The Development of Inclusive Schools and Communities
Submitting InstitutionCanterbury Christ Church University
Unit of AssessmentEducation
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Specialist Studies In Education
Studies In Human Society: Sociology
Summary of the impact
This case study refers to a coherent and interlinked body of research,
focusing on the development of inclusive and equitable schools and wider
communities. The research has had impact of significance and reach, both
in the UK and internationally, and this has taken two main forms. Firstly,
through raising awareness and changing attitudes, the research has helped
to change professional practice and improve inclusive provision in schools
and communities in a range of countries. Secondly, the research has had
impact on policy debates and development, nationally and internationally.
The research which underpins this case study is a body of coherent and
interlinked work by a group of researchers that examined:
- the multiple barriers to participation and learning experienced by
students with diverse educational needs;
- the practices that contribute to overcoming these barriers;
- to what extent such practices facilitate widening participation and
social inclusion, improved learning outcomes and equitable school
a) Professor Tony Booth (CCCU, 1999-2010), with Ainscow and Dyson from
Manchester University, conducted the project, Understanding and
Developing Inclusive Practices in Schools (2000-3), in the first
phase of the ESRC's influential Teaching and Learning Research Programme
(TLRP). Research teams from three universities worked with 24 schools and
three local authorities (LAs) to explore ways of developing more inclusive
practices and increasing the participation and achievement of marginalised
learners. This led to a change in the conceptualising of inclusion, more
inclusive policy and practice and higher attainment (Booth, Ainscow &
Dyson, 2006). Building on the findings of the research, the Index for
Inclusion (hereafter the Index, Booth and Ainscow, 2002,
2004, 2006, 2011) was developed and expanded as a research and development
b) The Strategic Alternatives to Exclusion from School project
(2006-2008), led by Professor Carl Parsons (employed CCCU, 1989-2010, CCCU
Emeritus 2010-12, employed CCCU 2013 — present), complemented the TLRP
project by setting out to explore whether permanent or fixed-term
exclusions from school communities could be reduced. Working with three
low-excluding and then five high-excluding LAs, this work demonstrated the
influence that LAs have over school exclusion rates. The collaborative
action research highlighted that, in order to reduce school exclusions and
promote the development of equitable school communities, schools needed to
collaborate with each other, families and service providers. It also led
to greater monitoring of school exclusions (Parsons, 2009) and the
development of strategic responses to challenging behaviour.
c) A series of research projects, led by Dr Ruth Rogers (Principal
Research Fellow CCCU 2001-present), were closely linked to the development
of inclusive communities, by exploring barriers to participation and
social inclusion of young people on the margins. These included the
experiences of looked after children in Kent and Medway, Transition
into Further Education (2009-10), and their transition out of state
care (Rogers, 2011); and the Greater London Authority research project, Near
Peer Mentoring for Looked after Children (2011-2012), which
investigated a mentoring programme in five London boroughs.
d) Internationally, the Lao PDR Inclusive Education project
(1993-2009), on which Dr Peter Grimes (Principal Lecturer CCCU
2004-present) was a researcher and lead evaluator (2005-9), aimed to
support the participation of all children in school, with a specific focus
on disabled students, and to develop inclusive practices in 539 schools
across the country (Grimes et al., 2011). The Equity in Inclusive
Education project (2010-2013), led by Professor Petra Engelbrecht
(CCCU 2010-present), focused on developing teachers' practices to widen
participation and inclusion in Finland and South Africa, and the
exploration of equity in southern African schools, within a
cultural-historical framework (Engelbrecht et al., 2013).
References to the research
Booth, T., Ainscow, M. and Dyson A. (2006) Improving Schools,
Developing Inclusion. London: Routledge. RA2, 2008, CCCU.
Engelbrecht, P., Savolainen, H., Nel, M. & Malinen, O. (2013) How
cultural histories shape South African and Finnish teachers' attitudes
towards inclusive education: a comparative analysis. European Journal
of Special Needs Education http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2013.777529
Grimes, P., Sayarath, K. and Outhaithany, S. (2011) The Lao PDR inclusive
education project 1993-2009: reflections on a twin-track approach to the
inclusion of disabled students. International Journal of Inclusive
Education, 15 (10), 1135-1152. REF2, CCCU.
Parsons, C. (2009) Strategic Alternatives to Exclusion from School.
Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books. ISBN 978185864647. REF2, CCCU.
Rogers, R. (2011) "I remember thinking, why isn't there someone to help
me? Why isn't there someone who can help me make sense of what I'm going
through": `Instant adulthood' and the transition of young people out of
state care. Journal of Sociology, 47(4), 411-426. REF2, CCCU.
Booth et al.'s research led to the research and development tool:
Booth, T. and Ainscow, M. (2002, 2004, 2006, 2011) The Index for
Inclusion: Developing Learning and Participation in Schools.
Bristol: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE).
Quality of the research
All cited outputs involved a rigorous peer-review process. Journal
articles were published in highly rated academic journals and cited widely
in scholarly publications and other sources (eg Index for Inclusion-related
research has been cited more than 2,000 times on Google scholar. The
reputation of this body of research on inclusion has resulted in numerous
invitations for the group of researchers to present keynote addresses and
papers at high-profile international conferences and seminars (eg AERA,
BERA, World Down Syndrome Congress).
a) Understanding and Developing Inclusive Practice in Schools
(2000-2003). ESRC: £466,786.63. Grant reference: L139251001. Final report,
Ainscow, M. (2005). http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/L139251001/outputs/Read/3259f63d-f132-4d88-8854-2e07c7505146
b) Promoting Strategic Alternatives to Exclusions from School
(2006-2008). Esmée Fairbairn Foundation: £80,000, + £40,000 from 5 LAs.
Final report, Parsons, C. (2009). http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/education/research/docs/EF%20final%20report.pdf
c) Near Peer Mentoring for Looked after Children (2011-2012).
Greater London Authority: £18,000. Final report, Rogers, R. and Apps, J.
d) Transition into Further Education in Kent and Medway: The Care
Leaver Experience (2009-2010). Aimhigher Kent and Medway: £20,000.
Final Report, Rogers, R. (2010).
e) A Quality Education for All: the Lao PDR Inclusive Education
Project (2005-2009). Save the Children Norway and SIDA: £60,000.
Final report, Grimes, P. (2009). http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/A_Quality_Education_For_All_LaoPDR.pdf
f) Equity in Inclusive Education: implications for teacher education
for inclusion (2010-2012). National Research Foundation, South
Africa: £8,000. Final report, Engelbrecht, P. (2012).
Details of the impact
The impact of this body of research has had considerable reach,
nationally and internationally, and made a significant difference to UK
and global professional practice and policy.
Impact on practitioners and professional services
Parsons' Alternatives to Exclusion project has had substantial
impact within the UK. Findings were shared at the national conference in
2009 for local authorities, education leaders, Children's Trust managers
and headteachers, where the project LAs shared their strategies to reduce
This led to four regional workshops held across England between 2010-11,
attended by over 200 people from 40 LAs. The North Lincolnshire Fair
Access Protocol for schools in 2011 demonstrates this impact and the
research was cited on the Access4Education organisation website in 2011
Booth et al.'s TLRP research recommendations, disseminated via the Index,
have had considerable reach and significance, nationally and
internationally. In the UK, Norfolk County Council has given every school
advisor in Norfolk's 450 schools the Index 2011 edition,
underpinning staff training and peer supervision (2). The Index
has been translated into forty languages and examples of its international
reach include its use in: supporting school developments in Norway (Nes,
2009); guidelines for an inclusive education approach in Hungary (3);
anti-discrimination workshops for teachers in Serbia, 2008; a
self-assessment tool to reduce barriers to participation in over 350
schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2012 (4); inclusive developments in 30
German early childhood settings in Cologne and Bonn (Commonwealth
Secretariat, 2010). The Index has been used in South Africa as a
framework to change negative attitudes towards disabilities (South African
Department of Education, 2008); and in Australia to address inclusive
education reform in schools in 2012.
In Lao, the Inclusive Education project (Grimes) adapted the Index
and developed a national initiative which has had substantial impact. The
project report, A Quality Education for All (5), for Save the
Children Norway (2009) has been translated into Lao Lhoum, the majority
language, and a copy given to every school in the Lao PDR. The research
changed the landscape of educational provision in Lao, enabling most
children with disabilities to attend mainstream schools by 2009, and
helped practitioners move away from authoritarian pedagogy to develop
innovative active learning strategies (see also UNESCO, 2010; WHO, 2012).
Impact on public debate and policy
Invitations to the researchers to serve as government policy advisors and
consultants on inclusion, as a result of the research, have been
Parsons' research has had significant impact on policy debate; for
example, it was included in the Commons Select Committee session in 2010
(6). Parsons presented evidence at the House of Commons Education
Committee in 2010 and at The Office of the Children's Commissioner School
Exclusion Enquiry in 2011 and 2012 (7). He is also a member of the
national enquiry panel of the Office of the Children's Commissioner into
school exclusions (Children's Commissioner, 2013).
Significantly, findings from the Strategic Alternatives to Exclusion
from School research contributed to the initiation of the Department
for Education `exclusion trials' in 12 LAs across England, beginning in
2012. These changes provide a better deal for young people who would
otherwise be either permanently excluded, or placed in poor quality
alternative provision (DfE, 2012). Parsons' ongoing involvement with key
policy makers and the media (eg most recently (8)) has influenced the use
of the term `redundant' in relation to permanent exclusions.
Booth's research findings, via the Index, have influenced and
shaped policy debates and policy development. In South Africa, the Index
helped to shape the development of inclusive schools (reported in
Engelbrecht, 2011, REF2), a policy framework for the screening and
assessment of children experiencing barriers to learning, and government
guidelines for inclusive schools (9). Evidence of the ways in which the
research has promoted equality and challenged traditional assumptions is
found in: European policy analyses (eg EASPD, 2012) (10) and reviews of
teacher education for inclusion (e. EADSNE, 2012); publications by NGOs
(eg Save the Children, UK, 2008; Global Campaign for Education, 2012); as
well as UNESCO publications (eg UNESCO, 2009).
Grimes is disability education advisor on the advisory panel to the
European Equality Data Initiative set up by the Open Society Foundation
(OSF) in Brussels (2013), and was asked to speak at the recent Symposium
on Equality Data Collection hosted by OSF and European Network Against
Racism (ENAR). The Lao Inclusive Education project (on which
Grimes was researcher and lead evaluator) fed directly into the Lao PDR
Inclusive Education policy and National Strategy, which paved the way for
the reform of education in Lao. According to the Minister of Education in
Lao in 2009 (5), this strategy has been a significant step towards
fulfilling the obligations of the Convention of the Rights of the Child
and has supported Lao PDR to work towards achieving its Education for
Rogers' work led to an invitation to sit on the Young Care Leavers'
Strategy Group and to meet the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in May
2013. Her research has had impact in Australia and South Africa, being
cited by social justice NGOs The Brotherhood of St Laurence (http://www.bsl.org.au/)
and the South African charity Girls and Boys Town (http://www.gbtown.org.za).
Sources to corroborate the impact
- Access 4 Education (2011) `School exclusions are redundant in England'
- Norfolk County Council (2013) School improvement for all in Norfolk,
- European Centre for Development of Vocational Training (2013) Hungary:
promoting social inclusion through VET has become a priority.
- OSCE (2012) OSCE in Bosnia and Herzegovina promotes quality education
for every child.
- Save the Children Norway (2009) A Quality Education for All: A History
of the Lao PDR Inclusive Education Project, 1993-2009. (Also translated
into Lao Lhoum.)
- Commons Select Committee (2010) Behaviour and Discipline in Schools.
- Office of the Children's Commissioner (2012) "They never give up on
you" Office of the Children's Commissioner: School Exclusions Inquiry,
- Times Education Supplement (2013) `Waiting for a sea change', Times
Education Supplement, 29th March 2013. http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6326724
- Department of Education (S. Africa) (2010) Conceptual and operational
guidelines for full service schools.
- EASPD (2012) `Analysis of the use and value of the Index for Inclusion
and other instruments to assess and develop inclusive education practice
in P2i partner countries'. Brussels/Tilburg, Fontys OSO. http://pathwaystoinclusion.eu/project-information/wp-content/uploads/Report-