NCSE Literature Review

Literature review on the principles and practices relating to inclusive education for children with special educational needs.

NCSE Literature Review

Project Description:

The purpose of the project was to conduct a literature review on the principles and practices relating to inclusive education for children with special educational needs.

Specifically, the project sought first to produce a detailed summary of existing literature on inclusion, current definitions of inclusion, and a collation of the main principles and practices involved in inclusive education. Second, the project aimed to develop and report criteria that can be used to assess a school’s level of inclusiveness, and to create a tool for all schools to use as part of their development plans in relation to including pupils with special educational needs and disability.


April - September 2008

The Research Team:

Paul O’Raw and Eileen Winter (ICEP Europe)


This research project was commissioned by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) in April 2008 and completed in collaboration with the Council’s Consultative Forum

Research Process:

The general approach to completing the research project involved three main strands:

The first strand involved conducting a literature review, gathering relevant information from national and international sources on the background to inclusion, the principles that underpin inclusive education, and the various definitions of inclusion.

The second strand incorporated an analysis of the information gathered during strand one and the construction of a framework of inclusion based on themes developed from the literature and from the initial written input from the Consultative Forum and provided by the NCSE. The framework allows for the evaluation of practices associated with successful inclusive education. In constructing the framework, the research team adopted a holistic model wherein inclusion is viewed as a dynamic system that encompasses mainstream schools, special classes, special schools and the wider community.

The final strand builds on the framework of inclusive practices developed in strand two and involved the construction of a checklist of inclusive practice that can be used to determine the level of inclusiveness within a school


A report was produced for the NCSE and consisted in two parts. Part one featured the main literature review, encompassing the background and reasons for the movement towards inclusive education, and the definitions and principles underlying inclusion. Part two outlines the various practices of inclusion within the framework for inclusion developed for this research, detailing how the framework was constructed, its rationale, and how it can be used in practice.

1 image

Online SEN courses
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details...