Tag Archives: inclusion

Improving the Practice of Teaching Assistants

Julie Radfordpost by JULIE RADFORD

Institute of Education, University of London.

Teaching assistants (TAs) are supporting our most disadvantaged children in almost every classroom in the UK. Despite our inclusive education system, these young people can be segregated because they spend more time talking with a TA than with the teacher. Of major concern is that, unlike the teacher, TAs often have limited training or preparation to do this very important job. Continue reading Improving the Practice of Teaching Assistants

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Promoting Inclusion Through Authentic Pupil Voice

Mhairi Beatonpost by MHAIRI C BEATON
University of Aberdeen

At present, student voice is widely considered to be integral to much that occurs within educational systems across the world. Whilst pupils have been formally consulted within educational research for many years (Cortis and Grayson, 1978), there has been a recent upsurge in interest in involving children and young people as active participants. This is mirrored in proposals to promote their participation in decision making in a range of aspects of their school life including agency in relation to their learning (Flutter and Rudduck, 2004). Continue reading Promoting Inclusion Through Authentic Pupil Voice

Home/School Discontinuity is not Disability

Margaret Eganpost by MARGARET EGAN
Department of Special Education at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick

From an international perspective, the over-representation of students from minority groups in special education placement is well documented in the research literature (Artiles et al., 2011; Ahram, et al. 2011; Skiba, et al. 2006; Valencia, 2010; Zion and Blanchett, 2011).  My recent research in Ireland builds and expands on such research as it brings the intersectionality between social class and placement in special education centre-stage.  The research highlights empirically, the disproportionality of students from lower socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds in special education programmes. Moreover, empirical data illustrate that ‘students least likely to encounter widely available educational resources at home are also least likely to encounter them in school’ (Darling-Hammond, 2010, p. 22).  These observations of discomfort mirror the seminal work of Illich (1971) that school can be the problem not the solution to in/equity because it creates mechanisms to discriminate against some and to privilege others. Continue reading Home/School Discontinuity is not Disability

Extending opportunities to participate in learning

Jenny Sprattpost by JENNIFER SPRATT
School of Education, University of Aberdeen

The legacy left by the IQ test is an assumption that human intelligence is an innate and immutable personal attribute, that is normally distributed throughout the population (on a bell-shaped curve). This can be seen to have far reaching effects on the organisation of education as children are categorised according to whether they are thought  to be ‘high ability’, ‘low ability’ or perhaps deemed to have ‘special educational needs’. The presumption that we can make judgements about future ‘potential’ on the evidence of current performance continues to legitimate practices of providing different educational experiences for children according to their perceived ability. Continue reading Extending opportunities to participate in learning

Nowhere that fits: the realities of schooling for families of children with SEN

Meanu Bajwa-Patelpost by MEANU BAJWA-PATEL
School of Education, University of Northampton

One of the key aspects of an alternative policy manifesto must be a more practical and comprehensive approach to inclusion in our schools and, ultimately, our society. The Children and Families Act, which recently gained Royal Assent, outlines some changes to the special educational needs and disability (SEND) systems and evaluations of the pilot projects show some positive progress. However, the Act does not impact on the power differentials between parents and professionals within the education system and does nothing to address the lack of knowledge and understanding of SEND present within many schools and local authorities. Continue reading Nowhere that fits: the realities of schooling for families of children with SEN

Government policy and where pupils with SEN / disabilities go to school

Brahm Norwichpost by BRAHM NORWICH
Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs, University of Exeter

This short piece summaries two trends, the first a longer term trend and the second a short term trend. It is suggested that they may be related:

1. The 30 year trend to reduced national placements in special schools has been reversed:
From 1983, when the 1981 legislation established the general principle to establish the ordinary school placement of children with special educational needs (SEN) was implemented, there was a year on year decrease in the percentage of pupils in English special schools till the early 2000s. Continue reading Government policy and where pupils with SEN / disabilities go to school

Access to and Widening Participation in Higher Education

Penny Burkepost by PENNY JANE BURKE
Professor of Education and Director of the Paulo Freire Institute-UK
University of Roehampton

The hegemony of global neoliberalism has gradually transformed the landscape of higher education, profoundly reorienting equity discourses away from social justice and towards economic imperatives. Struggles over the right to higher education have been articulated over the past 15 years through the now well-established ‘widening participation’ (WP) policy agenda. When New Labour came to power in 1997, it placed WP at the heart of higher education reforms, with a strong and enduring emphasis on ‘raising aspirations’. WP continues to be a central tenet of HE policy under the 2010 Coalition government, attracting considerable public and higher education institution (HEI) funding. Continue reading Access to and Widening Participation in Higher Education