The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.
The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Transforming education for children with disabilities: Wide endorsement to Statement for Action on inclusive education for Global Disability Summit


A Statement of Action on Inclusive Education, drafted at a workshophosted by the Impact Initiative at the REAL Centre, University of Cambridge, has been signed by 31 donor agencies, international NGOs, research organisations and global education networks.

You can download the full Statement of Action below: 


Endorsed by organisations such as DFID, UNICEF, and the Global Campaign for Education, Sightsavers, Light for the World, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Camfed and others, the statement promotes a shared vision for a world where persons with disabilities have ‘equal access to quality inclusive education, which is differentiated to support their learning needs and learning outcomes across each stage of the learning cycle and enables them to lead a fulfilling and independent life’.

The Statement reflects a global commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals, which have placed a spotlight on the importance of improving access to inclusive, quality education for individuals with disabilities. This is crucial given that a large proportion of those out of primary school are children with disabilities.

On July 23rd and 24th 2018 DFID, alongside the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) hosted the first Global Disability Summit in London. With Government Ministers, high level Private Sector and UN Officials, as well as a range of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and disability rights activists in attendance, it is hoped the Summit will raise global attention on disability inclusion and mobilise new global and national commitments, ensuring the rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion for all persons with disabilities.

Important progress has been made in the decade since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But more needs to be done if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be realised – including advancing inclusive quality education for people with disabilities.

The Statement of Action was created with key input from ESRC-DFID funded researchers whose projects provide evidence on what governments must consider in order to ensure that children with disabilities benefit from quality education without discrimination or exclusion. The research projects have been undertaken in collaboration with Southern-based research organisations, Disability People’s Organisations and Civil Society partners. Key messages are reflected in the Research for Policy and Practice: Disability and Education.

The statement outlines five interlinked actions that can help achieve transformational education for children with disabilities. These are:

  1. Generate and use robust data and evidence for inclusive planning, programming and for ensuring accountability.
  2. Develop, train and support a professional education work force that responds to inclusive education and encourages teachers with disabilities into the profession.
  3. Achieve targeted financing and ensure national systems promote the implementation of inclusive education.
  4. Reduce barriers to inclusion by adopting a cross-sectoral and life course approach.
  5. Involve people with disabilities, their families and Disabled People’s Organisations in partnership with development actors to further the inclusive education agenda.

Ian Attfield, Senior Adviser for Teaching and Learning in DFID’s central Education Policy team reflecting on the Statement of Action noted, “This has helped shape key messages and principles to inform and shape Disability Summit 2018 with respect to the theme on inclusive education and considers the development of a collective and sustainable platform for disability and education that will aim to keep disability on the global agenda beyond 2018.”

Principles underpinning the Statement of Action have contributed to the Global Disability Summit 2018 Charter for Change, the principal legacy document of the summit. The Charter for Change calls for widespread commitments on a range of themes critical to achieving real change for persons with disabilities; including a call for actions that will advance inclusive quality education for people with disabilities. It further commits to ‘Gather and use better data and evidence to understand and address the scale, and nature, of challenges faced by persons with disabilities’.

In support of the Summit’s Charter, the Impact Initiative has pledged to promote and disseminate evidence which focuses on both barriers and solutions for addressing the education of children with disabilities; and to create spaces where policy makers, practitioners and researchers can identify synergies and collaborations to find effective ways to get children with disabilities learning. On-going work of the Initiative is committed to helping strengthen the dissemination and uptake of evidence on disability and education, as noted in the reflections from a range of policy shapers and influencers on how best to access, use and communicate research.  

While the Summit is a notable commitment, its legacy will be determined by the impact it has on improving the lives of persons with disabilities. An important step forward, as recognised in the Statement of Action is not only to generate robust data, both quantitative and qualitative in nature, but also to make it accessible to a whole range of stakeholders to help them make informed decisions. This is a central vision of the Impact Initiative’s continued work in this field. 

Engage during the Global Summit via social media

The Global Disability Summit is an exciting opportunity to interact with current and future partners to share learning and explore new opportunities. Participate and engage with discussion at the Summit, or online by using the #Policies4 hashtag to promote messages about disability and education, and follow us on Twitter @The_Impact_Init