Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity. A wonderful book – but the last of its kind?

SEN80Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity

Third Edition (2015)

Norah Frederickson & Tony Cline

McGraw Hill OUP


Peter Limbrick writes: With over 700 pages, this important book is broad in its scope and fine in its detail. It is designed to differ from earlier books which, in the view of Frederickson and Cline ‘did not seem to us to reflect adequately the rapidly changing, increasingly diverse nature of the society we live in’.

We are offered an inspiring distinction between integration and inclusion. The former ‘involves the school in a process of assimilation where the onus is on the assimilating individual…to make changes so that they can “fit in”’. Inclusion, by contrast, ‘involves the school in a process of accommodation where the onus is on the school to change, adapting curricula, methods, materials, and procedures so that it becomes more responsive’. (It is good to see this written down, though we have known it since the 1960s.)

Inclusion, in the book’s title, is a supremely important subject because it is an indicator of a country’s attitude to children with SEN and the adults they will become. But Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity covers everything else as well: legislation, developmental frameworks, assessment, autism, behaviour, emotional needs and more, giving space to thoughtful discussion of different views and a vision of how good education could and should be.

But the authors’ ‘rapidly changing…society’ becomes an understatement in the light of the UK referendum. The negative and fearful mindset that has brought a majority to reject both a commitment to Europe and migrants from it will surely bring in its wake increased prejudice of all people who are ‘different’ in some way and a further strangling of funds that would support their education, health and wellbeing.

Frederickson and Cline have produced an authoritative text for the journey we all thought we were on.  It holds essential information for all of us in the field and for SEN campaigners – many of whom might soon come to feel they must go back to the beginning and start their fight again. We will have to wait and see if there will be demand and funds for a fourth edition.

share your information  Cartoon © Martina Jirankova-Limbrick 2011