Improvement research & development activities using the INDEX for INCLUSION to:

    “Improve outcomes for all children and adults working in schools and settings by putting inclusive values into action and disconnecting action from excluding values”


    Participants are using the Index for Inclusion as a toolkit of ideas & support in order to help them a) reflect on current school practice and behaviours and b) to assist in highlighting areas requiring improvement that link to existing whole school development plans and school improvement priorities.

    Clusters are working on common themes, building collaborative networks and sharing best and emerging practice. Much excitement and energy has been generated and after 3 cluster meetings, things are beginning to take shape and schools are already reporting impact due to changes they have made this term in a wide variety of ways.

    Clusters have chosen a variety of foci from the Index materials for research & development activity:

  • Creating inclusive cultures –Staff and children respect each other
  • Orchestrating Learning - Children are actively involved in their learning
  • Building Community - Parents & carers are fully involved with their children’s learning
  • Developing independence & resilience
  • Establishing inclusive values - Expectations are high for all children
  • Developing the school for all – staff expertise is known and used
  • Organising support for diversity - Barriers to attendance are reduced
  • Personalising learning

    Download the Newsletter here

    Download the Index for Inclusion Year 1 report here