2) The Inclusive Practice Project (IPP)
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Aberdeen
Unit of AssessmentEducation
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Specialist Studies In Education
Summary of the impact
The University of Aberdeen's £1.4M Inclusive Practice Project has
approaches to teacher education to create classrooms where all children
can learn through full
participation in the school community, without the stigmatisation that
comes from ability labelling.
The Project has driven major changes in teacher education, in primary and
classroom environments in Scotland and beyond. The Project is responsible
for major changes to
initial teacher education and ongoing professional teacher education
programmes and is
influencing education policy in Scotland and abroad.
The Inclusive Practice Programme (IPP) is an ongoing research and
education reform project initially funded by the Scottish Government
(£1.4million from 2007-2011)
in response to concerns about persistent underachievement and increasing
pupil diversity. The
aim of the IPP is to ensure better awareness and understanding of issues
that affect learning, and
to develop strategies to respond. It was led by Professors Martyn Rouse
(2006-retired 2011) and
Lani Florian (2007-2012), in collaboration with Jennifer Spratt, Lecturer
in Inclusive Practice (2003-present)
and colleagues in the School of Education, University of Aberdeen. The
work involves a
reciprocal cycle of research / teacher education / classroom practice with
each phase informing the
The teacher education reforms were predicated on the concept of Inclusive
from work by Florian and colleagues at the University of Cambridge. [3.1]
The concept of Inclusive
Pedagogy was further developed through research undertaken by IPP
researchers from 2006-2013.
Researchers conducted a series of studies of teacher `craft knowledge'
three key challenges to inclusion in education: the deterministic effects
of ability labelling, the belief
that only `specialists' can support children who experience difficulties
in learning, and the structural
barriers to inclusion created by existing forms of provision in schools
(for example separate
facilities for those deemed to have `special needs'). Observations of
classroom practice and
focussed discussions with teachers across four schools in England and
Scotland over the course
of a year followed. These allowed researchers to identify classroom
practices which help to
increase the participation and achievement of all children without the
need to identify difficulties in
learning as limitations of learners. Findings provided the basis for a
strategy aimed at improved
educational provision and outcomes for vulnerable learners — a key area
for development because
children identified as having `additional' or `special' educational needs
are often disadvantaged by
poverty, cultural, linguistic or developmental diversity.
Drawing on this research, IPP researchers in collaboration with
colleagues redesigned the
Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at Aberdeen around the
concept of Inclusive
Pedagogy. The course was underpinned by three key themes. Firstly, Understanding
critiques the widespread assumption that children have a fixed ability
level, arguing instead that
learning capacity is transformable when conditions are right. Secondly, Social
the dilemma of responding to diversity between children without
exacerbating difference by
labelling. Instead of different provision for children experiencing
difficulties in learning, Inclusive
Pedagogy encourages teachers to extend the options available to everybody.
Professionalism encourages classroom teachers to work with other
specialists, to support the
participation of all children in the learning community.
The IPP then conducted follow-up studies of a sample of newly qualified
teachers (NQTs) who
graduated from the PGDE course in 2009. During 2009/2010 seven NQTs were
visited three times
during their first year in post. Each visit consisted of observation,
linked to in-depth interviews.
Overall this research has developed the distinctive notion of Inclusive
Pedagogy, and has shown
how its principles can be embedded in teacher education courses and
enacted in teaching
References to the research
[3.1] Black-Hawkins, K, Florian, L and Rouse, M (2007). Achievement
and inclusion in schools.
[3.2] Black-Hawkins, K. & Florian, L. (2012). Classroom
Teachers' Craft Knowledge of their
Inclusive Practice. Teachers and Teaching. 18 (5) 567-584.
[3.3] Florian. L (2012). Preparing Teachers for Diverse
Classrooms: Key Lessons from Scotland's
Inclusive Practice Project, Journal of Teacher Education. 63 (4)
[3.4] Florian, L & Linklater, H (2010). Preparing Teachers for
Inclusive Education: Using Inclusive
Pedagogy to Enhance Teaching and Learning for All. Cambridge Journal
of Education, 40(4), 369-386.
[3.5] Florian, L & Spratt, J (2013). Enacting inclusion: a
framework for interrogating inclusive practice,
European Journal of Special Needs Education, 28:2, 119-135.
[3.6] Florian, L, Young, K & Rouse, M (2010). Preparing
Teachers for Inclusive and Diverse
Educational Environments: Studying Curricular Reform in an Initial Teacher
Education Course. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(7), 709-722.
Inclusive Pedagogy: The role of pupil voice in self-assessment.
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, New
Approaches to Learning Strand, £47,538 Award to Lani Florian, University
of Aberdeen, 2010.
Inclusive Practice Project. Scottish Executive, £1.4m Award to the
University of Aberdeen School
of Education, 2006.
Teaching Strategies and Approaches for Pupils with Special Educational
Needs: A Scoping Study.
Department for Education and Skills, £39,780, 2003.
Inclusion and Pupil Achievement. Wallenberg Project, Leadership
for Learning, £18,645, 2003.
Evaluation of Inclusive Education in the London Borough of Newham.
L.B. Newham, £31,500,
Details of the impact
Aberdeen's IPP has become a fundamental part of how the chronic
challenges of under-achievement
and lack of participation for certain groups are being addressed by policy
teacher educators (i.e. those who teach teachers) and teachers themselves.
The Scottish government's National Framework for Inclusion, launched in
April 2009, draws
heavily on IPP research. Reflecting the IPP approach, it promotes
inclusion as being the
responsibility of all teachers, in all schools and builds upon the work of
the IPP to provide the basis
for planning courses in teacher education and professional learning. Fiona
Secretary for Education, said at the launch, "The framework means
systematic improvement with
all teacher training providers embedding inclusive education principles
within student learning... we
are making advice and guidance available online so that all teachers, no
matter how experienced,
can learn how to make learning in their classroom more inclusive for
Following the launch of the Framework, each of the seven university
providers of Initial
Teacher Education (ITE) in Scotland has restructured courses in line with
the Framework. For
example, at Stirling University, students take a module entitled
`Differences and Identities'. This
module focuses on the wider pastoral responsibilities of being a teacher
and asks students to
consider how these might shape their thinking. More than 1,500 students
reformed PGDE over the six year period from 2007-2012. Teachers graduating
from this course
take up probationary teaching posts across Scotland. [5.2]
The IPP's follow up study of probationer teachers has shown that, through
using the principles
of Inclusive Pedagogy, probationers found ways of supporting the learning
of all children without
needing to mark some as different. One said in her IPP follow-up
interview: "(Before the PGDE) I
believed that people's ability is changeable, but I didn't really know how
to articulate it and I
certainly wouldn't have known how to ... bring it into the classroom.
That's what the course has
helped me with... the language to be able to justify what you're doing and
trying to make
(colleagues) think a wee bit." [5.3]
The research also impacts upon already qualified teachers. Every year,
Aberdeen trains over
300 teachers in inclusive practice in partnership with schools in 6 local
authorities [5.4] and, in
January 2013, Aberdeen launched a new Masters level programme on Inclusive
programme draws on the IPP probationer study. It has been designed with
online elements so
teachers can continue classroom practice while completing the degree.
There are currently 13
practising teachers from Scotland, Egypt and Abu Dhabi enrolled and a
waiting list for next year.
Beginning in 2010, Glasgow University also incorporated Inclusive Pedagogy
in its teacher
continuing professional development programme.
Guidance based on the work of Florian and Rouse has been incorporated
into the new
Scottish national HMIE Inclusion Reference Manual for School Inspections
(2008). [5.5] Rouse
chaired working groups at HMIE in 2008 and the Scottish Qualifications
Authority (the national
accreditation and awarding body) in 2009.
The impact of the IPP research also has international reach. In November
presented IPP research on educating teachers to meet learners' diverse
UNESCO's Conference on Education. [5.6]
Florian also co-authored a White Paper for the American Association of
Colleges of Teacher
Education. Its key recommendations reflect IPP research in a call for
investment in the
development of new inclusive teacher education. The Paper was launched at
a series of briefings
on Capitol Hill, the White House and the US Department of Education in May
2011 as part of the
re-authorization of the US Elementary and Secondary Education Act. [5.7]
Between 2009 and 2012, Florian represented Scotland as national expert on
Agency for Development in Special Needs Education study, `Teacher
Education for Inclusion'
(TE4I). Fellow participants included policy makers and practitioners from
29 EU countries and
representatives of international organisations including the EU, UNESCO
and the OECD. The
TE4I's final report makes recommendations to support the development of
teacher education for
inclusion in Europe, citing Florian and Rouse's work. [5.8]
Public and professional awareness of the IPP research has manifested
through articles in
numerous publications including Prospects, UNESCO's journal on
education, for an international
audience of scholars, decision-makers and educators [5.9]; and the Times
Supplement (both September 2011).
Education Scotland (the Scottish government executive agency) have made
inclusive practice and Aberdeen's research publicly available via their
Journey to Excellence
website. While aimed primarily at teachers, this resource is also used by
parents and other
stakeholders. It features four video interviews with Rouse speaking about
the inclusive classroom
and pupil achievement. [5.10]
Sources to corroborate the impact
[5.2] Contact at the General Teaching Council Scotland can corroborate
the number of students
who have successfully completed the reformed PGDE (primary and secondary)
over the six year
period from 2007-2012 and how many of these teachers have taken up
[5.3] Part of Quote on page 13 of Florian & Spratt (2013): Enacting
inclusion: a framework for
interrogating inclusive practice, European Journal of Special Needs
Education, 28:2, 119-135. Full
quote provided in Florian and Spratt presentation at the European
Conference on Educational
Research, 20th September 2012.
[5.4] CPD Coordinator/Probation Manager, Aberdeen City Council can
corroborate the teacher
training and development of inclusive practice.
[5.5] HMIE Inclusion reference manual: http://hmiecmslive.company-net.com/NR/rdonlyres/79D06B05-9F96-41C5-A2F5-4675FDE9C9FC/0/InclusionManualDecember2008forinternet.pdf
[5.6] Florian was rapporteur at the UN World Conference on Education in
Geneva UN Annex VIIId — page 63
[5.7] White Paper, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education
and National Council
for Learning Disabilities. http://aacte.org/news-room/press-releases/aacte-and-ncld-release-white-papreparation-of-general-education-teachers.html
[5.8] TE4I final report http://www.european-agency.org/agency-projects/Teacher-Education-for-Inclusion
Teacher Education for Inclusion Across Europe, Challenges and
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. p.30.
[5.9] "Challenges for teachers' professional learning for inclusive
education in Central and Eastern
Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States" co-authored by
Lani Florian and Majda
Becirevic, in PROSPECTS, September 2011, Vol 41, Issue 3, pp 371-384
[5.10] Martyn Rouse interviews on "The inclusive classroom"