An evaluation of local education authority off-site special units for disruptive pupils
This thesis is concerned to evaluate Local Education Authority Off-Site Special Units for Disruptive Pupils. By reviewing the relevant literature, and by ascertaining the views of Local Education Authorities, the thesis develops the argument that schools are ambivalent in their reasons for referring disruptive pupils to Off-Site Special Units. Whilst maintaining primary concern for the pupils' reform, a greater concern seems to be evident for the removal of recalcitrant pupils in the best interests of the referring school. Either way, the decision to refer the pupil to an Off-Site Special Unit probably rests upon a failure to appreciate the causes of disruptive behaviour, which in practice are less likely to be explained in pathological terms than in institutional ones. In consequence, the idea that a suitable measure for evaluating units is to be found in rates of successfully reintegrating pupils from units back into mainstream schools is open to question. Since many pupils indicate a desire to return to mainstream school whilst others express a wish to enter employment where recognised patterns of good behaviour are necessary, a criterion for evaluating Off-Site Special Units remains the ability of the Unit to produce behaviour change in pupils attending the Units. The dictum is employed in the present thesis. The Bristol Social Adjustment Guides and a Behaviour Checklist, developed by the writer from one used by the ILEA, are used as before and after measures to show that the behaviour of pupils referred to three Off-Site Special Units in one LEA, does improve during the period of intervention. The behaviour of matched control pupils who remain in mainstream schools does not show a similar improvement. The comments of pupils in the Off-Site Special Units confirm that there are positive gains in the Units.