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Social capital and the evaluation of inclusiveness in Scottish further education colleges

Doughty, H. and Allan, Julie (2008) Social capital and the evaluation of inclusiveness in Scottish further education colleges. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 32 (3). pp. 275-284. ISSN 0309-877X

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Educational establishments are now legally bound to create inclusive learning environments. However, successful implementation will depend on changes in the culture and ethos of these institutions, as well as shifts in the attitudes and practices of staff. This article reports on the findings of an evaluation of staff development sessions led by the Scottish Further Education Unit (SFEU). The social model of disability developed by disabled people was used to analyse the barriers to inclusiveness as identified by staff and students. Through the concept of 'social capital', which focuses on the networks, norms and trust between individuals, the extent to which SFEU staff development activities had led to more inclusive practice was assessed. An example of the way in which SFEU staff purposefully encouraged the establishment of social capital is given. Finally, the possibilities for the development of more inclusive further education contexts are discussed.