Children’s participation in school grounds developments: creating a place for education that promotes children’s social inclusion



Mannion G (2003) Children’s participation in school grounds developments: creating a place for education that promotes children’s social inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 7 (2), pp. 175-192.

Abstract This paper advances the idea that ‘education for the social inclusion of children’ is similar but different to ‘inclusive education’ as it has come to be understood and used by some authors and UK government documents. ‘Inclusive education’ tends to carry an inward emphasis on the participation of children in the education system (with discussions on school culture, transitions, truancy, exclusion rates, underachievement, and school leaving age). In contrast, education for the promotion of children’s social inclusion requires an outward emphasis on children's participation in 'mainstream' society while they are still children. The latter emphasis is seen to be lacking in educational policy discourse in Scotland though a recent shift in policy towards education for active citizenship is noted. Examples are provided to show how many policy statements enact a limitation on the scope for education to promote children’s social inclusion by emphasising children’s deficits as social actors and focussing on the ‘condition’ of social exclusion. The paper draws on an empirical study of children’s participation in changing school grounds in Scotland. The analysis shows how the enclosure of learning in books, classrooms and normative curricula was challenged. Learning from school grounds developments was constructed relationally and spatially but the scope of what was to be learned was often delineated by adults. The paper closes with a discussion of how education that promotes the social inclusion of children will benefit from seeing both children and adults as current though partial citizens and utilising socio-spatial opportunities for the generation of uncertain curricula through their shared and/or differentiated participation.

childhood; schooling; participation; school grounds; inclusion; social inclusion; child-adult; relations; Play areas Design Scotland; Decision making in children; Environment and children; Social integration

International Journal of Inclusive Education: Volume 7, Issue 2

Publication date31/01/2003
PublisherTaylor & Francis

People (1)


Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor, Education