Special Education Today in the United Kingdom

R.A.L. Smith, Lani Florian, Martyn Rouse, John Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter attempts to provide a critical analysis of special needs education within the United Kingdom today. Central to such an analysis is an understanding of the rapidly changing social and political milieu within which special needs education is embedded, including the rapidly changing demographics of schooling, and the devolution of political power into four separate but linked countries - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Following a discussion of such wider social, political and educational issues, the authors thoroughly explore the convergences and divergences in policy and practice across the four devolved administrations. They describe a plethora of contemporary texts within each of the four administrations that speak to the need for special needs education to change in response to 21st century concerns about the problems of access to, and equity in education for all children. Despite this, they explain why they remain circumspect about the potential of such developments to lead to successful inclusive practices and developments on the ground. Their analysis in the last section centres on the issue of teacher education for inclusion and some very innovative UK research and development projects that have been reported to successfully engage teachers with new paradigm thinking and practice in the field of inclusive special needs education.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpecial Education International Perspectives: Practices Across the Globe.
EditorsUmesh Sharma , Anthony F. Rotatori , Festus E. Obiakor , Sandra Burkhardt, Jeffrey P. Bakken
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Pages109 -146
ISBN (Print)978-1-78441-096-4, 978-1-78441-095-7
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2014

Publication series

NameAdvances in Special Education
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN (Print)0270-4013


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