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Special Interest Group

Inclusive Education

The SIG provides a forum for critical discussion about all aspects of inclusive education. Our concerns are with the substantive, methodological and ethical aspects of research into inclusive policy, practice, pedagogy, culture and environments.  Our interests are international in scope and span formal and informal education, as well as the compulsory and pre- and post-compulsory sectors. A real strength of the SIG is the diversity of its membership, which comprises researchers, together with policy makers and practitioners, who are interested in promoting and using high quality research in this broad field of study.  Some have come to researching inclusive education from backgrounds in special education or disability studies, while others have come to study inclusive education in the broadest sense of inclusion meaning everybody. These diverse perspectives and interests bring a vibrancy to our discussions and encourage us to challenge ourselves and others in the pursuit of understanding and developing education which is more inclusive. SIG aims Our aims are to:

  • support researchers in developing their theoretical and empirical understandings of the field of inclusive education;
  • develop an active network of researchers together with policy-makers and practitioners whose work focuses on this field;
  • encourage critical thinking on the development of inclusive learning environments;
  • stimulate developments in inclusive research approaches;
  • engage in debates around shifting national and global political agenda relating to the development of inclusive education.

SIG events Past Inclusive Education SIG events have included a seminar, in conjunction with the Research Methodology in Education SIG, on ‘Researching Pupil Voice: Issues of Participation and Inclusion’, and a conference on ‘What is Inclusive Pedagogy?’ More recently, a conference at the University of Stirling was organised jointly with the Philosophy of Education SIG, to explore what might be understood by a ‘Philosophy of Inclusive Education’. Papers arising from this conference are to published in December 2014 as a Special Issue in the Cambridge Journal of Education. Our latest event, held at the University of Cambridge, was entitled ‘Changing Legislation and its Radical Effects on Inclusive and Special Education: Perspectives across the Four Nations of the UK’. Each of the four speakers (Dr Jean Ware, University of Bangor, Wales; Professor Sheila Riddell, University of Edinburgh, Scotland; Dr Ron Smith, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland; Professor Brahm Norwich, University of Exeter, England) have kindly agreed for their presentations to be made available to SIG members, please see the documents on the right. A brief write up of this hugely successful day conference can be found in BERA’s Research Intelligence, Summer 2014. We are also delighted that the editors of the British Journal of Special Education have accepted a proposal for a special edition based on the conference for their December 2014 issue. We aim to continue with a portfolio of similar events, sometimes in collaboration with other SIGs, that stimulate discussion and foster networks. We very much welcome ideas from SIG members about future events.