School management teams and teachers’ perspectives on their role in the implementation of inclusive education policy: a case study of three primary schools in Umkhanyakude district.
Thabede, Khombisile Jeanette.
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The study explored School Management Teams and teachers‟ perspectives about the role they played in implementing Inclusive Education policy in three primary schools in Umkhanyakude District. The motivation for the study was rooted in my personal experiences and observations as a teacher for 24 years and 12 years as a school principal in a primary school. My observation was that many SMTs and teachers struggled to have Inclusive Education policy implemented. As a result, these challenges have impacted on the quality of education offered at the school. It was on the basis of these challenges that I decided to explore the SMTs and teachers‟ role in the implementation of Inclusive Education policy in primary schools. The study was focused on the field of educational leadership and management and was underpinned by Bush (2003) collaborative model and transformational leadership theory. A qualitative approach was used and it was located within the interpretivism paradigm. This paradigm was deemed appropriate because the study sought to understand the role that the SMTs and the teachers played in the implementation of Inclusive Education policy in their schools. Therefore, the participants were principals, HODs and teachers from three primary schools. Data gathering was done using three instruments which were semi-structured interviews, observation and documents review. The study was located in three rural primary schools in Umkhanyakude District in KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. The study focused on only three primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal and therefore, the findings could not be generalised across the province or the district. Data were analysed and results showed that although the policy was implemented but there were challenges in the implementation. Strategies were mentioned by schools but they were still far from achieving what would be called full implementation of Inclusive Education policy. Recommendations were made where parents were suggested to be involved in schools. Again, it was recommended that the participating schools need to form partnership with other stakeholders who included government departments and NGOs. Teacher training was also recommended where enough time had to be allowed in their training sessions.