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The Inclusion Illusion

How children with special educational needs experience mainstream schools

Rob Webster

ISBN: 9781787356993

Publication: July 04, 2022

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Inclusion conjures images of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) learning in classes alongside peers in a mainstream school. For pupils in the UK with high-level SEND, who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (formerly a Statement), this implies an everyday educational experience similar to that of their typically-developing classmates. Yet in vital respects, they are worlds apart.

Based on the UK’s largest observation study of pupils with high-level SEND, The Inclusion Illusion exposes how attendance at a mainstream school is no guarantee of receiving a mainstream education. Observations of nearly 1,500 lessons in English schools show that their everyday experience of school is characterised by separation and segregation. Furthermore, interviews with nearly 500 pupils, parents and school staff reveal the effect of this marginalisation on the quality of their education. The way schools are organised and how classrooms are composed creates a form of ‘structural exclusion’ that preserves mainstream education for typically-developing pupils and justifies a diluted pedagogical offer for pupils with high-level SEND. Policymakers, not mainstream schools, are indicted over this state of affairs. This book prompts questions about what we think inclusion is and what it looks like. Ultimately, it suggests why a more authentic form of inclusion is needed, and how it might be achieved.

Praise for The Inclusion Illusion

'This timely book presents clear challenges to the limits placed on progress for children with SEND in mainstream schools. It stands alongside calls, back to Warnock’s vision of every teacher being a teacher of SEN, for an end to “exclusion within inclusion”. It urges us to develop all staff to fulfil their roles with pupils with SEND. Acknowledging the value of TAs, it urges schools to ensure children who most need a teacher, get the teacher. Based on rigorous research, it rightly calls for bravery. For honesty. For action.'
Professor Maggie Atkinson, Safeguarding consultant, adviser and leader, and Children’s Commissioner for England (2009–2015)

'This is an important and valuable book which … has the potential to improve the educational experiences of pupils with significant learning and related difficulties. It combines an insightful account of the many issues and difficulties surrounding inclusion with a rigorous analysis of the outcomes and implications of large scale empirical work.'
Professor Paul Croll, University of Reading

'I love this book! It tackles the structural challenges of inclusion head on and sets out what must change to create a fairer future for children with SEND. This is essential reading for all evidence-led school leaders, teachers and policymakers who believe in better.'
Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Policy Specialist, Association of School and College Leaders

'Rob Webster has deepened our understanding of how mainstream schools fail to address the needs of children with SEND. Distilling the crucial insights from years of work, he has thrown down a challenge to policymakers that for many children with SEND, simply having a mainstream placement is not the same as inclusion. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in what needs to change to ensure better futures for children with SEND in mainstream schools.'
Brian Lamb OBE, Visiting Professor of Special Educational Needs and Disability, Derby University

"This book brilliantly demonstrates the kind of education children with special educational needs in mainstream classroom, with the legal entitlement of an  Education, health and care Plan actually experience. Despite talk of inclusion the classroom settings and organisation ensure that the children are excluded and marginalised from actual mainstream teaching. The over- use of Teaching Assistants, however well intentioned, is no substitute for the attention of qualified teachers. There is a separation in mainstream classes that ensures  that inclusion is indeed an illusion.  The book should be read by all teachers, parents and policy makers who care about the education of all children, not just those who are regarded as 'typical' or non-problematic."
Professor Sally Tomlinson PhD FRSA

Rob Webster is a Reader in Education and the Director of the Education Research, Innovation and Consultancy Unit at the University of Portsmouth.

List of tables and boxes
Glossary
About the author
Acknowledgements
Foreword
Paul Croll

1 Introduction
2 Methodology and sample
3 The extent of separation and segregation
4 The effects of separation and segregation
5 Pedagogical diet
6 Operational confusion
7 Conclusions
8 Future research directions

References

"This book brilliantly demonstrates the kind of education children with special educational needs in mainstream classroom, with the legal entitlement of an  Education, health and care Plan actually experience. Despite talk of inclusion the classroom settings and organisation ensure that the children are excluded and marginalised from actual mainstream teaching. The over- use of Teaching Assistants, however well intentioned, is no substitute for the attention of qualified teachers. There is a separation in mainstream classes that ensures  that inclusion is indeed an illusion.  The book should be read by all teachers, parents and policy makers who care about the education of all children, not just those who are regarded as 'typical' or non-problematic."
Professor Sally Tomlinson PhD FRSA


 

This timely book presents clear challenges to the limits placed on progress for children with SEND in mainstream schools. It stands alongside calls, back to Warnock’s vision of every teacher being a teacher of SEN, for an end to “exclusion within inclusion”. It urges us to develop all staff to fulfil their roles with pupils with SEND. Acknowledging the value of TAs, it urges schools to ensure children who most need a teacher, get the teacher. Based on rigorous research, it rightly calls for bravery. For honesty. For action. Professor Maggie Atkinson – Safeguarding consultant, adviser and leader, and Children’s Commissioner for England (2009–2015)

This is an important and valuable book which … has the potential to improve the educational experiences of pupils with significant learning and related difficulties. It combines an insightful account of the many issues and difficulties surrounding inclusion with a rigorous analysis of the outcomes and implications of large scale empirical work. Professor Paul Croll – University of Reading


I love this book! It tackles the structural challenges of inclusion head on and sets out what must change to create a fairer future for children with SEND. This is essential reading for all evidence-led school leaders, teachers and policymakers who believe in better. Margaret Mulholland – SEND and Inclusion Policy Specialist, Association of School and College Leaders

Rob Webster has deepened our understanding of how mainstream schools fail to address the needs of children with SEND. Distilling the crucial insights from years of work, he has thrown down a challenge to policymakers that for many children with SEND, simply having a mainstream placement is not the same as inclusion. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in what needs to change to ensure better futures for children with SEND in mainstream schools. Brian Lamb OBE – Visiting Professor of Special Educational Needs and Disability, Derby University


 
'Rob Webster has deepened our understanding of how mainstream schools fail to address the needs of children with SEND. Distilling the crucial insights from years of work, he has thrown down a challenge to policymakers that for many children with SEND, simply having a mainstream placement is not the same as inclusion. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in what needs to change to ensure better futures for children with SEND in mainstream schools.'
Brian Lamb OBE, Visiting Professor of Special Educational Needs and Disability, Derby University
 
'I love this book! It tackles the structural challenges of inclusion head on and sets out what must change to create a fairer future for children with SEND. This is essential reading for all evidence-led school leaders, teachers and policymakers who believe in better.'
Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Policy Specialist, Association of School and College Leaders
 
'This is an important and valuable book which … has the potential to improve the educational experiences of pupils with significant learning and related difficulties. It combines an insightful account of the many issues and difficulties surrounding inclusion with a rigorous analysis of the outcomes and implications of large scale empirical work.'
Professor Paul Croll, University of Reading
 
'This timely book presents clear challenges to the limits placed on progress for children with SEND in mainstream schools. It stands alongside calls, back to Warnock’s vision of every teacher being a teacher of SEN, for an end to “exclusion within inclusion”. It urges us to develop all staff to fulfil their roles with pupils with SEND. Acknowledging the value of TAs, it urges schools to ensure children who most need a teacher, get the teacher. Based on rigorous research, it rightly calls for bravery. For honesty. For action.'
Professor Maggie Atkinson, Safeguarding consultant, adviser and leader, and Children’s Commissioner for England (2009–2015)
 

Format: Open Access PDF

130 Pages

Copyright: © 2022

ISBN: 9781787356993

Publication: July 04, 2022

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