Our story

The Inaura charity was originally founded with a clear objective to make school exclusion redundant as a management tool.  The strategy we adopted to achieve this was based on research carried out in New Zealand, the USA, and Canada. We called it community-based inclusion

 

We were able to set up high level meetings with the Improving Behaviour and Attendance Team at the Department of Education to share the outcome of our department-funded action research projects in Slough and Sutton, as well as data gathered by Professor Carl Parsons, who is one of Inaura's founding trustees. 

 

In 2003 The Department invited us to provide a training day at Sanctuary Buildings for the whole IB&A Team. At this meeting we introduced managed moves as an alternative to exclusion as a management tool. We also made key proposals about voluntary steps schools might take to work together.  Our primary visual aid was Total Inclusion – the movie.

 

Since 2004, when the Department began to recommend managed moves, exclusion rates have fallen steadily and continuously to about one third of their peak level.  The education culture has moved in the direction of much better support for marginalised children.

 

Meanwhile, as a charity, 11 of our first 12 grant applications were successful. However, we recognised that an enduring charity must have revenue (repeat, regular) funding and for us this meant providing services to the education community. Our project in Somerset had run successfully for 3 years to promote change and we had become known as an organisation which could provide educational support for children as a ‘last resort’; children for whom the next step was residential schooling.

 

As our numbers grew we saw the opportunity in 2007 to establish Inaura School, based on non-coercive principles. We knew of only one other similar school in the UK, and none which took children with complex needs. Using our relational approach we developed a school model within which we did not attempt to coerce children into learning, and we replaced behavioural sanctions with a restorative approach.

 

Our school continues to grow in student numbers and in the quality of our programmes. We now have a therapeutic team, a social and pastoral care team, a teaching and learning team, a forest school centre, arts workshops and farm and animal care programmes. Our vision is to find a way to replicate our school wherever there is a need for us, which is everywhere.