Professor Lani Florian

Bell Chair of Education


Professor Lani Florian, Bell Chair of Education Emerita is best known for her work on the concept of inclusive pedagogy, 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.

Professor Florian provides technical assistance on inclusive education projects in many countries and to international agencies. Over the years, she has worked with UNICEF, the OECD, Open Society Foundations, the British Council, the Council of Europe and the European Agency for Special and Inclusive Education to ensure the results of her research are being applied in schools and integrated into first and higher degrees in universities in around the world.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Lani serves on the board of of several 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.


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Past PhD students supervised

Miguel, Karen, Inclusion within the classroom – Transition Planning for Youths with Special Education Needs (Mild Intellectual Disability) in Trinidad and Tobago, 2023

Lakshmi Neelakantan, Exploring Adolescents’ Perceptions of a Self-Report Measure on Violence Against Children: A Multi-Country Study in Romania, South Africa, and the Philippines. 2020

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 Enhancing teacher education for inclusion in Europe