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A summary of the evidence for Inclusive Education:
Click here for a summary of the international evidence for inclusive education published in August 2016.
In this report we sought to identify research that demonstrates the benefits of inclusive education not only for students with disabilities, but especially for students without disabilities, since evidence of benefits for the former is already widely known. This report is the result of a systematic review of 280 studies from 25 countries. Eighty-nine of the studies provide relevant scientific evidence and were synthesized and summarized below.
There is clear and consistent evidence that inclusive educational settings can confer substantial short- and long-term benefits for students with and without disabilities.
Benefits of Inclusive Education for ALL Students:
Click here for Summary PDF of very recent US research on the benefits of inclusion for disabled learners AND the benefits (or at least no negative effects) for typical learners.
Students without disabilities made significantly greater progress in reading and math when served in inclusive settings. (Cole, Waldron, Majd, 2004)
Students who provided peer supports for students with disabilities in general education classrooms demonstrated positive academic outcomes, such as increased academic achievement, assignment completion, and classroom participation. (Cushing & Kennedy, 1997)
No significant difference was found in the academic achievement of students without disabilities who were served in classrooms with and without inclusion. (Ruijs, Van der Veen, & Peetsma, 2010; Sermier Dessemontet & Bless, 2013)
Kalambouka, Farrell, and Dyson’s (2007) meta-analysis of inclusive education research found 81% of the reported outcomes showed including students with disabilities resulted in either positive or neutral effects for students without disabilities.
Time spent engaged in the general education curriculum is strongly and positively correlated with math and reading achievement for students with disabilities. (Cole, Waldron, & Majd, 2004; Cosier, Causton-Theoharis, & Theoharis, 2013)
Students with intellectual disabilities that were fully included in general education classrooms made more progress in literacy skills compared to students served in special schools. (Dessemontet, Bless, & Morin, 2012)
Students with autism in inclusive settings scored significantly higher on academic achievement tests when compared to students with autism in self-contained settings. (Kurth & Mastergeorge, 2010)
The 3 Myths of ‘Special Education’:
Very interesting article with thoughts for parents – Click here to read the full article
The Journey to Inclusive Schooling: Advancing school transformation from within
By Gordon L. Porter and David Towell – Click here to read the document in full
The publication of “Keys To Inclusion” by Colin Newton and Derek Wilson:
Available NOW from our store.
You can download the first chapter FREE here.
“The Keys to Inclusion book is revolutionary and indeed a Bible for the inclusion movement, I hope people professing to be inclusive read it carefully and then put that into practice, The world will be such a more simpler and better place if that happens!”Quote from a Parent – Feb 2011
Why do Finland’s School’s get the best results Internationally?
Is it the three teachers in every class? One of whom works with anyone who is struggling.
That they believe and practice ‘mixed ability’ teaching?
That all teachers have MAs?
That they encourage TRUST?
Is it because pupils do less school hours?
Is it that they recognise that diversity in the classroom leads to acceptance of difference?
Inclusion in Italy
Integrazione Scolastica in Italy
A Compilation of English-Language Resources
Michael F. Giangreco – University of Vermont
Mary Beth Doyl – St. Michael’s College
Italy has a long history of placing students with disabilities in general education classes, referred to as integrazione scolastica. Since Italy relies less on special education schools and classrooms than many other similarly developed countries, its practices and policies continue to be of interest internationally. Following introductory information, this compilation of English-language resources about integrazione scolastica is divided into four main parts: (a) a glossary of terms, (b) a timeline of events, (c) an annotated bibliography (2000-2012), and (d) key lessons learned. It also includes three appendices: (a) a bibliography of earlier resources on integrazione scolastica (1987-1999), (b) a bibliography of related resources (1991- 2011), and (c) Italian and European web sites pertaining to integrazione scolastica, inclusive education, and disability.
“An Inclusive Education Guide for Professionals” provided by the Professional Partnerships for Inclusive Education.
“The Professional Partnerships for Inclusive Education project was set up to create opportunities for professionals to meet and work with disabled learners and families to have a better understanding of the practices of inclusive education in different countries; what the barriers are; and to identify solutions to make inclusive education a reality for ALL. It was also set up so that professionals would gain a greater understanding and broader experience of what is possible to develop inclusive education practice across all partner countries and beyond…
A key outcome for the project was to develop a guide to increase the understanding and confidence of professionals to support the transition from segregated education to inclusive education. This guide includes information and good practice from each partner country about the current barriers to inclusive education and solutions for overcoming these barriers. This information could be used to increase a wider understanding of the benefits of inclusion across all areas of society. The guide will also include information about the legal International and European frameworks which support inclusive education…”
Download a copy of the document here.
Visiting Schools in Bologna, Italy
In May 2010 a group of people from the Netherlands and Colin Newton and his son Louis from Inclusive Solutions the UK led by Trix Grooff travelled to Bologna, Italy and visited two middle schools, one 3-5 year old school (scuola maternal) and two primary schools, one of which was in Rimini, over the course of 3 days. Follow the link for impressions and comments based on the observations made and the interviews with staff across the schools. They are limited by the short period of time and by working through a second language but are still very interesting for anyone interested in approaches to inclusion across Europe.
The Bias to Inclusion
Is there any statistical backing for ‘the bias to inclusion’ SEN policy of the Coalition Government, towards disabled children and those with special educational needs in the English education system?
Read this document by Richard Rieser for some interesting answers.
Check out this unequivocal quote in the TASH Journal Spring 2004 from Mary Falvey – Professor at California State University in LA:
“Since (1977) hundreds of rigorous research studies have been undertaken to determine the effectiveness of integrating and including students with severe disabilities. As a result of a comprehensive review of the extant literature by myself and my colleagues, we were unable to identify even a singleresearch article that that found that segregated service delivery models are more effective than integrated models for students with severe disabilities.”
Click here to read this great paper about the values of inclusion.
Gail McGregor and R. Timm Vogelsberg 2000:
A synthesis of the literature that informs best practices about inclusive schooling. This is really useful and will bring you speedily up to date with key research in the field Pub by Paul Brookes Co. Baltimore. Paul Brookes are the main US pubs on inclusion issues – worth getting their catalogue
The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
Also we really like anything that comes out of The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. Try; Restructuring High Schools for All Students – Taking Inclusion to the next level ed. by Cheryl Jorgensen 1998 also pub by Paul Brookes
The Making of the Inclusive School by Gary Thomas, David Walker, Julie Webb in 1997…
This book provides what some would deem a ‘balanced’ UK perspective and concludes that we need fully inclusive mainstream schools. This book can be located from the Amazon site.
Resourcing Special Educational Needs and Reducing Reliance on Statements
This issue causes school, LAs and parents all kinds of headaches and if not done effectively can become a serious obstacle to inclusion. We are very interested in approaches to resourcing that do not rely on EHCPs. We worked in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham and were involved in the development of the Mainstream Support Group system of resourcing that reduced reliance on ‘statements’ for resourcing in these two LEAs.This approach involved increasing the involvement and ownership of the process by school based staff. Such approaches support inclusion and increase trust.We offer training and development work based on these experiences.
A research publication which shows the benefits of reducing reliance on statements is still relevant and can be downloaded here.
Centre for Studies in Inclusive Education:
Segregation Trends and Statistics across Local Authorities
The top five LAs with the smallest percentage of pupils segregated in England in 2004 (low segregation) were:
- Newham 0.06%
- Rutland 0.23%
- Nottinghamshire 0.45%
- Nottingham 0.47%
- Cumbria 0.49%
The top five LEAs with the highest percentage of pupils segregated in 2004 (high segregation) were:
- South Tyneside 1.46%
- Wirral 1.34%
- Halton and Knowsley both 1.32%
- Stoke-on-Trent 1.23%
- Birmingham and Lewisham both 1.21%
Research and literature link – reference list for reasons against segregated schooling – for those who still need to be convinced!
Mark Vaughan OBE, Founder & Co-Director, CSIE said:
‘All LEAs are working to the same laws and regulations, which call for inclusion of disabled pupils. It is time for the Government to take a firmer hand and get the higher segregating authorities to develop stronger inclusion policies. If Newham can do it with academic and social success, then so can every other authority.’
Newham LEA, which has actively pursued a policy of inclusion in education for 21 years, placed 0.06% of its 0-19 year olds with statements in special schools and other segregated settings, while South Tyneside placed 1.46%.
‘It is simply unfair and unjust for families that moves towards inclusion have been so slow, and that these variations still exist 22 years after the law to include disabled pupils in mainstream education first came into force’
Contrasting responses to diversity: school placement trends 2014-2017 for all local authorities in England (2019) :
Ten Reasons for Inclusion
Inclusive education is a human right, its good education and it makes good social sense
- All children have the right to learn together
- Children should not be devalued or discriminated against by being excluded or sent away because of their disability or learning difficulty
- Disabled adults, describing themselves as special school survivors, are demanding an end to segregation
- There are no legitimate reasons to separate children for their education. Children belong together — with advantages and benefits for everyone. They do not need to be protected from each other
- Research shows children do better, academically and socially, in inclusive settings
- There is no teaching or care in a segregated school which cannot take place in an ordinary school
- Given commitment and support, inclusive education is a more efficient use of educational resources
- Segregation teaches children to be fearful, ignorant and breeds prejudice
- All children need an education that will help them develop relationships and prepare them for life in the mainstream
- Only inclusion has the potential to reduce fear and to build friendship, respect and understanding
Effective Classrooms and Schools
Did you know that based on research the top 6 most effective instructional strategies in the classroom are as follows?
- Identifying similarities and differences
- Summarising and note taking
- Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
- Homework and practice
- Non Linguistic representations
- Cooperative learning
This was based on meta analysis, combining the results of numerous studies: Effective Classroom Instruction
Grouping by Ability? No way does it work!
Key Research Findings
Organising students in heterogeneous cooperative learning groups at least once a week has a significant effect on learning (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).
Low-ability students perform worse when grouped in homogeneous ability groups (Kulik & Kulik, 1991, 1997; Lou et al, 1996)
We hate the label ‘low ability’ and find it meaningless in the face of Multiple Intelligences work or when viewing pupils from a ‘Gifts’ perspective. Yet grouping by ability is still a dominant approach in primary and secondary education across UK.
Where is the research to support the efficacy of such activity?
‘Students of low ability actually perform worse when they are placed in homogenous groups’ Marzano, 2005.
This American research is supported by that carried out by NFER in 1998 concluded ‘ there are no significant differences between streaming, setting and mixed ability teaching on pupil achievement’. Also they conclude that: ‘within homogenous groups teachers are predisposed to make negative judgemental of low ability pupils which, in turn, negatively affects these pupils’ self perceptions, levels of achievement and experience of schooling’. (Streaming, Setting and grouping by ability, NFER,1998
For more information on grouping go to Focus on Effectiveness.
Circles of Friends Research
If you are interested in research on Circles of Friends you might wish to look at:
Utilising the Classroom Peer Group to Address Children’s Social Needs: An Evaluation of the ‘Circles of Friends’ Intervention Approach – Norah Frederickson and Jane Turner (2001) University College London and Buckinghamshire Local Education Authority.
Circles of Support Stirling Scotland
The Circles Project facilitates school based circles of support for disabled children. A circle usually consist of 6-8 volunteers from the child’s class who agree to meet weekly with the child and an adult facilitator, to work together to increase the child’s social opportunities and choices. Read the PLUS Approach to Circles of support here.
Click here for Interim Evaluation Results.
2014 Irish Research
Circles of Adults Research
Look at Educational Psychology in Practice Vol 27 No 1 March 2011 Sue Bennet and Jeremy Monsen: ‘A critical appraisal of four approaches which support teachers’ problem solving within educational settings.
In this paper the benefits of collaborative working with teachers and school staff to develop a critical understanding of psychological process underpinning their work are recognised but the authors call for more robust research and evidence.
So if you are reading this – get out there and do some more research! All our evaluations, and single case studies have shown the process to be robust, valid and effective at many levels.
Evaluating the outcomes of the ‘Circles of Adults’ intervention on adults supporting Looked After Children at risk of exclusion. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham. J. Turner (2014) Click here to read in full.
Further research validation for our very own Circle of Adults process is seen in EPIP Vol 36 2020 “Examining the Circle of Adults process for Children Looked After: the role of self-efficacy and empathy in staff behaviour change“. Staff reported greater self efficacy, success implementing actions, enhanced group cohesion, task focus, insights, empathy and much more besides!
Circle of Adults in Scotland
Anita Harrison, Sarah Williams and Lois Braithwaite In June 2006, a number of East Lothian Education Provisions and other agencies involved in supporting children and young people with severe and complex needs were identified and invited to participate in the Circle of Adults project.
This project arose from a need to develop a consultation process for professionals working with children and young people with severe and complex needs. The book Circle of Adults – A team approach to problem solving around challenging behaviour and emotional needs (Wilson & Newton, 2006), emerged as an attractive model with potential for application in this situation. It combines many important features; graphic facilitation, group process and a structured and evaluated framework. The Circle of Adults approach is a 10-step problem-solving approach, with each step allocated a fixed amount of time. This model was designed for interventions requiring significant planning and given the cost in terms of time and resources it was decided that it would be for used with problems at the top end of the staged assessment and intervention process. The concept of working with staff in a group to maximise expertise and build capacity to create solutions was very appealing. During the period of September 2006 to December 2007 12 Circle of Adults sessions were held, approximately monthly.
Each Circle of Adults session was facilitated by two Educational Psychologists: one in the role of graphics facilitator, the other in the role of process facilitator. A number of methods were employed to evaluate the effectiveness of the project in meeting its initial aims with very positive outcomes.
Research on Circles: Educational Psychology in Practice
For a link to the ‘Educational Psychology in Practice: theory, research and practice in educational psychology’ book, click here.
Scotland have piloted Restorative Practice in three councils and have evaluated progress so far with encouraging results.
‘Such developments as RP (Restorative Practice) take time and this has been recognised by the Scottish Executive who have extended the period of the pilot projects. Nevertheless, the evaluation shows evidence of substantial change in the schools studied in the period of the evaluation; in half of the schools there was strong evidence of improved relationships within the school community. Clearly, as indicated earlier, this progress has to be seen in the context of the whole range of initiatives, practices and developments in these schools during the evaluation period. Indeed one feature of the successful schools is their willingness to reflect on practice and engage with change.
When introduced in schools with at least a number of receptive staff and when the initiative was supported by commitment, enthusiasm, leadership and significant staff development, there was a clear positive impact on relationships in school. This was identifiable through the views and actions of staff and pupils, as well as evident in measurable reduction in playground incidents, discipline referrals, exclusion and use of external behaviour support.’ Conclusion of 2007 Scottish Executive Research.
Person Centred Working
Evaluation of Person Centered Working
Follow this link to read a detailed thesis by Dr Margo Bristow on the use of PATH by educational Psychologists in the UK: An exploration of the use of PATH (a person-centred planning tool) by Educational Psychologists with vulnerable and challenging pupils
The findings indicate that PATH impacted positively and pupils attributed increased confidence and motivation to achieve their goals to their PATH. Parents and young people felt they had contributed to the process as equal partners, feeling their voices were heard. Improved pupil- parent relationships and parent-school relationships were reported and the importance of having skilled facilitators was highlighted. Although participants were generally positive about the process, many felt daunted beforehand, possibly due to a lack of preparation. Pre-PATH planning and post-PATH review were highlighted as areas requiring further consideration by PATH organisers. Recommendations to shape and improve the delivery of PATH are outlined together with future research directions.
The use of the PATH for supporting the transition of pre-schoolers with SEN into school
The research gathered the views of parents, teachers, preschool staff and other professionals about the use of the PATH for supporting the transition of pre-schoolers with SEN into school. The meetings were positively received and parents reported that the meetings helped to address the majority of their concerns. Both staff and parents identified that the meetings provided schools with a clearer picture of the child and helped to foster positive relationships between parents and staff. Aspects of the meetings which helped to support this were identified.
Participants also identified advantages and disadvantages to having a young child present in their meeting, including keeping the focus of the meeting on the child, providing the child with an important message (that they are important and their views matter) and the child being a distraction at times. Most felt that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and that having the child present for most of the meeting and having some additional time without the child was a clear solution.
Follow this link to read the full research paper: Research about the use of the PATH for supporting the transition of pre-schoolers with SEN into school.
Listening to Young People
This study aimed to investigate autistic people’s experience of friendship with neurotypicals, in an attempt to tackle the issue of social isolation for the autistic population. Participants (N=6) were recruited using social media and were invited to semi-structured interviews that focused on their lived experiences of being friends with neurotypicals and what they found helpful or difficult. The interviews produced vast amounts of rich data, which was then analysed using thematic analysis. The overarching themes that emerged were “Navigating Friendship”, “Means to and Authentic Self” and “Friendship as a Dependency”. One major concern of the participants was that neurotypicals do not understand autism, which prevents the development of friendship. Only when they feel understood, could they be their authentic selves. They made it clear that neurotypicals should not be offended by the things autistic people say, as they take pride in their honesty and may simply be trying to help. The participants felt it was important to let neurotypicals know that there is a fine line between supporting someone, and taking away their independence.
Inclusion: What Young People Tell Us
Research by Anne Darby and Ailsa Fairley Compiled by Penny Barratt, Anne Darby, Julia Hayes, Ruth Jobson.
Nottingham City Council demonstrated its endorsement of inclusion through consultation and publication of a progresive Inclusion Policy Statement . The statement explicitly adopts the social model of disability with its focus on the removal of barriers. The social model contrasts with the traditional medical model of disability which identifies the individual’s impairment as creating a special problem in need of treatment.
This 17 page book presents the views of some of the young people who attend schools in Nottingham. They were encouraged to comment on their experiences of the inclusion process to highlight good practice.
Community Engagement Research and Development Project – Final Report October 2019
Project based in Gloucestershire looking at post-16 education and training – Read the full report here
Understanding Movement Differences can be key to including many challenging children and adults who appear very different and may have labels of autism, Tourette syndrome, or severe learning difficulty.
The National College for the Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services (the National College: the successor body to the National College for School Leadership) has brought together the key messages from the Ofsted work and their own research into effective school leadership. They identify four key elements relating to the effective leadership and management of SEN and disability:
- Shared vision
- Communication (Lamb Inquiry)
The DISS project provides an accurate, systematic and representative description of the types of support staff and their characteristics and deployment in schools, and how these changed over time.
It is the first longitudinal study to analyse the impact of support staff – in particular, Teaching Assistants – on teachers, teaching and pupil learning, behaviour and academic progress in everyday school settings.
Research paper by Joanna Wood, 2016
Supervision for school staff:
What is valuable about Solution Circles?
Download a pdf of the full thesis here: Joanna Wood
“Group supervision is used for support, education and/or monitoring. Despite the potential value of these elements for school staff, it is rarely practised. This mixed methods research, from a critical realist perspective, explored the use of Solution Circles to structure staff supervision groups in three schools. Five circles were run in each school, involving thirty-one participants, eighteen of whom contributed data. Thirteen staff trained as facilitators. The self-efficacy, resilience and anxiety levels of the staff taking part were not found to be significantly different as a result of the intervention. However, a small effect size was noted for self-efficacy, perhaps worthy of further investigation in the context of the small sample size.
Thematic analysis of participant feedback (gathered during the last circle, which ran as a Focus Group) indicated the following mechanisms as affecting the value of Solution Circles for staff supervision groups: the structure of the sessions; aspects linked to the groups meeting a ‘need to talk’; elements which helped participants to ‘feel like a team’; and, school context factors. Semi-structured interview data from six facilitators indicated that the structure of the circles, individual characteristics of facilitators, the provision of support for facilitators, and elements of the wider school context, were all mechanisms which affected the facilitation of the programme. Further research might implement elements of these mechanisms and measure their impact.”
What are Inclusive Solutions’ Research Interests?
Our current research interests/developing themes include:
- Friendship and relationships
- Inclusion Facilitation
- Leadership for inclusion
- Making inclusive education a reality in face of academisation of schools
- Curriculum and Connection: How do our typical ways of delivering the curriculum in schools support the making (or breaking) of relationships for students with a disability or difference?
- Beyond the IEP: How can teacher planning for pupils with additional learning needs become better integrated into the life and work of schools?
- Transition to Life after School: recognising the need to be mindful of the danger of developing a segregated planning system for students with disabilities? How can curricula, community partnerships and support systems help students with and without labels to plan and prepare for the future?
- From Peer Supporters to ‘Community Connectors’: -developing further tools to support the intentional building of relationships in schools and beyond.
- Building Collaborative Teams: moving towards new ways of working together
‘In a time when we attend very much to the mechanisms and techniques for delivering curriculum, we need to keep remembering that teaching is first and foremost a matter of the development of human beings as moral actors, as citizens, as people who are going to live in, and need to make a difference to, a very diverse and very complex world. And that requires far more than simply the delivery of instruction as marked by test results. It’s a matter of the heart as marked by the kind of relationships and the sense of community that develops over time in a school.’John O’Brien
New approach to Research that we are offering…
Narrative Approach to Collecting Young People’s or Parent’s Views on for example schools, colleges, Child Care or other Services received. Sessions to do this would be best delivered as short days 10 – 2pm, twilights or evening sessions.
We would run these as a jargon-free interactive session and collect young people and family views on a large colourful wall graphic with their key words and images creating a rich picture of their experiences of inclusion (and exclusion) before and since the advent of DCATCH. Our aim would be to collect stories from at least 3 separate groups, share the stories across the groups, asking each group to be a kind of ‘outsider witness’ to the stories of the others, and inviting them to add their own stories. This model of engaging with groups in the community is built on this criss-cross exchange of stories and messages. Implicit in these stories will be the knowledge, skills, values and dreams that are developing locally. We would then extract the headline themes that emerge from these sessions and use these as the basis for writing this work up.