ERG SES G 02, Policies of Education
The inclusion of all children in mainstream schools is a key educational policy across Europe (Allan, 2010). However, it is considered to be a challenging policy internationally due to the uncertainty of the term’s meaning (Allan, 2008) which has arisen not only by the complexity that characterises its origins (Armstrong et al., 2010) but also from the effort of policymakers to change the beliefs of teachers by introducing new terms as well as from a failure to find out what inclusion might mean in practice to children, young people and parents (Allan, 2008). Hence, this multi-dimensional concept is creating disagreement and misunderstanding (Dyson et al., 2004), as inclusive education is understood differently by people involved in policy implementation (Liasidou, 2012) and thus may have different meanings to different people (Armstrong et al., 2010).
Reviewing the implementation of inclusive education the progress that has been made is obvious (Meijer, 2003) as there is a constant growing awareness across Europe of the necessity and benefits of inclusive education. Consequently, inclusive education has been promoted by legislation, educational policies and regulations through the motivation for regional organisation of schools, the changes in the methods of funding and the support for teachers’ training (Vislie, 2003). However, it has been argued that still more needs to be done in order to have inclusive schools (Ferguson, 2006) and that the most important criterion for a successful implementation depends on what is happening in schools and classrooms (Ainscow, 2007).
‘Policy’ is also a contested term, which could be perceived differently depending on the researcher's perspective. Educational policy's conceptualisation as a linear process of policy formulation and policy implementation has been challenged and replaced by a more complex process (Ball and Bowe, 1992). Indeed, the inclusive education policy process could be easily conceptualised as a ‘complex system’ consisting of a range of factors and agents such as policy-makers, schools, teachers, students and parents –all of which are related to each other, thereby creating new data, such as new policies and curricula. The system's existence depends on these interactions (Biesta, 2010).Policy making and policy implementation could be also conceptualised as parts of that complex system consisting a complex sub-system.
By the application of complexity theory to the inclusive education systems of European countries, more details of the relationships between policy and practice could be offered as through the application of complexity theory there is the hope of a better understanding and control of complex systems (Cilliers, 2001) such as inclusive education and the multiple interactions involved in that.
This paper will describe the system of inclusive education through the application of complexity theory, using the Scottish inclusive education system as an example. Applying complexity theory in the field of inclusive education, it will emphasise the idea that policy processes could be considered to be non-linear, being influenced by various agents and focusing on questions such as: How policy implementation is part of the policy process system, the relation between the policy and teachers, the extent of pupils' and teachers' involvement in policy formulation and implementation and their position in that complex system.
Ainscow, M. (2007) ‘From Special Education to Effective Schools for all: A Review of Progress so Far’, in L. Florian (ed.) The SAGE Handbook of Special Education, 146–59. London: SAGE. Allan, J (2010)Questions of Inclusion in Scotland and Europe, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25(2), 199–208 Allan, J (2008) Inclusion for all? Scottish Education: Third edition: beyond devolution. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p701-710 Armstrong, A. C., Armstrong, D. and Spandagou, I. (2010) Inclusive Education: International Policy and Practice, London: Sage. Ball, S and Bowe, R. (1992) Subject departments and the "implementation" of national curriculum policy: an overview of the issues. Journal of curriculum studies, 24 (2), 97-115. Biesta, G.J.J. (2010). Five theses on complexity reduction and its politics. In D.C. Osberg & G.J.J. Biesta (Eds). Complexity theory and the politics of education (pp. 5-13). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Cilliers, P. (2001) Boundaries, Hierarchies and Networks in Complex Systems, International Journal of Innovation Management, 5(2), 135–147. Dyson, A, Farell, P., Polat, F. , Hutcheson, G. and Gallannaugh, F. (2004) Inclusion and Pupil Achievement. Department for Education and Skills Research Report RR578 Ferguson, D. (2006) ‘International Trends in Inclusive Education: The Continuing Challenge to Teach One and Everyone’. Paper presented to the European Conference for Educational Research in Geneva, 12–15 September. Liasidou, A. (2012) Inclusive Education, Politics and Policymaking. London: Continuum Meijer, C.J.W., ed. (2003) Special Education Across Europe in 2003. Middelfart: European Agency. Vislie, L. (2003) ‘From Integration to Inclusion: Focussing Global Trends and Changes in the Western European Societies’, European Journal of Special Needs Education 18(1): 17–35.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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