The Integral Role of an Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) in our Setting


In this edition of the LINC blog, LINC Tutor and owner of Footprints Early Years, Racheal Govan describes the integral role the INCO plays in her settings. She shares her firsthand experiences and insights into how the LINC Programme has empowered her team to foster inclusivity and support all children in her settings.



In my role overseeing two early years’ services, catering for children from preschool age up to afterschool age, our mission is to continually improve our environment to better support the children and families we serve. From the outset, we’ve proudly championed inclusivity, providing unwavering support to numerous families with children having complex needs. At the core of this commitment lies the recognition of the invaluable role played by our staff and the transformative power of equipping them with the tools and knowledge to champion inclusion.

The LINC Programme emerged as a beacon of opportunity, offering a pathway for our staff to embark on a journey of growth and discovery in inclusive education. Having graduated from the LINC Programme myself in 2018, I understood first-hand the profound impact it could have on our practices and, more importantly, on the experiences of the children and families we serve.

Last year marked a significant milestone as I had the opportunity to send one teacher from each of my settings to engage with the LINC Programme. The decision was driven by a deep-seated belief in the potential of our staff to become catalysts for change within our community. Despite initial apprehensions and varying levels of experience, their eagerness to participate was palpable and served as a testament to their dedication to our mission.

As these teachers delved into the programme, I witnessed a remarkable transformation unfold. They navigated through the modules with confidence and agility, seamlessly integrating their newfound knowledge into our practices. What began as a professional development opportunity soon evolved into a catalyst for organizational growth, sparking a cascade of inclusive initiatives that permeated every aspect of our services.

From the perspective of an Owner/Manager, the benefits of the LINC Programme for our staff are manifold. Firstly, it has empowered them with a deeper understanding of inclusive practices, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to meet the diverse needs of every child in our care. This newfound confidence has not only elevated their individual practice but has also fostered a culture of collaboration and support within our team.

As the sole INCO for a significant period of time, I embraced the responsibility of being the primary source for strategies and ideas regarding inclusive practice. However, with the emergence of two empowered INCOs within our team, this role has evolved into a collaborative effort, enriching our collective expertise and strengthening our commitment to inclusivity. The LINC Programme has not only expanded our capacity to support children with diverse needs but has also enriched our community immeasurably.

Furthermore, the LINC Programme has strengthened our partnerships with parents, providing our staff with the tools and resources needed to effectively communicate and collaborate with families. Armed with a deeper understanding of resources such as the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), our staff have become trusted allies for families navigating the complexities of inclusive education.

Looking ahead, the additional funding allocated for next year fills us with optimism, signalling further growth and development in our inclusive practices and resources. With two more dedicated INCOs poised to join our ranks, the future is brimming with possibilities.

In conclusion, the LINC Programme stands as a beacon of opportunity for Owner/Managers seeking to empower their staff and elevate inclusive practices within their settings. From fostering a culture of collaboration and support to equipping staff with the tools and knowledge needed to meet the diverse needs of every child, the programme has the potential to catalyse transformational change that resonates far beyond the confines of our classrooms. As an Owner/Manager committed to nurturing inclusivity, I wholeheartedly endorse the LINC Programme as a catalyst for organizational growth and a testament to the unwavering dedication of our staff to the children and families we serve.

Pictured (left to right): Sophie Kirwan, Racheal Govan (Owner/Manager) and Amy Rooney.

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