This paper reports on the effects that a teaching placement in a special school setting had on the attitudes of student teachers in Northern Ireland towards issues relating to inclusive education. Teacher attitude towards inclusion was consistently cited by the students as being central to its success. However, after the special school placement they expressed less support for inclusion than they had earlier in the pre-service year. Their concerns related the effects of inclusion on the learner. They perceived special schools to be more intimate, caring but importantly more personally supportive environments for the vulnerable learner than the mainstream schools they had experienced during previous placements to be. The findings of this study also indicate that those in pre-service see class size, resourcing and level of classroom support for teachers and learners in mainstream schools as issues to be addressed if inclusive education is to be successfully implemented in Northern Ireland.
- Special Educational Need
- Initial Teacher Education