Inclusive school development: the first years of an English free school

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


This chapter discusses inclusion in the context of a newly opened free school in England. The school has since its inception sought to be inclusive though its admissions policies, physical design and mixed ability teaching, and the chapter analyses and discusses the impact of these three elements on the experiences of students at the school. Data are drawn from the initial application to the UK government to open a free school, the school website, photo-elicitation interviews with students and an interview with the first principal of the school. Based on an understanding of inclusion as involving the participation of students in the culture and curricula of mainstream schools, and the removal of barriers to their particiption, the chapter investigates both how the school has tried to be inclusive and the extent to which young people at the school have felt the school is inclusive. The findings highlight the importance of social capital and trust in students’ sense of belonging and inclusion, and furthermore illustrate the significance of school space in the development of relationships. The lessons learned from the start up and realisation of the inclusive vision described in the chapter, and the links between inclusion and social capital, trust and space provides insights that are relevant across different types of schools and international contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook Inclusion International
Subtitle of host publication Global, National and Local Perspectives on Inclusion Education
EditorsAndreas Köpfer, Justin Powell, Raphael Zahnd
PublisherVerlag Barbara Budrich
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Jan 2020


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