must set aside the possibility of simple answers, and emphasise
the complexity of the interplay between inclusion and achievement
but also the semantic confusion around the term inclusion.
There are four levels or aspects of inclusion; i) increasing
the presence and decreasing the exclusion of potentially
marginalised pupils including those with special educational
needs of various kinds, ii) increasing social, curricular
and learning participation, iii) increasing achievement
and iv) enhancing life chances.
balance of perceived advantages and disadvantages of inclusion
in anecdotal evidence from teachers is about equal. The
key positive factor seems to lie in favourable teacher attitudes
towards inclusion. Exploring perspectives on difference
in learners, we find that the most helpful of these is that,
equity is the way to excellence - that by raising
the quality of what is done in schools for exceptional or
different children, the overall quality of education
for all pupils is also raised.
evidence suggests that there is some (not overwhelming)
learning and social gain in inclusive schooling for pupils
with SEN and that other pupils in these schools tend to
do well. Good quality research had shown that, modes of
communication aside, different children do not
require significantly different teaching, they respond to
intensive high quality ordinary teaching. Given
the enormity of separating children from their peers and
the clear evidence that youngsters who are excluded for
disciplinary reasons do very badly thereafter and have impoverished
life chances, the balance of evidence seems to be in favour
of inclusive schools.
do have some provisos. It seems that inclusive schools do
best when their population broadly represents that of the
general population and does not have disproportionate numbers
of pupils requiring intensive support. This holds problems
for schools in areas of greater disadvantage.
my current research in some English schools and my awareness
of developments in Scotland, suggest that well-led, thoughtful
schools with good staff relationships, enhancing school
ethos, and identifying imaginative routes to engage and
motivate pupils, are definitely heading in the right direction.
Overall, I believe that in such schools the twin aims of
being more inclusive and of raising pupil achievement are
from Alan Dysons keynote conference address. Alan
is Professor of Special Needs Education and Co-director
of the Special Needs Research Centre at the University of
Newcastle upon Tyne.
Professor of Special Needs in Education
University of Newcastle
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone : 0191 222 6943
Joseph Cowen House
School of ECLS
University of Newcastle
St Thomas' Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
Alan Dyson taught for 13 years in urban secondary and special
schools. He joined the University in 1988, organising in-service
activities regionally and nationally and developing the
research profile of the School in special needs education.
He has been co-director of the Special Needs Research Centre
since its inception, was until recently Director for Research
in the School and is a member of the University Research
Committee. At national level, he is a member of the National
Education Research Forum and has been a member of the National
Advisory Group on Special Educational Needs throughout its
lifetime. He is regularly invited to give keynote presentations
and to work with policy bodies internationally.