Must Inclusion be Special? Rethinking Educational Support Within a Community of Provision

Rix, Jonathan (2015). Must Inclusion be Special? Rethinking Educational Support Within a Community of Provision. Current Debates in Educational Psychology. London: Routledge.




Must Inclusion be Special? confronts the messy compromises between inclusion, mainstream and special. It explores the processes which disconnect so many learners, as well as practical possibilities for moving beyond the current mix of integration, participation, marginalisation and segregation. It suggests both the means and the reasons for shifting our ways of delivering educational support.

The author examines the broad range of interests linked to the emergence and ongoing development of educational systems across many countries. He pays particular attention to systems associated with special and inclusive provision, and the kinds of pressures under which they operate. He questions the theoretical perspectives associated with them, challenging the dominant focus upon the individual, explaining how and why we must increase our focus on context.

Later chapters explore underlying challenges and possible solutions evident within many education systems and their wider socio-economic environment. They suggest how educational support might better respond to disparate aims and be developed within a community of provision. This notion recognises the interconnectedness of services and the significance of context; encapsulating the aspiration of much international legislation for participation and inclusion for all. It assumes that we tend towards diffuse practices, services, policies, settings and roles, spread across provision which is variously inclusive and exclusionary. As a tool for describing interrelated contexts, this notion of a community of provision can help us frame necessary shifts in pedagogy, assessment and funding; it can encourage collective learning processes and collaborative outputs; enhancing our capacity to create equitable participation for all whilst responding to predominant socio-economic demands.

Must Inclusion be Special? explores educational inequities and how additional support can better overcome them. It emerges from the research base which problematises inclusive, mainstream and special education. It uses practical examples from many countries, drawing upon the author’s experiences as a teacher and as a parent of a child identified with special educational needs and his extensive research into policy, language and pedagogy.

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