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Inclusion Practices: The Mainstream Classroom and Support Groups

Pinnell, Hannah (2017) Inclusion Practices: The Mainstream Classroom and Support Groups. University of Portsmouth. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Legislation now states that all schools must restructure the environment to reduce the learning barriers and prevent discrimination, for students with Special Educational Needs. In order to develop inclusion practices it is important to understand how schools currently implement inclusion and the culture they promote. This study used ethnography to study how one mainstream primary school in Bristol practices inclusion in the classroom and in support groups for students with Special Educational Needs. Participants included students and teachers from two year 2 classes and one year 6 class. The type and severity of need varied between students, allowing for a greater insight into the range of different practices that are implemented. Two observations were carried out in each class, and interviews were conducted with three teachers and one teaching assistant. These were subject to thematic analysis and four main themes were identified: inclusion at the classroom level, the integration of activities for Special Educational Needs, constraints of implementing inclusion, and training and development. It was concluded that how teachers manage the classroom environment is significant in promoting inclusive practice and positive interactions between peers. Furthermore, a strong understanding of individual needs, and strategies that accommodate these needs, were identified as important in developing whole school inclusion. Additionally, the impact that lack of funding has on students is discussed in terms of supporting individual students whilst not impacting others. Strategies developed by teachers to minimise the effect lack of funding has on students is also considered, including intervention groups, peer-scaffolding and interactive lessons. Future studies could observe students outside of the classroom setting, and interview other staff members, such as the SENCO, in order to gain a deeper insight to how inclusion is experienced.

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