An investigation of the arrangements for the provision of education for pupils who are out of school by reason of illness.
This thesis reports on a study which investigated the impact of the decisionmaking
process under the remit of the Education Act 1996 s. 19, on local
education authority (LEA) arrangements for educating children out of
school by reason of illness in order to contribute to policy development in
the area of parental involvement. A multiple site case study of the
administration of exceptional provision in English LEAs was conducted.
Fifteen contrasting LEAs were contacted. Seven LEAs volunteered (two
shire counties; one metropolitan district; one unitary and three London).
Twenty one LEA professionals who were responsible for hospital and
home tuition services, and 35 parents of 35 children (24 children residing in
case study LEAs; 11 children residing in non case study LEAs) volunteered
to participate in the study. In-depth qualitative data were collected between
March 1998 and March 1999 by means of semi-structured interviews and
Overall, the dataf rom parentss uggestedth at diversity existedi n the type
and quality of provision, but less diversity existed in the quantity of
provision that pupils received.C onsistencye xistedi n the pragmaticn ature
of factors related to the outcomes described by parents, and the data from
LEA documentsa ndp rofessionals'p erceptionsE. nabling legislation and
inconsistentl evels of accountabilitya llowed LEA professionalss ubstantial
discretion in decisions about the type of provision that pupils received and
the quality of the arrangementsT. he diversity of family provision
contributed to the diversity of the outcomes for pupils also.
The dataf rom LEA professionalss uggestedth at the main effectso f
professionald ecision-makingin the administrationo f provision were
rationing and displacement of responsibility to the school and parents.
Given the pragmatic nature of factors responsible for the diversity in the
type and quality of LEA provision that pupils received, together with
evidenceo f rationing the quantity of resourcesa llocated,t he study
concluded that the determining factor influencing professional decisionmaking
was inadequater esourcesto fund LEA provision.
The dataf rom LEA documents,p rofessionalsa ndp arentss uggestedth at
the main effects of the informal involvement of parents in professional
decision making was parental influence on the type and quality of
provision, but not the quantity of LEA provision. Given the limiting factor
of inadequate resources and the lack of influence of parents on the quantity
of LEA resources allocated, it was likely that financial pressure within the
LEA caused the displacement of responsibility for provision to schools.
The discourse of participants suggested that professionals were in control
of the decision-making process and parents accepted responsibility to liaise
between stakeholders. The diversity of parents' needs was related to the
effectiveness of the parent to influence decisions or situations that
impinged on the type of provision and quality of the arrangements that
The implicationso f the findings for decision-makersa nd possiblea reasf or
policy development are discussed.