South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
WALTON, Elizabeth; NEL, Norma; HUGO, Anna and MULLER, Helene. The extent and practice of inclusion in independent schools in South Africa. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.1, pp. 105-126. ISSN 2076-3433.
In line with international trends in education, South Africa has embraced inclusive education as the means by which learners who experience barriers to learning will be educated. As inclusion is beginning to be realised in South African schools, a gap in the emerging research base on inclusive education is that of inclusion in the independent sector. A study was undertaken to establish the extent to which learners who experience barriers to learning are included in independent schools belonging to ISASA (the largest independent schools association in South Africa) and the practices that facilitate inclusion. The results of a survey administered to principals were analysed quantitatively and reveal that most ISASA schools include learners who experience various barriers to learning and employ inclusive practices that are described in the international literature. We report on salient aspects emerging from the study and focus on the diversity of learners found in ISASA schools, as well as the inclusive practices found at school-wide, classroom, and individual levels. The practices described are the provision of on-site specialist personnel, support for teachers, building modifications to ensure access by persons using wheelchairs and various instructional practices and assessment adaptations. Recommendations arising from the study may give direction to South African schools pursuing inclusivity.