The readiness for the full participation of all children in mainstream education varies within schools, from school to school, and across countries with children in mainstream education. Whilst the concept of inclusive education has generated much debate, practice remains questionable and variable around type, place, support and learning and teaching resources. This chapter is concerned with how an inclusive learning environment can be achieved by developing a shared community of practice (Wenger, 2010) for all children. Using lessons learnt from developing a whole-school approach to including disabled learners, I hope to present a rationale for educators to gain a deeper understanding around the need to identify and support all children's learning and participation in school, which presently is often overlooked. Whilst inclusive education is still on the agenda, it is so at the cost of competing initiatives within the educational system which practises a dichotomy between ‘special’ and ‘mainstream’ education. Finally, there will be an attempt to expose the idealised notions of the fundamental principle of ‘schools for all’. Social justice, disability, equity and human rights issues that underpin the social model of disability are being responded to within the ‘special’ education discourse, often creating exclusionary practice and inequalities within education.
Ferrante, C.A. (2022), "Nobody Is ‘Special’: The Application of a Community of Practice to Arrive at Being ‘Ordinary’ Within the Classroom: A Model of Diversity", McGovern, W., Gillespie, A. and Woodley, H. (Ed.) Understanding Safeguarding for Children and Their Educational Experiences, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 63-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80262-709-120221007
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