chapter  1
14 Pages

Issues in inclusion and the management of student behaviour in schools

A historical overview There are many ways in which a national education system might be structured to provide for the whole diversity of its student population. In recent years many countries have witnessed a move towards a policy of inclusion in mainstream schools for all students, including those whose behaviour is

r>4-n 11± <U-L \^L L I M L . \ 17UI. J ILUIC LXLCJ.L, W± LV„t: UlV^Cl L1U1 L L/CV_CU.l LC Lp U.J.DVAL ^ IU1 CL 11 children, the issue of the social control of potentially difficult students, expected to come mostly from the lower classes in society, assumed paramount importance. In England, for example, after the Elementary Education Act of 1870 and the beginning of compulsory state education, policy makers were faced with the fundamental dilemma of how to make educational provision for all students, including those whose presence in the classroom was felt to be holding others back. One solution wss the kind of CcJtegoris&tion snd segregation of students that resulted from a largely medical and, subsequently, psychological response to the problem. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, students might be assessed as 'idiots', 'feeble-minded' and 'imbeciles' through the expertise of doctors and/or the growing profession of psychologists, and separated off from the rest for the good of the majority. Admission to asylums was considered suitable for those categorised as 'imbeciles', the 'feeble-minded' were educated in special schools or classes whilst the group labelled 'idiots' was not thought to be educable (Department

within special education illustrates how far categorical notions of student

central government regulations. It had its origins both in early labels of mental deficiency:

in the unstable, nervous child identified in Board of Education Reports in the 1920s, and also in the

'Maladjustment' is a vague term. Nevertheless, there is a major problem in that once a category has been 'invented' it creates its own discourse:

In his epidemiological study, which attempted to assess the prevalence of specific categories of difficulties in the school student population, Rutter (1970) considers that use of the term may be seen as the justification for special educational provision:

Invent the category, create the student. The category floats around waiting to 'gobble up' victims (Mehan, 1996):

extra resources to be provided for them (DfE, 1994a, para. 2:2). This figure of 2% is an arbitrary one, drawn from a count of students in special schools in 1944.