Attitudes Towards the Inclusion of Autistic Learners: A Study of Scottish Primary School Teachers

Aidan Miller

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Abstract

In Scotland, the presumption of mainstreaming alongside the introduction of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act in 2004 means that the diversity of learners in the mainstream classroom is increasing. Recent data suggests, 32.3% of learners have some form of additional support need and 97.5% of these learners are being supported within their mainstream classroom. One specific group of learners who may, require additional support are autistic learners. Research suggests that the attitudes held by teachers have an impact on the success of inclusive education and thus they should be examined in order to determine the success of, and to identify any barriers to, inclusion (Ewing et al., 2018).

The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of Scottish primary school teachers towards the inclusion of autistic learners in mainstream classrooms. The study also examined whether demographic differences between the teachers had an impact on their attitudes towards inclusion. Participants were recruited using social media and 413 responses were collected from teachers across Scotland. Data was collected using an online questionnaire which used an adapted version of the Teacher Attitudes Towards Inclusion Scale (TATIS) (Cullen et al., 2010) and a demographic questionnaire. Participants also had the opportunity to leave a detailed comment on their views towards inclusion.

Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data collected from the respondents. The main finding from the study was that 78% of Scottish primary school in this study held a positive attitude towards the inclusion of autistic learners. Newly qualified teachers (NQT) were found to be the most inclusive group of teachers in the study. These findings are consistent with previous studies conducted in other countries such as Australia, the United States of America, Finland, Greece, and Turkey. The use of collaborative teaching methods, such as team teaching, to support inclusion was also found to be popular amongst respondents and the effectiveness within the Scottish context needs to be explored further.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
  • University of Glasgow
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • autistic learners
  • Scottish education
  • Scottish primary schools

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