Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Common practices

Watch a short video to find out how different segregation, exclusion, integration and inclusive education really are.
So, what about other terms, like exclusion, segregation and integration? What do these mean and how are they different to inclusive education? Exclusion is when students are denied access to education. Exclusion can be direct, where a school refuses or cancels a student’s enrolment. Or, it can be indirect, and this is sometimes known as gatekeeping. Segregation is when students are provided education in a separate environment to their peers. Examples of segregated education include special schools or classes that are only for certain students … or when students with disability are taught in the same classroom as their peers, but in a separate space, using different resources. Integration is when students with disability are placed in existing mainstream classrooms, but no adjustments take place.
This means the student must adapt or change, but the classroom, teaching practices and assessment tasks remain the same. Remember, genuine inclusion occurs when all children are educated in regular classrooms in their local school alongside their same-age peers with adjustments to curriculum, instruction, assessment and the environment. It is important that we can identify the differences in these practices to help us successfully implement genuine inclusive education.

What isn’t inclusive education?

General Comment No. 4 also defines models of education provision that are incompatible with inclusion. These are called exclusion, segregation and integration. You may have seen these in action.

Identifying genuine inclusion

In the absence of a clear definition of inclusion, education systems around the world have allowed exclusion, segregation and integration to continue. In fact, in the case of integration, many well-meaning educators have believed they were faithfully enacting inclusion. It is important that we can identify the difference so that we can successfully implement inclusive education.

Talk about it

Remember Daniel? What practice did his school adopt? We know it’s not inclusion. Is it exclusion, segregation or integration? Share your thoughts and explain why you came to this conclusion. You might like to revisit Is this inclusion? to read his story again.
This article is from the free online

Inclusive Education: Essential Knowledge for Success

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education