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Theories of inclusion, theories of schools: Deconstructing and reconstructing the 'inclusive school'

Lookup NU author(s): Catherine Clark, Alan Millward, Emerita Professor Sue Robson


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The Government's recent commitment to inclusive education aligns English policy in special needs education with the international inclusion movement. One of the founding assumptions of that movement is that mainstream schools can and should develop structures and practices which will allow them to respond more fully to the diversity of their pupil populations. This article reports a study of four comprehensive schools seeking to develop in this more inclusive direction. It finds, however, that their attempts were beset by difficulties and ambiguities which call for an explanation. It considers, and finds inadequate, accounts within the literature in terms of theories of educational change, theories of inclusive schools and micro-political theories. These accounts, it argues, need to be supplemented by a perspective which sees responses to diversity as being beset by dilemmas arising from contradictory imperatives within mass education systems. Such a dilemmatic perspective suggests that movement towards inclusive schooling is likely to be more problematic and more complex than we have supposed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robson S; Clark C; Millward A; Dyson A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Educational Research Journal

Year: 1999

Volume: 25

Issue: 2

Pages: 157-177

Print publication date: 01/04/1999

ISSN (print): 0141-1926

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3518

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/0141192990250203


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