Is this inclusion? Lessons from a very special unit

Anat Greenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Debates about the meanings of inclusive education are long-lasting, and the imperative to include disabled students in mainstream schools is currently under threat by the UK government's educational policies. This paper draws on critiques from inclusive education and critical pedagogy literature, as well as on findings from field research in a special unit in a secondary school in the UK, to argue for a thorough change in educational provision that is currently incompatible with notions of inclusion. The paper examines how changing the politics of disability, access and relations of belonging in the context of field research has had a positive impact on educational provision in accordance with critiques of education from disability, feminist and anti-capitalist standpoints. However, while the educational provision in the school's special unit successfully challenged many disabling barriers to education, its lack of engagement with issues of power and wider social structures made it vulnerable to recuperation. The paper points to the relevance of including ideas from critical pedagogy within research and practice in inclusive education, which provide a useful tool for dealing with such issues. © 2013 Taylor and Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-391
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Disability
  • Inclusive education
  • Politics of education
  • Special education needs


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