1st Edition

Effective Teacher Education for Inclusion Critical Perspectives on the Role of Higher Education

By Deborah Robinson Copyright 2025
    240 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Drawing on research carried out in partnership with schoolteachers, school leaders and student teachers, this book presents cutting-edge research on teacher education and how it can be used to achieve inclusive mainstream classrooms.

    Theoretically robust and guided by the author’s nearly 40 years’ experience as an educationalist, this research-informed book offers an account of the practices and principles that underpin effective teacher education for special educational needs and disability (SEND). Chapters propose transformative approaches towards effective teacher education whilst also exploring the dangers of de-intellectualisation to the promotion of inclusive practices; in doing so, the book reasserts the indispensability of intellectual labour to the development of the inclusive teacher. Ultimately, the book argues that teacher education curricula must include critical-theoretical work and reflexive projects, offering intellectually rich and critical approaches whilst also defending the important role that higher education plays in the context of partnership with schools.

    At a time when urgent questions around equity are being discussed on the global stage, this book will be of interest to scholars, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of inclusion and special education, teacher education, and the theory of education more broadly. Teacher educators and policy makers working towards equitable, quality education for all will also find the volume of use.

    0. Introduction to Effective Teacher Education for Inclusion: Critical perspectives on the role of Higher Education in a Neoliberal Age.           

    1. The incongruence of Neoliberalism and Inclusive Teacher Education        

    2. Conceptual and Spatial complexities and their implications for teacher education for SEND and inclusive practices.      

    3. Principles and Practices for Effective Inclusive Teacher Education        

    4. Researching effective inclusive teacher education.     

    5. Research findings: Learning to be inclusive - conceptual challenges and intellectual labour.

    6. Conditions for learning; critical thought and action in a collaborative milieu      

    7. Proposals for developing effective inclusive teacher education and the role of Higher Education in a Neoliberal Age     


    Deborah Robinson is a Professor of Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion at the University of Derby, UK.

    “This is an important book, full of rich insights, that presents a refreshing approach to addressing the challenges of inclusion by boldly engaging with complexity and advocating for the vital preparation of new teachers through navigating the historical, political, and practical hurdles they will face. In doing so, the book confronts the prevailing neoliberal culture that has marketised education, fragmented teacher agency, and standardised practices, thereby marginalising the most vulnerable in our schools. Grounded in research, Deborah thoughtfully emphasises the importance of recognising and reclaiming the intellectualisation of teacher preparation as an integral feature of higher education, highlighting the professional obligations required to support all children.

    This book is therefore an essential read for anyone interested in thoughtful consideration of teacher development and inclusion as it offers important alternatives to the prevailing superficial orthodoxies that now exist. By advocating for the redesign and re-politicisation of teacher education Deborah offers important and intelligent insights to address urgent questions, offering a new model of inclusion education that emerges through an enriched curriculum capable of challenging the neoliberal discourses that currently perpetuates the inequalities in our education system.”

    David Spendlove, Associate Dean and Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, UK.