Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Student: Maria Rapti

Photo of Maria Rapti

Headteachers’ leadership role and inclusion of students with Special Educational Needs in primary mainstream schools in Epirus, Greece.

Submission Date: December 2015

In view of social-ethical discourses and the desire for school effectiveness and improvement, contemporary international education policy agendas are prioritizing inclusive schooling. Particular interest has been given to the inclusion of students with Special Educational Needs, as the risk of their exclusion from mainstream settings is notably high. Inevitably, in order to accommodate the ensuing diversity of the student population, schools are forced to change and leadership, as a pivotal factor in promoting school reform, is considered a crucial factor on the way towards inclusion.

Considering the above, I am investigating the contribution of school leadership, with a focus on head teachers, to the promotion of inclusion of children with Special Educational Needs in mainstream schools in Greece. Specifically, I am interested in examining the practices and strategies used by head teachers to promote inclusive schooling, the barriers and opportunities they encounter towards this end, as well as the ways in which they think that leadership could further promote inclusive education.

A mixed methods approach will be applied for this study. Initial interviews will inform the construction of a questionnaire, which will be followed by further in depth interviews. Asynchronous online focus groups will be also used as a method for creating data that could triangulate the findings. Moreover, a consultancy group of head teachers will be involved in the analysis of data with the aim to validate the interpretations.


I have a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education, which I obtained at the School of Education of the University of Ioannina in Greece (2007-2011). I also have a Master’s degree in Special Educational Needs, which I obtained at the School of Education of the University of Leeds (2011-2012). My Ph.D. is also funded by the University of Leeds.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

During my Bachelor’s and Master’s studies I got interested in issues related to both leadership and inclusion. The potential of conducting research which could improve leadership activity and consequently could also impact positively on achievement of students with Special Educational Needs motivated me to undertake Ph.D. study. At the very least, one of the incentives was also the fact that studying towards a Ph.D. would contribute to my professional development.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

I am interested in the wellbeing of students with Special Educational Needs and the area of inclusive leadership is under-researched, making me passionately willing to contribute in the knowledge in this field.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

After my Ph.D. I hope to continue researching best educational practices related to inclusion of students with Special Educational Needs.

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