Inclusion in Scotland: “We're a' Jock Tamson's Bairns"


  • Louise Hayward
  • George MacBride


Inclusion,  Policy, Social Justice, Cultural Change


Inclusion is a deeply contested concept. This article tracks how the complexities of this concept are emerging in one small country in Europe, Scotland. Current legislative and policy contexts in Scotland appear to be attempting to promote a culture where there is a concern for every citizen. This article begins by describing the comprehensive education system in Scotland and analyses some of the tensions inherent in the realisation of the comprehensive ideal. Major pieces of legislation have been introduced in Scotland intended to promote inclusion in Scotland’s schools. However, the ways in which the legislation has been enacted differs and the article explores both how ideas of inclusion have been developed in positive ways and also how the new language of inclusion has been incorporated into old paradigms of special education. Finally, the article reflects on the relationship between current national developments in curriculum and assessment in Scotland and argues that whilst inclusion is a central aspiration, there would have to be far greater co-ordination of economic, social and educational policies for Scotland ever to become an inclusive society.








Hayward, L., & MacBride, G. (2010). Inclusion in Scotland: “We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns". Zeitschrift für Inklusion, 4(2).