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MEP learning pack

Masters in Educational Practice: Special educational needs and inclusion learning pack


Inclusive learning environments

This topic explores the principles of inclusive practice and identifies the key features of inclusive learning environments. Throughout this section you will be encouraged to reflect on the context of your own practice, enhancing your knowledge and understanding of inclusive practice.

Furthermore, the key principles identified in this section will underpin Topic 4. While reading the recommended literature and reflecting on practice, you should identify the potential tensions that may arise between the vision of inclusion and the dynamic process of creating inclusive learning environments.

Tensions between performativity, outcome-related measures of performance, the meeting of targets and the inclusion agenda have been acknowledged by Thomas and Loxley (2007: 102). Educationalists recognise that the learning environment is influenced by many factors and advise that special educational needs may indeed be socially constructed. A consequence of school systems and assessment led curricula is that benchmark levels of attainment may effectively create categories of learning difficulty (Cough and Barton, 2003: 80).

The models of disability are further factors that have influenced the development of policy and practice in the move from segregated provision towards inclusive education. By critically engaging with the models of disability we can trace the implications for education.


  • to show an appreciation of the diverse needs of children and young people
  • to be able to develop and maintain effective learning environments where all learners are enabled to feel safe, secure and confident
  • to develop effective  individualised provision in their teaching including taking account of diversity and being able to promote equality and inclusion.
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