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Time to end the bias towards inclusive education?


Katherine Runswick-Cole, Research Fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology, Research Institute of Health and Social Change, Manchester Metropolitan University, Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Hathersage Road, Manchester M13 0JA, Email:


The UK coalition Government's call to end the ‘bias’ towards inclusion represents a shift in ‘policy speak’ as the new administration attempts to re-narrate special education by putting forward a ‘reasonable and sensible’ solution to the ‘problem of inclusion’. However, implicit in the call is the assumption that there has, in fact, been a ‘bias towards inclusion’ in education policy and practice; here, that assumption is challenged. Using a critical disability studies perspective, Katherine Runswick-Cole, who is a research fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology in the Research Institute of Health and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University, draws on the concept of ableism and critiques of neo-liberal market systems in education to reveal and explore the persistent barriers to inclusive education embedded within the education system. It is argued that although there may have been an inclusive education policy rhetoric, this rhetoric is rooted in conceptual incongruities which, rather than promoting inclusion, undermine an inclusive approach to education.