Exploring attitudes to inclusion: a case study of changes to inclusion in an independent post-primary school using thematic data analysis

Grant-Stevenson, Nicola (2021) Exploring attitudes to inclusion: a case study of changes to inclusion in an independent post-primary school using thematic data analysis. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The education of pupils with different or additional learning needs in England has been in a state of change since this was first recognised as a desirable practice in the late 1970s. Changes of government meant different emphases on the purpose of education, and a variety of views on the anticipated outcomes of schooling as the global economy took on greater influence. Ideas of “inclusion” – educating all pupils in mainstream schools as far as possible – began to gain prevalence in the late 1990s, and a debate began about what this might look like for the majority of schools and pupils. It has been difficult to find consensus – even an agreed definition of the term “inclusion” is lacking.

Independent schools in England have historically been less inclusive than statemaintained schools, as they have not been subject to the legislative frameworks around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Independent schools are also often socially and academically exclusive, with admission being constrained by entrance examinations and ability to pay fees.

This dissertation is a case study of one independent school in England, exploring how it became more inclusive and examining teacher attitudes to the changes made. It questions teacher attitudes to educational inclusion, barriers and opportunities, and suggests further steps for the case study school. Eight teachers were interviewed – all were at middle management level within the school. The interviews were analysed using thematic data analysis to create a “thematic journey” through the body of interviews collected, and the data used to explore teacher perceptions of the issues raised.

The analysis demonstrated that the interviewees held broadly positive conceptions of educational inclusion, although these had been developed more through experience and time spent teaching than through initial or subsequent training. The interviewees were able to give examples of how they had personally worked to include specific students with barriers to learning, as well as ideas for further improvements to inclusion in the case study school. The data is used to suggest improvements to professional practice in the area of inclusion for the author, for colleagues in the case study school, and for other independent schools.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Wardle, Dr. Georgina and Hedge, Prof. Nicki
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82557
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2021 14:06
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2021 14:11
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82557
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82557

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