Dr. Fiona King, Lecturer at the School of Inclusive and Special Education, DCU Institute of Education, gave a keynote speech at the World Congress on Education (WCE-2016) which took place at the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland, from the 10th to 12th of October 2016 (www.worldconedu.org).
The theme of the conference was Global Issues in Education and Research and Dr. King was asked to speak on the topic ‘Inclusion’. Dr. King presented a paper entitled Inclusion: Paving a way forward…. She traced the history of inclusion from both a national and international context. In a bid to pave the way forward for inclusion she highlighted the importance of leadership for inclusion and drew upon findings from a collaborative self-study (with Dr. Anna Logan) which aimed to unlock teacher leadership for inclusion with pre-service teachers. Currently there is a dearth of researching exploring leadership at initial teacher education and this paper aimed to address this gap by presenting positive findings from students in their final year of undergraduate education. Analysis of data from multiple sources including teacher educator and student reflections, observations and evaluations showed that student teachers felt prepared to be leaders for , through lived experiences, when afforded opportunities to lead inclusion in a variety of contexts and reflect on their attitudes, beliefs and vision of leadership. What remains to be seen is how this is enacted as students enter into their first year of teaching; a current focus of study.