Developing Inclusive School Cultures From Within
Chapter 11. Thinking through Inclusion: A School Leader’s Perspective
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The ability of the school community to co-create meaning through experience and reflection highlights the potentiality of developing inclusive schools. An important ingredient in that co-creation is leadership committed to building inclusive cultures (Ainscow, 2008; Cavanagh, 2008; New Zealand Education Review Office, 2010; MacArthur, 2009). This chapter is the story of the experience of one school leader committed to fostering inclusive values and practices within his school. Utilising the Index for Inclusion as a framework for change the school leader was given the ability to direct the change process, support the dissonance created when older beliefs and values were questioned, and maximise the time required for staff to reflect on key ideas and current practice. Additional benefits included incidental learning that the ongoing dialogue encouraged. This experience also indicated potential inhibitors to inclusive change that school leaders would have to work within or around in order to foster inclusion in their schools.
The stated aim of Special Education 2000 was the creation of a “world class inclusive education system” (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 5). In 2010 the Education Review Office (ERO) was tasked with assessing progress towards that goal. In their report, the ERO noted that a vital ← 137 | 138 → ingredient was committed and ethical leadership on the part of principals and SENCOs at the schools they researched (New Zealand Education Review Office, 2010). Timperley and colleagues (2007) presented research supporting the crucial role played by educational leaders in building capacity for school development. School...
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