Developing policies for inclusive education: A study of the role of local education authorities

Mel Ainscow, Peter Farrell, Dave Tweddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In many parts of the world there is evidence of initiatives aimed at finding ways of creating forms of mainstream schooling that can respond to pupils with disabilities and others seen as having special educational needs (UNESCO 1995). There is also a growing research literature that throws light on how schools and classrooms can be developed in relation to this idea (e.g. Rouse and Florian 1996, Sebba and Sachdev 1997, Thomas et al. 1998, Ainscow 1999, Clark et al. 1999). However, few studies have considered the contributions and roles of local administrative arrangements to such developments, even though there is evidence that these can be highly influential in relation to policy implementation in general (Spillane 1998). Drawing on the evidence of a recent study carried out in England, this paper starts to fill this gap. Specifically, it addresses the question: in what ways do local administrative arrangements bear on attempts to develop more inclusive ways of working in schools? In considering the evidence and arguments presented it is important to recognize that the peculiarities of each national context mean that district level arrangements for the management of education in one country cannot be assumed to be similar to that in other countries. Consequently, transporting conclusions from one situation to another is impossible. Nevertheless, a detailed engagement with the experiences of particular countries can provide a useful basis for reflection on what happens elsewhere. Before considering this specific agenda, however, we summarize certain relevant international trends.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-229
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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