In the World Library of Educationalists series, international experts themselves compile career-long collections of what they judge to be their finest pieces – extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, major theoretical and practical contributions – so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Readers will be able to follow the themes and strands and see how their work contributes to the development of the field.

Professor Sally Tomlinson brings together 12 of her key writings in one place, including chapters from her best-selling books and articles from leading journals.

In this landmark publication she reviews and recounts the history and development of her research and writing over 30 years that is concerned with the politics of education systems, especially special education, and the place of social classes and ethnic and racial minorities in the systems.

Social class, race and gender have historically always been essential markers in deciding who would receive a minimum or inferior education and thus fail to obtain whatever were currently acceptable qualifications. Definitions of the ‘less able’ or ineducable were based on beliefs in the biological and cultural inferiority of lower social classes, racial and immigrant groups. Professor Tomlinson’s aim in her work has always been to introduce sociological, historical and political perspectives into an area dominated by psychological, administrative and technical views and to explain how the individual ‘problems’ were connected to wider social structures and policies. This unique collection illustrates the development of Professor Tomlinson’s thinking over the course of her long and esteemed career.

chapter |11 pages


A sociological perspective

chapter 1|2 pages

Class Analysis and Colonial Immigrants

chapter 2|17 pages

A Sociology of Special Education

chapter 3|10 pages

The Expansion of Special Education

chapter 5|20 pages

The Irresistible Rise of the Sen Industry

chapter 7|12 pages

Race and Special Education

chapter 8|17 pages

The British National Identity

chapter 9|7 pages

Educational Reforms

Ideologies and visions

chapter 10|13 pages

Home-School Links

chapter 11|12 pages

Education in a Post-Welfare Society

chapter 12|14 pages

Low Attainers in a Global Knowledge Economy

chapter 13|10 pages

Disability in Somaliland