Inclusive Practice – Examples from UK Schools

People throwing multi-coloured confetti in the air in celebration

Teaching is hard. Schools have their work cut out. On this blog I don’t just want to point out what schools are doing wrong, I want to celebrate inclusive practice.

Below is a list of inclusive policies and practice I’ve seen:


Thameside Primary School have ditched individual attendance awards. Their reasons for doing this are similar to those I outlined in my blog post, namely that good attendance is not within a primary school child’s control, that awards reward children who are ‘lucky’ enough not to be ill or have a chronic condition and that awards can cause victim blaming.

Instead they celebrate meeting whole school attendance targets by holding termly ‘Attendance Celebration Days’. On these days children can do fun things like wearing jeans to school for a day or doing face painting.


Westbourne Primary School have adopted a theraeuptic behaviour approach which includes:

  • ‘planned ignoring’ of low level behaviour,
  • positive language,
  • restorative practice,
  • rewards that are given unexpectedly (not as a form of bribery).

Crucially they do not use public methods of tracking behaviour – children’s names aren’t moved up and down or board, and feedback and praise are given privately. For more on the problem with behaviour charts see this excellent post by Dr Naomi Fisher.

This approach would be especially useful for those children who have Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA – a type of Autism) who find traditional reward systems and public praise very difficult to accept; also children with regulation difficulties or who have experienced trauma.

Emotional and Sensory Regulation

St Peter’s Catholic Primary School uses ‘Zones of Regulation’ as part of a whole school approach. Children who identify that they are not in the green zone are supported before they begin work. The school decided to adopt this inclusive practice because of a need they identified across the school.

Staff found that ‘many children across the school, not just those with an additional need, lacked the ability to talk about their emotional state or self-regulate and this was affecting readiness to learn. We concluded our behaviour system felt outdated. It only really worked well for compliant children and we needed something to develop long-term improvements in behaviour and emotional well being’.

St Andrew’s C of E Primary School has sensory toolboxes , called ‘Getting to My Green Zone, in every class, available for all students. These boxes contain calming activities and visuals for regulating activities and breathing exercises. They also have a mini-trampoline outside each class!

The boxes are just one part of sensory provision at the school. The focus on emotional regulation has led to positive outcomes for students and staff. Staff report a significant reduction in time spent on behaviour management and children report that they can focus and listen better.

Flexible Seating

Mayfield Primary School did an evaluation project of flexible seating across the whole school. Eleven different kinds of chairs where trialed across 14 classrooms. After 6 months students and staff feedback was obtained. Students were very positive about flexible seating and talked about how different types of seats affected their concentration levels, movement and comfort.

Staff reported that the use of flexible seating made teaching and supporting pupils easier, and they felt it led to improved pupil engagement, behaviour, comfort, mood, motivation and peer-to-peer collaboration’. They have now adopted flexible seating as a permanent inclusive practice. Flexible seating is particular helpful for children with ADHD and those who are sensory movement seekers as it offers children more movement opportunites.

One Page Profiles

Thameside Primary School have one page profiles for every student (and some staff). This enables staff to know what is important to a child and how best to support them. Having a one page profile is common for children with SEND but at Thameside have made this an inclusive practice for all children.

PE Variety

At Selby High School students have the choice of doing individual sports, team sports, fitness activities and new emerging sports. This approach allows children who struggle with team sports to engage, whether due to social or sensory difficulties or because of the pressure to win or fear of letting the team down. Many students who may not engage in traditional PE activities would enjoy doing individual sports or fitness activities. For more see my book ‘Inclusive PE for SEND Children‘.

PE Kit

In many schools forgotten PE kit means a child has to sit out of PE, and is often given a detention. At Kensington Primary School they have removed this barrier stating that if wearing the school PE kit is a ‘temporary barrier for any pupil/s taking part in the PE session, then they may wear any sporty/suitable/colour clothing/footwear, including tracksuits, shorts, trousers and suitable top’.

Relaxed Graduation

Whilst this is an example of inclusive practice by a University – it could inspire schools to do similarly. Nottingham Trent University gives students the option of attending a relaxed graduation ceremony to help students who are Autistic, have social anxiety or struggle with sensory overwhelm.

Support Room

At St. Brendan’s Sixth Form College, the Learning Development area is open to everyone to help them reach their ability. No diagnosis or support plans necessary.


St Paul’s Primary School allows children in reception and year 1 to wear polo shirts and jogging bottoms to school, as this promotes physical activity and is easier for children with sensory difficulties.

Kensington Primary School encourages children to wear jogging bottoms, t-shirts and trainers every day, to promote physical activity.

Relaxed uniform can make a huge difference to learners with sensory, organisational or physical difficulties.

More Inclusive Practice…

Do you have any examples of whole school inclusive practice? Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter and I will add them to this page! Let’s celebrate and learn from each other.