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Theories of Inclusion, Theories of Schools: Deconstructing and Reconstructing the 'Inclusive School'

Catherine Clark, Alan Dyson, Alan Millward and Sue Robson
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Apr., 1999), pp. 157-177
Published by: Wiley on behalf of BERA
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1501631
Page Count: 21
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Theories of Inclusion, Theories of Schools: Deconstructing and Reconstructing the 'Inclusive School'
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Abstract

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.

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