The myth of inclusion?

Crichton, Michele Gaynor

July 2007

Thesis or dissertation

© 2007 Michele Gaynor Crichton. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action (UNESCO 1994) embedded the idea of inclusive education and its guiding principles were the motivational forces behind the UK policy document Excellence for All Children (DfES 1997). Yet since that time, there has been a range of outcomes for schools and Local Authorities, pupils and parent/carers. To help explain these outcomes, the thesis has sought to draw parallels between inclusion and myth. The research question asks, to what extent can inclusion be considered to be a myth?

A discourse analysis was carried out on eight selections from key documents used to implement and perpetuate an inclusion agenda. Four questions were used to 'search for patterns', consider differences or similarities and to consider the 'participants orientation'. This was in terms of the effects and outcomes inclusion has had for the 'participants' within it, namely, schools and Local Authorities, pupils and parents/carers.

An extensive literature analysis was also used to consider six dimensions of myth across four themes of inclusion. These six dimensions were myth as the popularised notion of a widely held but mistaken notion, the narrative qualities of myth, myth's complex nature, its relevance to some and not other, the quality myth has of perpetuating over time, and myth's ability to move people and have an inspirational quality. The four themes of inclusion were defining inclusion, implementing inclusion in consideration of schools and Local Authorities, pupils and parent/carers. To draw a conclusion to the research question a criterion was used to view the extent each dimension matched with myth. The thesis considered that although there was mixed evidence, inclusion appears to have many of the characteristics of myth, with myth is a widely held but false notion and its narrative qualities matching most substantially.

Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
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