University of Glasgow professor leads global education initiative

children around a latptop

The UNESCO International Bureau of Education has published Reaching Out to All Learners, a set of resource materials that will be used globally to promote inclusion and equity in education.

Developed by Professor Mel Ainscow CBE, professor of education at the University of Glasgow, with advice from a group of international experts, the materials focus on the greatest challenge facing education systems around the world, that of finding ways of including and ensuring the learning of all children in schools.

According to the materials, the promotion of inclusion and equity in schools involves developing a welcoming and supportive culture within school communities, and that the terms ‘inclusion’ and ‘equity’ must be clearly defined in ways that speak to a diverse range of stakeholders. 

Definition of inclusion and equity

The UNESCO Guide for Ensuring Inclusion and Equity in Education (2017) defines inclusion and equity as follows:

  • Inclusion is a process that helps overcome barriers limiting the presence, participation and achievement of learners
  • Equity is about ensuring fairness, where the education of all learners is seen as having equal importance.

Reaching Out to All Learners consists of three guides: 

Guide 1. Leading Inclusive School Development 

Guide 2. Developing Inclusive Classrooms

Guide 3. Working with Partners

Drawing on Professor Ainscow’s research over many years, the guides emphasise processes of collaborative inquiry, within which those using the materials are encouraged to work together in reviewing and developing their thinking and practices.

While the resource pack can be read by individuals, it has been designed to encourage collaborative forms of professional learning within schools and other educational settings.

Commenting on the project, Professor Ainscow says:

“The central message is simple: every learner matters and matters equally. The complexity arises, however, when we try to turn this principle into action. This is likely to require significant changes in thinking and practice within schools. This resource pack has been designed with this agenda in mind: it is about the development of thinking, policies and practice within schools.

“The publication of this resource pack comes at an important moment as countries take action to ensure educational recovery. Teachers are central to this challenge. Having piloted these materials in various parts of the world, we know that they can make a difference’.

Reaching Out to All Learners is available free at:

Photo by Daniel Hurst Photography, reproduced courtesy of the Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence


We are the Network for Social and Educational Equity, based in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow. We work with governments, educational institutions, local authorities and teachers to promote educational change.

Leave a Reply

About NSEE

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) is part of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) at the University of Glasgow.

It works in collaboration with schools, local authorities, Education Scotland and partner services to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in young people’s education.

NSEE helps schools to use appropriate evidence and data within collaborative working approaches to critically examine context and current arrangements, make changes based on evidence, monitor the impact of these changes and reflect on what they learn.

Recent Posts


Sign up for our Newsletter