Evidence on inclusion and support for learners with disabilities in mainstream schools in South Africa: Off the policy radar?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Since the move towards inclusion in line with international trends and South Africa's attempts to address issues of marginalisation and discrimination amongst all learners, including those with special needs and disabilities, it has become evident on perusal of various research studies and reviews that there is an obsession with how far we have come since the introduction of an inclusive education policy in 2001 which formalises a strategy to ensure increased access and support for all learners within the system, including those with special needs and disabilities. There is an inherent assumption that we have not arrived as yet, and research suggests a continuing scepticism and lack of confidence amongst educators in mainstream settings to support children with disabilities in their schools and classrooms. This article focuses on research which shows that learners with disabilities are in fact being successfully included within one of these mainstream schools, by default and with a range of available support, despite not being designated as a 'full-service school'. The study is based on interviews with students with physical disabilities in a Black rural secondary school, as well as observations and interviews with staff and non-disabled students. Findings reveal an existence of teacher, peer and community support, including from a neighbouring special school, suggesting a notion of inclusion which was about naturally putting values into action. Such practice, I argue, remains obscure and off the policy radar in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number555075
Pages (from-to)1103-1117
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011


  • barriers
  • disability
  • inclusion
  • mainstream
  • policy
  • rural
  • secondary
  • South Africa
  • support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence on inclusion and support for learners with disabilities in mainstream schools in South Africa: Off the policy radar?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this