Inclusive Classrooms

‘The Inclusive classroom is fundamental to inclusion and the core of best teaching practice’. 

Inclusive Learning and Collaborative Working: CIRCLE  Secondary 2016

Inclusive classrooms support all learners. Inclusion promotes learners’ autonomy and independence and allows the implementation of individualise support to be minimally intrusive.  Developing an inclusive classroom therefore meets professional and legislative duties.  It is also an effective use of time management.

For example, ensuring appropriate labelling and visual supports are in the classroom supports learners who experience language and communication challenges as well as those for whom English is an additional language.  

An inclusive classroom requires: 

  • Effective planning and organisation 
  • An understanding of the learner’s needs 
  • Reasonable adjustments to curriculum materials, class routines and assessment arrangements  
  • Liaison with relevant colleagues 
  • Effective management of resources and support staff time 

What makes a classroom feel inclusive to autistic learners? 

Whilst each autistic learner is an individual and will benefit from approaches to support that are responsive to their own profile of strengths and challenges, there are some features which are common to the autistic experience. 

The General Teaching Council for Scotland have published a guide for teachers: ‘Meeting the Needs of Autistic Learners’ which highlights seven key messages:  

  1. Difference not deficit 
  1. Environment first 
  1. Provide predictability 
  1. Make learning meaningful 
  1. Seek to understand distressed behaviour 
  1. Ensure adjustments are anticipatory 
  1. We were expecting you! 

professional-guide-meeting-needs-autistic-learners.pdf ( 

Further information and resources: 

CIRCLE provides evidence based resources, developed through extensive qualitative research with teachers to define best universal practice for inclusion in schools and nurseries. 

Good inclusive practice for all children and young people provides a foundation for good practice in supporting all children and young people with additional support needs, including autistic children.

The CIRCLE resources are for teachers and other people working in and with schools and early years settings to support inclusion and participation of all learners.  Links to the resources can be found here: 

Education Resources | ThirdSpace 

NAIT-Key-Messages-for-Returning-to-School-Final.pdf ( 

CIRCLE | ThirdSpace