The Inaura charity was founded in 2002 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 we suggested to the Department that managed moves were an effective alternative to exclusion as a management tool. Since 2004, when the Department began to recommend managed moves, exclusion rates fell steadily until 2012.
Meanwhile, as a charity, 11 of our first 12 grant applications were successful. However, we recognised that an enduring charity must have revenue (regular) funding and for us this meant providing services to the education community. Our project in Somerset provided educational support for children as a ‘last resort’; children for whom the next step was residential schooling.
In 2007 we established an independent special in Somerset, based on non-coercive principles. 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.
In 2017 and the charity and the school decided to become two separate charities, so that the school could form a Governing body solely engaged in school governance, and the charity could continue to develop as a national organisation promoting children's well being and good mental health by applying a non-coercive ethos and developing education communities.
The charity's core project is the development of school management software for special education in collaboration with the Steiner Federation.