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Removing barriers to learning: ways to promote inclusion in your school

Jayne Pletser, curriculum manager for inclusive education at the IB, shares ways to create a school environment that is committed to the ongoing process of removing barriers to learning for all students to promote equity, access and participation.

This blog is the third of four parts focusing on the inclusion and learning diversity in IB programmes, featuring examples from the IB community. The second blog shared ways to create an inclusive environment in the classroom.

  1. Define inclusion for your context and develop common understandings across the whole school community.
  2. Consider if barriers to learning are found in the way your school is organised and resourced, its culture and policies, its approaches to learning and teaching, it’s buildings and physical obstacles or the relationships among the community?
  3. Provide opportunities for professional development to enable all members of the school community to remove barriers to learning and ensure success as a key component of learning for all students.
  4. Facilitate a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support and problem solving involving the whole school community to develop inclusion.
  5. Empower students to develop agency and consult them during school development cycles.
  6. Nurture the creation of affirmative, responsive learning environments that build self-esteem, value prior knowledge and extend learning.
  7. Support the intentional, proactive design of learning.
  8. Write an inclusion policy that celebrates success and articulates the philosophy, practices and procedures developed to remove barriers to learning in your context.
  9. Collaborate with other schools and learning support agencies to form communities of practice which promote equity, access and participation.
  10. Focus on promoting equity, access and participation in school development.

Community examples of inclusion in the school:


Short video from Danish school shows inclusion in action

In this ten-minute video, teachers, coordinators, support staff, and school leaders from Copenhagen International school share their inclusion stories, expressing the importance of whole school development and their ambition to provide for a diversified range of students.

How to help students settle into a new school

Transferring to a new school at a different time to everyone else is often daunting for students. There’s the challenge of making friends, navigating unfamiliar surroundings, and even a different curriculum. This blog suggests ways teachers and schools can ease the move and make new students from different backgrounds feel welcome.

ISV school Patricia left with studenton first day

What inclusion looks like in our school

The Dwight School in New York (USA), Chadwick International in South Korea, and Alvin Dunn IB World Elementary School in California (USA), share how they’ve used the IB’s inclusion policies to create a positive learning environment for all students that struggle in their studies for whatever reason, eliminating the stigma on learning disabilities.

Introducing revised IB programme standards and practices

Curriculum Manager Pilar Quezzaire discusses the revised framework of programme standards and practices for future IB teaching and learning: how it differs from its forerunner and how it supports schools.


IB World School coordinators and teachers can read ‘Learning diversity and inclusion in IB programmes: Removing barriers to learning’ and ‘Access and inclusion policy’ to find out more about teaching, learning, and assessment for inclusive education. 

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