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Pragmatism, Ideology and Educational Change: The Case of Special Educational Needs

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A major theme of recent debate and policy development in the area of special education is that of inclusion: the placement of all pupils in mainstream schools and the development of curriculum and pedagogy to meet the needs of all. Analysis of national statistical data shows some movement in this direction, but of a slow and very uneven kind. An exploration of the concepts of pragmatism to describe an important aspect of LEA decision making and of ideology to describe an important aspect of pressures for inclusion helps to explain this pattern of development. The paper concludes that both approaches require further systematic empirical data on the outcomes of different patterns of educational provision.

Keywords: ideology; inclusion; pragmatism; special education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Education Studies and Management, University of Reading

Publication date: March 1, 1998


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