Getting Special Class Inclusion on the Agenda


  • Elizabeth Flanagan St Teresas's NS, Clontumpher, Co. Longford


Key Words: ‘special class’, ‘inclusion’, ‘leadership’, ‘audit’, ‘school self –evaluation’


Whole school planning in relation to the inclusion of pupils enrolled in special classes in mainstream schools is critical in ensuring that special classes do not become a unit of segregated provision. An informed understanding of roles and responsibilities and an agreed understanding of what ‘inclusion’ entails and looks like in context appears to be absent in many schools. This paper is written through the lens of the human rights model of disability through which all pupils irrespective of cognitive ability or other additional needs have the right to access supportive environments where they can reach their own individual capacity for learning and enjoy social interactions with peers. Through this lens, inclusion in mainstream environments should not be hindered by subjective judgements based solely upon an impairment. This
paper discusses how special classes were set up to support inclusion and the lack of direct guidance relating to development of inclusive school policies and practice. It then focusses on the difficulties a transformational leader
may encounter in establishing an inclusive culture before exploring the use of auditing frameworks to identify areas for improving policy and practice.



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How to Cite

Flanagan, E. (2022). Getting Special Class Inclusion on the Agenda. REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland, 35(2). Retrieved from