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Developing inclusion in England for children with special educational needs: identifying and exploring the Local Authority contribution
Gray, Peter Justin
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Anonymity issues (single case study)
This thesis examines the contribution of local authorities in England to the development of educational inclusion for children with special educational needs (SEN). The literature review traces the development of the concept of inclusion over the last three decades and assesses the status of national government policy. It examines the assertion that progress toward greater inclusion must typically be 'school-led', through an analysis of the literature on school effectiveness and improvement and the suggested linkages with the development of inclusive practice. It then considers the evidence of local authority influence. Following an overview of methodological issues, it describes a multi-method research study, comprising three elements. The first two involved a formal re-analysis of data obtained by the author as part of a national survey of SEN support services in English LEAs commissioned by the DfEE and NASEN (Gray 2001). Quantitative data from the national questionnaire were used as an indicator of the priority given by a range of stakeholders (officers, support services, parent and schools) to the role of support services in promoting greater inclusion. Ratings given by each Authority were compared to national statistics on the percentage of pupils in special schools for a similar period (1997-2001). This comparison was supplemented by a qualitative analysis of field notes taken during visits to three local authorities, as part of the earlier survey. The analysis of this secondary data was supplemented by an in-depth single case-study of an urban Authority where there had been a significant decrease in the percentage of pupils educated in special schools, which had been sustained over time. The findings from the different elements are used to help understand the degree and nature of local authority influence and a conceptual model is proposed, building on earlier work by Ainscow et al (2003) and Croll & Moses (2000). Broader policy factors are proposed, which are consistent with the model but which may limit the direct application of the case-study findings to other local authorities in the current and future context.
Exeter University (Studentship)
PhD in Education