Divergences in the framing of inclusive education across the UK: a four nations critical policy analysis

Cathryn Knight, Carmel Conn, Tom Crick, Sian Brooks

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Commitments to inclusive education have been articulated in policy across the UK, in the context of increasingly inclusive rhetoric in education policy globally over recent years. This paper uses a critical policy analysis approach to understand the framing of inclusion within national legislation, policy documents and associated key resources from across the four UK nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The paper seeks to understand how the four UK nations articulate and portray their inclusive education policies and the political and ideological motivations and priorities that are apparent within these policies. Through this analysis, we find not only divergence between the four nations, but also within the policy documents of each nation. While documentation from Scotland shows a clearer voice and fewer examples of problematising the learner, across all UK nations we see complicated messaging and a lack of coherence in inclusive education policy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Review
Issue number00
Early online date22 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2023


  • inclusion
  • education policy
  • critical policy analysis
  • UK


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