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The role of educational psychology in promoting inclusive education

26 April 2022

Promoting inclusive education has multiple benefits for children, the quality of education and can be more cost-efficient, says a new position paper from the Division of Educational and Child Psychology.

The DECP paper explores what inclusive education looks like, and how psychology and psychologists can play a crucial role in promoting greater inclusivity in the educational environments in which they work.

Exploring existing research into the effectiveness of inclusive education, it suggests that a fully inclusive education system in the UK might be more cost-efficient than the current mixed-model. In terms of ‘social cost accountancy’, it may also improve collective mental health and wellbeing, leading to measurable benefits for schools, communities and society as a whole.

Psychologists have an important role to play in supporting social justice, which will help educational provisions to meet the learning needs of all students - including those students most vulnerable to discrimination, segregation or exclusion. 

The paper encourages educational psychologists to promote a collaborative approach – moving away from individually orientated ‘deficit model’ approaches, and to consider the wider picture of environmental or systemic factors that can contribute to a child’s needs.

Dr Victoria Lewis, co-chair of the DECP, said:

“The DECP is committed to promoting inclusivity, as can be seen from our recent conference which focused on developing equality, diversity and inclusion in education. Educational psychologists can help to set standards which can help to improve education for all. 

"Some great work is going on within our profession, but we still have a lot more to do. We need to continue to challenge harmful discourse and practice and to ensure that the celebration of diversity forms a meaningful and everyday aspect in all of our work.”

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