In December 2015, the European Network on Inclusive Education & Disability, incluD-ed, concluded its study on 'Quality Factors of Inclusive Education in Europe. An Exploration.'
The study explored the quality of inclusive processes in various schools in several European countries, taking into account the different elements of quality inclusive education in relation to culture, policies and practices as well as available human and material resources. Other major objectives were to create a questionnaire for use in future studies to identify needs in quality inclusive education and to establish desirable 'standards' in terms of policies, practices and resources.
Two main research questions led the general work on the study:
- What do educational establishments need in order to provide quality inclusive education?
- Do they have what they need in order to provide quality inclusive education?
The extensive research drew many enlightening conclusions, including the points below:
- A multidimensional process. It would appear that inclusive education is possible with limited human and physical resources as long as cultures, policies and practices are sufficiently well designed and shared by teachers, pupils and families.
- Teaching staff. Involvement and training are basic requirements and far more important than other elements. The option of flexible assignment of teaching resources is also identified as a key element for quality inclusive education.
- The importance of the family. There is a clear link between the quality of education in a centre and the level of involvement of students’ families (the higher the better!).
- Lack of support from education authorities. There is a need for public sector provision of additional resources (more specifically in some countries, the need for trained staff to deal with students with special needs) although, on a more general scale, there is a need for specific policies designed to reinforce inclusive education.
The study was conducted in the four European countries of incluD-ed‘s founding partners (Spain, France, Finland and Czech Republic) as well as in Austria, the UK, Ireland and Iceland, where incluD-ed has associated member organisations.