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Beyond special and regular schooling? An inclusive education reform agenda

Publication Date
  • 1303 Specialist Studies In Education
  • Other
  • Education
  • Medicine


Following Edward Said’s (2001) observations on traveling theories this paper considers the origins of inclusive education as a field of education research and policy that is in jeopardy of being undermined by its broadening popularity, institutional adoption and subsequent adaptations. Schools were not an invention for all and subsequently the struggle with demands for broadening participation is more profound than is widely acknowledged. The institutional separation of ‘regular’ and ‘special’ schooling constructs pupils as cases for regular or special treatment and in doing so makes inclusion contingent upon satisfactory diagnosis of student defects and the deployment of resources that are more frequently structured for containment than for the building of school capacity to engage with difference. Tentatively this paper suggests that rather than lapse into established conversations about inclusive schooling as an accord between special and regular schooling, it may be more appropriate to consider ‘irregular schooling’ as more historically appropriate.

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