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Why it’s useful for you to join the Institute of Specialist Practitioners in Inclusive Education

In June 2002, the government Joint Monitoring Committee on Children, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, met for a status report briefing on the implementation of “Education White Paper 6 on Special Needs Education: Building an Inclusive Education and Training System”.

The policy was described by government as a “Radical departure from the traditional model of special education provision”1 that
Acknowledge[d] the failure of the education system to respond to the barriers to learning and development experienced by a substantial number of learners, including diverse learning needs caused by, for example, language, socioeconomic, or gender issues as well as disabilities.

At the briefing, chairperson Ms. H. I. Bogapane informed the committee that “A realistic time-frame of 20 years [was] proposed for the implementation of the inclusive education and training strategy”.

The enactment of Education White Paper 6 approaching

Now 2021 is nearing, and with it, will come the enactment of Education White Paper 6 on Special Needs Education.
Schools are readying themselves to be more accessible to all learners, but how do school management teams know that the staff they employ or engage as special needs coordinators, inclusive practitioners, specialist educators, facilitators or learner support specialists are suitably qualified, skilled and have valid expertise? How do budget holders determine the quality of inclusive practice training?
To screen for difficulties or disabilities and intervene effectively, the persons involved need skill and experience: these interventionists are more than the traditional ‘extra lesson teacher’ or ‘classroom facilitator’. As a school leader, an Institute of Specialist Practitioners in Inclusive Education (ISPIE)4 designation indicates that, within the field of inclusive education, professional peers have seen and acknowledged a valid qualification, and have also recognised prior learning or the experience of that individual in inclusive or specialised practice. An ISPIE member, even without designation, is likely accessing new information and updating his or her continuous professional development (CPD) by virtue of their ISPIE membership, which can only be a plus for the employer or client accessing his or her services. A training provider who partners with ISPIE will be offering quality training in the field, at a fair and negotiated price for ISPIE members.

What is ISPIE?

ISPIE is a voluntary professional body registered as a PBO, or Public Benefit Organisation with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). It comprises individuals who are health professionals, educators and other appropriately qualified and/or experienced persons working in the area of inclusive education. The professional body was launched in June 2015 at an open access conference that levied no cost to the delegates, and was confirmed in October 2015, at a general meeting of interested stakeholders from various sectors. Membership is open to individuals in the education, health and allied health sectors working in inclusive education across all age cohorts and education levels (from pre-school to tertiary institutions). Members must have an appropriate health or teaching qualification and at least one year of experience in the field. ISPIE does not offer qualifications, nor is it a statutory body.

“Schools are readying
themselves to be more accessible to all learners”.

The institute has the backing of Bellavista School5 in Johannesburg. Further, it enjoys the support of the Southern African Association For Learning and Educational Differences6 and the South African Council for Educators.

ISPIE goals
ISPIE aims to:
Develop, award and monitor relevant designations within its organisation in the area of inclusive education;
Promote CPD through the development of specialist designations and a progression plan therein;
Continuously update practitioners’ knowledge and skills through the promotion of quality talks, conferences and workshops offered by training providers;
Ensure that quality and ethical services are provided by its members through adherence to the code of ethics and continuous professional development;
Facilitate sharing and communication between practitioners and researchers via its website;
Maintain international links with similar professional bodies, research and training institutes;
Promote an understanding and recognition of barriers to learning;
Advocate and negotiate for the recognition of prior learning of members;
Support the development of contextualised inclusive education practices.

Member benefits
A 10% discount on all Bellavista “Share what we know; Help where we can; Advise and assist; Resource and equip; Educate others” (S.H.A.R.E.) resources, including training, including face-to-face workshops, conferences and seminars (, as well as the continuous professional development opportunities available via S.H.A.R.E: online (
A 10% discount on all Professional Minds training, including events in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg (
ISPIE awards professional designations to individuals working in the area of inclusive education that are appropriately qualified and experienced to undertake that work. Only ISPIE members are eligible to make an application for such a designation.
An annual newsletter including news relevant to inclusive education, recent research and other articles of interest.
Opportunities to earn Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)8 continuous professional development points by reading accredited articles and answering the relevant questions.
An online members’ area where articles pertaining to the field of inclusive education are regularly updated.
Complimentary access to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) journal readings and summative reviews,9 so that you can further your professional development with the latest research and information around specific learning disabilities.

Alison Scott is principal at Bellavista School in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

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Category: spring 2017

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News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

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