04 SES 01 A, School Wide Inclusive Education
Implementing inclusive policy and practice is found to be challenging in secondary schools. In particular in traditional school systems, high stakes testing largely defines the agenda of a school’s long term policy and its daily practice with respect to individual students. Legislation for inclusion may easily be perceived as a disturbing factor interfering with the school’s competitive mission for excellence. Especially in a context of streaming, such as the Flemish secondary education system, where achievement based grouping and ability discourse is inherent, a separate system of special education is often maintained on top of the general or vocational streams that already exist. With both a tracking system and a segregated system of special education in place, 4% of all secondary school students in Flanders (Belgium) attend a special school. Meanwhile, the number of secondary schools that collaborate with special schools for in-school support of students with a disability, has grown over the last decades. When resources are provided, special needs supports are also used in regular secondary education. A dual system of special educational needs thus exists. In spite of a climate of resistance and low self-efficacy beliefs of teachers, inclusive policies and practices are being developed in secondary schools. Although at odds with the barriers for inclusion inherent in a traditional secondary schools’ system, special education support services collaborate in schools in order to implement inclusive practice. Whether and how these can move schools forward towards school-wide support for inclusion, is the focus of this paper.
In order to identify key strategies of secondary schools to move forward towards inclusion, the main research question is: what are the processes that secondary schools unfold to implement inclusive practice?
- What are the school-wide strategies deployed to develop inclusive practice?
- What are the strategies and actions performed at class and student level to enhance the learning and participation of students with special educational needs?
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