Social inclusion: Innovative reform, policy manoeuvre or a bit of both?

Year: 2005

Author: Gill, Judith

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In the early days of this century the South Australian government followed Tony Blair's New Labour in its take up of social inclusion as a key reform agenda. Here as in the UK social inclusion was seen as a way out of the cul de sac into which campaigns for social justice appeared to have become stuck. In particular the state public schools were urged to adopt social inclusion as a central focus, perhaps most evidently in the government's repeated emphasis on the need to improve school retention. This paper traces the meanings of social inclusion in the context of state schooling in South Australia. Using data drawn from an investigation of Social Inclusion in South Australian Primary Schools the paper raises questions about the concept and its suitability as an instrument for the reform of educational systems and structures. Ultimately the paper concludes with a discussion of the needs of school leaders and teachers in order to implement the social inclusion initiative effectively.

Keywords: Education Policy