Leadership for inclusive education: a case study of a school management team in an urban primary school.
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This thesis is a presentation of a school management team’s experiences of leadership for inclusive education in an urban primary school in South Africa. The study was guided by three research questions: What are evident leadership practices from the SMT that foster inclusive education in an urban primary school? What challenges does the SMT experience when fostering and leading for inclusive education? How does the SMT assist educators to fully embrace inclusive education in their classrooms? The study employed Bass’s Transformational Leadership Theory as it focusses on the possible role SMT’s play in guiding and supporting their educators when leading inclusive education at schools. This case study was approached from an interpretivist paradigm and adopted a qualitative approach. The participants were purposely sampled which included three management members of an urban primary school, the Principal of the school, a Senior Phase Departmental Head and an Intermediate Phase Departmental Head. Semi-structured interviews with all three participants and document analysis were the tools utilised for data generation. Data was analysed using the thematic analysis approach. The findings of the study revealed that there were many factors that contributed to the SMT’s experiences of leading inclusive education at their urban primary school. Four main themes and a few sub-themes emerged from the data that was generated. The themes were the leadership practices of SMTs for inclusive education; challenges of fostering and leading inclusive education; lack of parental support and the reasons why educators are not equally excited to embrace inclusive education. The sub-themes included provide mentoring to educators; leaders as role models; creating space for professional development; lack of adequate support from departmental structures; lack of resources for the successful implementation of inclusive education; lack of financial resources; lack of appropriate human resources and lack of additional teaching resources for learners with special needs. The findings revealed that the SMT members provided positive experiences that assured the educators they were leading, that they were not isolated or alone. The challenges that the SMT faced in leading inclusive education, formed a barrier to the successful implementation of inclusive education.