Professor Lani Florian

Bell Chair of Education


Professor Lani Florian is Bell Chair of Education and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS). She is best known for her work on the concept of inclusive pedagogy as a way of working that can improve educational outcomes for everyone, and teacher education for inclusive education. Her research challenges the assumption that  certain groups of children, in particular those who find learning difficult, have a detrimental effect on the achievement of other children and shows how high levels of inclusion can be entirely compatible with high levels of achievement. She argues that combining the two is not only possible but also essential if all children are to have the opportunity to participate fully in education.

Her ESRC seminar series, Teacher Education and the Changing Demographics of Schooling, combined contributions from doctoral students and colleagues in Moray House School of Education with national and international contributors in an edited book of the same title published by Springer in 2017. This book focuses on the role that teacher education can play in responding to issues of diversity in schools by seeking new theoretical approaches for the preparation of teachers which understands diversity from multiple perspectives and aims to enable all students to flourish as learners.

She is currently working with the Safe Inclusive Schools Network (SISN), an interdisciplinary group of researchers to explore the intersections of violence in childhood, learning outcomes and educational practices. This work extends the reach of inclusive education from concern with individual learning needs to understanding how issues that can affect the lives of any child can create barriers to learning. 

Professor Florian provides technical assistance on inclusive education projects in many countries and to international agencies including UNICEF, UNESCO, British Council, Open Society Foundations, and the Council of Europe.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Lani is a member of the American, British and European Educational Research Associations. She serves on the board of of five academic journals and is series editor of Inclusive Learning and Educational Equity a books series published by Springer. She is editor of the Sage Handbook of Special Education, now in its second edition, and co-author of Achievement and Inclusion in Schools, also in its second edition.

She is currently visiting adjunct professor at Teachers College Columbia University, New York.

Postgraduate teaching

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

  • Lakshmi Neelakantan, Understanding young people’s experiences of the ISPCAN Child AbuseScreening Tool (ICASTC): An investigation in multiple contexts.

Past PhD students supervised

Scott-Barrett, Julilet, Listening to Children on the Spectrum: Exploring Opportunities for Meaningful Interactions during Research, June, 2019

Murdoch, Diana, An exploration of the phenomenon of inclusive education in the life world of young people, parents and teachers, in a Scottish secondary school, January, 2019

Kim, Jiyoung, Inclusive Practice under a Policy of Integration: Learning from the implementation of support assistant provision in S. Korean schools, October, 2018

McLean, Justine,  The factors that enable and constrain Physical Education teachers to actas agents of change during large-scale educational reform, March 2018

Wang ,Yuchen, Imagine inclusive schooling: an ethnographic inquiry into disabled children’s learning and participation in regular schools in Shanghai, May 2016

Taiwo, Mary, Teachers’ negotiation of inclusive practice in Nigerian Classrooms, 2015

Fry, Deborah, Relationship Violence and Non-Partner Sexual Violence among Young Peopleand Young Adults in New York City: Implications for Practice (PhD by publication), 2015

Research summary

  • Inclusive pedagogy
  • Teacher education for incluisve education
  • Achievement and inclusion in schools
  • Safe incluisve schools
  • Special educational needs

Research interests include models of provision for meeting the needs of all learners, inclusive pedagogy and teaching practices in inclusive schools. Recent studies have focussed on the role of teacher education in promoting social and educational inclusion. This work has addressed questions about the knowledge and skills needed for teachers to be inclusive in their practice and how such practice might be developed.  


Current research interests

Achievement and Inclusion in Schools – mapping the pedagogical intervention literature across diverse groups of learners Exploring intersections of violence in vhildhood, inclusive practices and learning outcomes. Enhancing teacher education for inclusion in Europe

Project activity

Current projects:

Exploring the Intersections of Violence In Childhood, Inclusive Practices and Learning Outcomes

Achievement and Inclusion in Schools

Mapping teacher education for inclusive education activities

Current project grants

Enhancing teacher education for inclusion in European, European Educational Research Association

Past project grants

Recently completed projects:

Exploring the intersections of violence in childhood, learning outcomes and educational practices: Towards a new conceptual model, (co-applicant with Deborah Fry, and Gillean McCluskey, PI), University of Edinburgh College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Challenge Investment Fund

Teacher education for the changing demographics of schooling: policy, practice and research. ESRC Seminar Series, (with Nataša Pantić), University of Edinburgh, 2012.

Achievement and inclusion in schools (with Dr Kristine Black-Hawkins, University of Cambridge and Emeritus Professor Martyn Rouse, University of Aberdeen). Godfrey Thomson Trust

View all 101 publications on Research Explorer