Developing an Inclusive Curriculum by Chris Bradshaw


Inclusive Curricula Design

York St John University

January 23 2015



The Project

Years 1 & 2- Case Studies and Subject Themes

Year 3 – The Student Voice

General Observations on Inclusion



Internationalisation of HE

Equality Act 2010

Reasonable adjustments

Promote equality of opportunity

Promote understanding between groups

Scottish Funding Council priority


To date many initiatives have looked at diversity in terms of one specific protected characteristic:


International students

Need to redefine what is meant the inclusive curriculum.

Scottish Funding Council funded project

Curriculum design

Curriculum delivery


Some Fundamental Issues

Occupational segregation – staff

Engineering, (some) Science, Education, Computing,


Subject segregation – Students

Engineering, (some) Science, Education, Computing,

HR, Sports (coaching)

Student Retention


Pass rates

Students as co-creators

Inclusive Practice

‘Inclusive Curriculum Practice refers to the process of developing, designing and refining programmes of study to minimise the barriers that students may face in accessing the curriculum.’ Gravestock (2008:1)

HEA Change Programme

Developing an Inclusive Culture in HE (4 Scottish HEIs involved)

College Change Programme

8 Colleges Involved

Institutional Case Studies

2 further institutional case studies (1HE & 1FE) to show how change has been carried at the institutional level.

Report available from HEA


Equality and

Diversity in the


A three year programme funded by the

SFC and run by the Higher


Academy and



Years 1 & 2

• Individual Academic

Members of Staff

• Departments / Discipline


• Institutional Level Work

Individual Academic Members of


Specialist Workshops

Collection of Case Studies (on-going)

Brokerage Service (run by Scotland’s Colleges)

Capacity Building Workshops / Materials

Enabling Staff Engagement in the Inclusive Curriculum and

Using Evidence Based Approaches to Enhance Inclusive


Developing a series of on-line resources

Departments / Discipline Groups

Departments / Discipline Groups

A series of discipline based workshops

Eight areas

Built Environment



Health and Social Care


Beauty and Hairdressing

Business & Management

Computing Science

Students as Co-Creators of


Research by Dr Catherine Bovill, Lecturer, Academic

Development Unit, University of Glasgow

Student at University College


“You work in a university and you get surrounded by people who should like teaching but who really don’t like teaching and don’t like students…’they’re so stupid’, ‘they don’t do any work’, ‘they’re so lazy’…and I think actually, it’s our problem, because they’re not, they’re smart,

they’re engaged, they’re interested.” (UCD)

The tutor-student relationship

Tutors as gatekeepers to curricula design

Relationship as litmus test to motivations of tutor & students

Students as experts in student experience

Tutors have expert knowledge & control over assessment

Tutor and students as learners in joint inquiry

(Freire, 1993)

The importance of the nature of dialogue

(Fischer, 2005; Haggis, 2006)

Exposure to rich pedagogical variety - experimentation

Is there a curriculum without students?

(Barnett & Coate, 2005)

Tutors operate within the constraints of a market-driven university system

(McLean, 2006; Parker, 2003)

Legitimate concerns about handing over control and loss of expertise

How can you teach inclusively?

Be reflective by asking yourself the following:

How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students?

How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom?

 How can you modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more accessible to all students in your class?

Incorporate diversity into your overall curriculum.

Be intentional about creating a safe learning environment by utilizing ground rules.

Be proactive in connecting with and learning about your students.

Utilize a variety of teaching strategies, activities, and assignments that will accommodate the needs of students with diverse learning styles, abilties, backgrounds, and experiences.

Use universal design principles to create accessible classes. For example, present information both orally and visually.

When possible, provide flexibility in how students demonstrate their knowledge and how you assess student knowledge and development.

Be clear about how students will be evaluated and graded. Provide justifications.

Take time to assess the classroom climate by obtaining mid-semester feedback from students.

Cornell University (2014)

4 Scottish HEIs

Student interviewers in each

Each interviewer doing 40 interviews (10 from each of 4 broad curriculum areas)

160 Voices

Data Collection & Analysis

Student comments

“Yeah definitely different, it’s hard to discriminate against me I’m a young straight white guy, but it does happen to others”

I saw great picture in an Education seminar which had a goldfish, a monkey, and elephant and a bird and they were all asked to go climb that tree. The goldfish is going to suck. You know you have to set a challenge which is achievable but you have to differentiate them for the different people in you class. You should know that especially after you have met them in your seminar. As an education student you should be looking for ways in which you can provide that opportunity to meet the expectation for everyone in that room

What’s been tried?

Curriculum Audits

Self analyses

Institution and Departmental level

Funded research

Student collaboration


Often linked to learning and teaching strategies

Compliance based approaches

Threat of litigation

The Future

Move away from ‘disability obsession’

Promote academic teachers as owners of inclusive curricula

Institutionalise or departmentalise….not projects

Use subject networks

Spread best practice

Further joint approaches with students

Any questions?


Gravestock, P. (2011) Incluisve Curriculum Practices, e-bulletin, University of Gloucestershire / Higher Education



Caruana, V. (2011) Promoting students’ ‘resilient thinking’ in diverse higher education learning environments, C-SAP, available at .