Educational Psychologists’ Views Around the Inclusion of Children with Special Educational Needs and Disability – Do Educational Psychologists Have a Role to Play in Working Towards Inclusive Education?

Prof Doc Thesis


Zaniolo, A. 2021. Educational Psychologists’ Views Around the Inclusion of Children with Special Educational Needs and Disability – Do Educational Psychologists Have a Role to Play in Working Towards Inclusive Education? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89w44
AuthorsZaniolo, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

In the attempt to fill identified gaps in the literature, this research explored the views of 12 educational psychologists (EPs) around the inclusive education (IE) of students with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in the UK. Considering the current debates within the British socio-political context and legislative background, as well as the call for EPs to work more systemically and inclusively, this study addressed how EPs construct their views and professional experiences of inclusion and perceive their role in promoting inclusive practices in the future.
The research paradigm followed a relativist ontology and a social constructionist epistemology, which are linked to a social model of disability. The study adopted a qualitative methodology: EPs’ views were gathered through individual semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and analysed through Thematic Analysis (TA). The findings were analysed inductively and interpreted by referring to the existing literature and relevant psychological theories. A reflexive approach was maintained throughout the research and issues of trustworthiness were addressed.
Despite some variability in definitions and models of inclusion, reflective of wider controversies in defining IE, the findings highlight a strong EP commitment to inclusion, underpinned by social justice, children’s rights, and valuing diversity. From the participants’ perspective, inclusion underpins most of EP practice, both at the individual and systems level. Several barriers to IE were identified, some of which concern the EP role. These led to the identification of areas for professional development, involving EPs’ sense of agency and positioning, as well as strengths related to EP practice in promoting inclusion, as EPs can play an important part in advocating for children and young people (CYP) and empowering the systems around them.
Implications for practice were built in a framework, involving professional developments around the EP practice at both the individual and systems levels, as well as around EPs’ professional identity. EPs are in a unique position to foster the development of inclusive practices and this study has the potential to increase the professional awareness and self-confidence that are required to challenge existing systemic barriers to IE.

KeywordsEducational psychology; inclusion; inclusive education; SEND
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89w44
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Publication dates
Online29 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted14 Jul 2021
Deposited30 Sep 2021
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