A key aim of ISEN is to provide an open, welcoming and collaborative space for dialogue about Inclusive and Special Education. We are committed to engaging with different theoretical perspectives and methodologies that address areas of equalities and education. We believe that our theoretical and methodological choices in our research inform ethical and person centred practice. We see the importance of sharing our work across sectors and establishing a strong link between our department and the communities we work with. We draw from an exciting and challenging range of research methodologies, for example inclusive methodologies, feminist methodologies, southern and indigenous methodologies, participatory action research, collaborative methods, creative and art based approaches.

This Research Network is interested in the learning and participation of children, young people and adults within education settings. We are concerned with moving beyond traditional and normative conceptualisation of disability, difference and diversity and to use our research to challenge inequity. We are particularly interested in (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • Inclusion, Inclusive education and removing barriers to learning?.
  • Exclusion, behaviour management and Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs across the life course.
  • Special Educational Needs: e.g. role of SENCos, policy, assessment and identification; the role of Special Education provision, school practices and approaches to supporting learners?.
  • Alternative Education and alternative pedagogies, for example, Outdoor Learning, Arts Based education and therapeutic education.
  • The role of parents in education, related to parent involvement, engagement and partnerships with education professionals?
  • Widening access to and participation into compulsory and non-compulsory education sectors including higher education.
  • Educational experiences and outcomes of diverse and underrepresented groups, including people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups, white working class children and young people, and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
  • Educational outcomes and experiences of  youth offenders, adult education, looked after children, mature older students, ? Participation, relationship between digital technologies and different age groups of people.
  • Lifelong learning for mature learners, disabled learners? University role in reaching out to communities.
  • The role of universities in Widening Participation.


Find out about upcoming events.


Learn more about us on the ISEN blog.

Our research

Visit our profile on Explore Bristol Research to learn more about our research output and projects.

MSc Education with Special and Inclusive Education

We offer an MSc Education with a Special and Inclusive Education specialism and students on this programme become members of this supportive and active network. We also welcome inquiries about doctoral research in any of the above areas.

Network Convenor

Helen Knowler



If you would like to join this network or have any queries about our work please contact the Network Convenor.

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