Teachers' attitudes towards inclusion in high schools

Christopher Boyle, Keith Topping, Divya Jindal-Snape

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the attitudes of secondary teachers to inclusion in schools. Three hundred and ninety-one teaching and management-level staff from 19 mainstream and 6 special schools in one local authority in Scotland completed a survey. Overall, teaching staff were pro-inclusion, conditional on adequate support and resources. There was a significant gender difference, with female teachers being more inclusive than their male colleagues. Head Teachers (School Principals) were the most inclusive group overall, followed by Deputy Head Teachers (Vice-Principals). Both were significantly more inclusive than teachers. There was no significant difference between practical and non-practical subjects, but there were differences between departments, with the Special Needs/Support for Learning department being the most inclusive. After the first year in teaching, there was a significant negative change in the attitude towards inclusion. However, length of service was not a significant factor in attitude. Whilst 68 of teachers indicated that they had no qualification in special education, studying for a module in special education after qualifying had a significantly positive impact on attitudes to inclusion. These findings suggest that inclusive education policies have to be more in tune with the views of practising teachers in order to work effectively. Suggestion is also made of the importance of studying inclusive education effectively at the teacher-training stage, and this finding has implications for how institutions prioritise inclusive education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527 - 542
Number of pages16
JournalTeachers and teaching: theory and practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this