Inclusive Education


The AARE Inclusive Education SIG aims to provide a forum for researchers in inclusive education to present research, collaborate and discuss current issues. The SIG endorses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) definition of inclusive education which is outlined in General Comment No. 4 on Article 24, as:

. . . a process of systemic reform embodying changes and modifications in content, teaching methods, approaches, structures and strategies in education to overcomebarriers with a vision serving to provide all students of the relevant age range with an equitable and participatory learning experience and environment that best corresponds to their requirements and preferences. (United Nations, 2016, para 11)

Inclusion is incompatible with the segregation of children into special schools and classes. It is also incompatible with integration, which is when students are required to attend an unreconstructed “mainstream”.

Research interests:

Research interests represented in the SIG include:

  • Students’ lived experience of education and student voice
  • Analyses focusing on inclusion/exclusion
  • Teaching diverse learners and students with complex learning profiles
  • Inclusive pedagogy, curriculum and assessment
  • Disability as it intersects with minority and cultural identity including colour, ethnicity, gender, Indigeneity, language, race, religion, sexuality, and socioeconomic status.
  • Global education policy and its effects on inclusion
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Teacher education for inclusive education
  • Disability studies in education

Risks and opportunities in achieving an inclusive schooling system in Australia: A pre-mortem

Welcome and setting the scene
Dr Kate de Bruin & Mr Graeme Innes AM
Lessons from prospective hindsight: The way ahead for Australia
Mr Graeme Innes AM
Lessons from Canada
Dr Gordon Porter & Mr Jody Carr
Lessons from Ireland
Dr Joanne Banks & Dr Michael Shevlin
Lessons from Portugal
Dr Paula Frederica Hunt
Reflections from Australia
Dr Suzanne Carrington, Dr Kate de Bruin & Dr Sofia Mavropoulou
Lessons from South Africa
Dr Wacango Kimani & Dr Elizabeth Walton

Presenter Bios:

Dr Joanne Banks 
Dr Joanne Banks is an Assistant Professor and researcher in inclusive education at the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin. Joanne's research interests are in the field of inclusive education and educational inequality. She has published widely on special and inclusive education policy and practice, school exclusion, and student diversity. She is the creator/presenter of the Inclusion Dialogue podcast series.

Dr Michael Shevlin
Dr Michael Shevlin is a Professor in Inclusive Education and Director of the internationally renowned and award-winning, Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Trinity College Dublin. As Director of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, he manages the delivery of an accredited education into employment transition programme for young people with intellectual disabilities. His research interests focus on developing inclusive learning environments and facilitating learner voice within mainstream settings. He has published widely within the area of inclusive education and contributed to policy-making in establishing inclusive education environments in Ireland.

Mr Jody Carr 
Mr Jody Carr is currently a lawyer in private practice in Fredericton and Oromocto, New Brunswick. He has more than 20 years of experience in political, legislative and government affairs. Mr. Carr was first elected to the New Brunswick Legislature in 1999. He served as Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development between 2010-2013 and two terms as Minister of Post -Secondary Education, Training and Labour in 2006 and from 2013 to 2014. These mandates included responsibility for early childhood learning, public schools, universities and colleges, labour, training and the human rights commission.

Dr Gordon Porter 
Gordon L. Porter, C.M., O.N.B. is the Director of Inclusive Education Canada and a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick. He has focused on making schools inclusive for more than four decades. Dr. Porter has worked as a principal, school district administrator, and university professor. He has been a senior policy advisor to Education Ministries in Canada, Peru, Panama, Colombia, the Bahamas, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, and the Netherlands. He is currently a policy advisor on an EU-funded project on inclusion policy in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Gordon Porter is the former chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Association of Human Rights Agencies. He has edited several books and videos about inclusive education. He received the Canadian Education Association’s - Whitworth Award for Research in Education.

Dr Elizabeth Walton
Elizabeth is a Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham with an interest in inclusive education. She is the co-convenor of the Unesco chair for Teacher Education for Diversity and Development and is also a visiting Professor at the Wits School of Education in Johannesburg South Africa. Elizabeth’s research applies diverse theoretical perspectives to understand exclusion and enable the realisation of more inclusive and equitable education systems. Her research interests include

● Teacher education for inclusive teaching;
● The field of inclusive education - its history, knowledge, and knowers
● Exposing exclusion and enabling inclusion in education.

Dr Wacango Muguro Kimani
Dr Wacango Kimani is a researcher and teacher educator in the field of inclusive education and is based in South Africa. She is a teacher by background, working as an inclusive educator in classrooms within both primary and secondary schools. Her current academic research focuses on practices that promote and support the inclusion of all students with a particular focus on teachers’ quality of engagement within professional learning communities.

Dr Paula Hunt
Dr Paula Hunt is a Portuguese native with a vast teaching experience in both Portugal and the USA, where she holds teaching certificates in both regular and special education. She completed Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Special Education, as well as a Graduate Specialization in International Development. Paula started her professional life working in special schools with children "at risk", children with disabilities, children with special education needs, and children and adolescents in conflict with the law, or in the care of the State. While working in segregated settings, such as special schools and institutional care facilities, she became an advocate for Inclusive Education. After dedicating 20 years to the teaching profession, she transitioned to a long-term consultancy at the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia as the Inclusive Education Specialist and Regional Disability Focal Point.
Paula has managed and operated DED Lda. since 2015 and worked with countries from Europe, Africa, Asia and North America to realise the rights of children under the United Nations CRC and the CRPD.

Dr Suzanne Carrington
Suzanne is a Professor in The Centre for Inclusive Education (C4IE) and a member of the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice. Suzanne’s areas of expertise are in inclusive education, ethical leadership for inclusive schools, disability and teacher preparation for inclusive schools. She has engaged in research to inform policy and practice in Australian and international education contexts. She has published over 100 journal publications, books, book chapters and research reports. She was the Program Director of Program 2: The School Years for The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) (2013-2022). Her work appears in leading international journals.

Dr Kate de Bruin 
Dr Kate de Bruin is a former high-school teacher and Senior Lecturer in inclusive education at Monash University in Australia. Her research is based on a human rights approach to education and draws on the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework to examine legislation, policy and funding models, as well as system, school and classroom level practices that are supported by evidence and that improve educational equity, quality and inclusion for all. Kate’s current projects focus on system-wide scaling of MTSS to ensure high-quality literacy instruction for all students and equitable access to intervention and support on the basis of need.

Dr Sofia Mavropoulou
Dr Sofia Mavropoulou is Associate Professor at the School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education and Leader for the Inclusion/Exclusion Program at the Center for Inclusive Education at Queensland University of Technology. Sofia is Convenor for the Inclusive Education Special Interest Group in AARE , Study Area Coordinator for the Inclusive Education Study Area (Master of Education) and Vice Chair of the Faculty Equity Committee at QUT. Her research is mainly focused on evidence-based tiered supports for autistic learners. In collaboration with colleagues, Sofia has explored social inequalities for families raising autistic children and has analyzed disability policies in Australia.

Graeme Innes, AM 
Graeme Innes AM is a lawyer, author, and company director. His autobiography Finding A Way achieved popular acclaim in 2016. Graeme led the merger of four blindness agencies to form Vision Australia, and chaired the board of that agency. He is also a Director of The National Disability Insurance Agency and The State Insurance Regulatory Authority, regulating workers’ compensation and motor vehicle accident insurance in NSW. He is the Chancellor of Central Queensland University. He has been a human rights practitioner for more than 30 years and is a conference presenter and facilitator. Graeme was a Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for nine years, responsible for issues relating to disability, race and human rights.