An Inclusive Perspective on Transition to Primary School


Stephen C & Cope P (2003) An Inclusive Perspective on Transition to Primary School. European Educational Research Journal, 2 (2), pp. 262-276.;

Despite a commitment to inclusion and equality in the national priorities for school education in Scotland the experience of children as they move from pre-school to primary school falls short of being an inclusive experience for all and some children are at risk of becoming disengaged from education at the beginning of their school career. In this paper we examine the process of transition to school through the ‘lens’ of inclusion. Our data comes from a study of the experience of 27 children during their first year in school. It was clear that teachers saw transition to school as a one-way process in which children had to ‘fit-in’ to school and did not see it as their task to respond to the diversity of children’s preferences, previous experiences or background. We argue that the teachers approach is akin to adopting a medical or individual model of inclusion (locating the difficulties in the child) rather than a social model that looks for the source of difficulties in the mismatch between the environment and the child’s needs. Adopting a social model allows for barriers to inclusion at the beginning of primary school to be identified and we explore some of the barriers that children experience with illustrations from our data.

transition to primary school; social model; barriers; teachers' perspectives; Teacher-student relationships; Readiness for school; Education, Primary Scotland; Inclusive education

European Educational Research Journal: Volume 2, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2003
PublisherSymposium Journals
Publisher URL