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Title: Access to justice for minority ethnic pupils and their families : the first five years of the special educational needs tribunal and its use by parents from minority ethnic groups
Author: Rider, Kay Susan
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2005
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Abstract:
Successive Annual Reports of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (SENT) have shown low usage of the Tribunal by minority ethnic families. As a Specialist Lay Member of the Tribunal I was allowed access to the first five years data so that more detailed analysis could explore this position and consider possible causes and possible remedial steps that could address this low usage. As an Educational Psychologist I am alert to the whole issue of educational entitlement particularly for cultural and ethnic minorities and this thesis seeks to explore the whole area of redress and its use. To begin this study I consulted the President of the Tribunal, the Secretary of the Tribunal and Officers from three Local Education Authorities (LEAs) on the issues they thought were relevant to appeal rates. Following these discussions I drew up a list of questions that I used as the basis for discussions with the SENT Midlands and Wales User Group, this meeting expanded the potential areas for investigation and set some of the parameters for the literature review and statistical analysis. The research questions focus on whether this low appeal rate should be a cause for concern or whether it is a reflection of the lower level of needs of these groups or whether some of the other contributory factors highlighted by my discussions may be influencing the appeal rate. In the absence of a substantive theory a framework of influences is described. The data were made available as hard copy, it was manually entered into SPSS and analysed using Models to identify key factors related to appeal rate. The data was then matched against National Statistics on the parameters highlighted by the discussions, levels of Statements of Needs, achievement, language and deprivation. Two Local Education Authorities are used as exemplars and examined for Statements of Needs, achievement, language and deprivation to see if a more detailed exploration could reveal more information on the factors highlighted by my discussions. The main outcomes of this study were to clarify the profile of minority ethnic access to the SENT and identify the appeal rate of each of the DfES ethnic categories: just under 12% of the pupil population in England are members of minority ethnic groups, the three black categories form 3.7% and their appeals from all LEA's total 2.6%: the Asian subcontinent, excluding Chinese, forms 5.8% and their appeals for all LEA's total 2.1%. Using these combination figures more clearly shows the marked under-representation at appeal to the SENT. It is particularly interesting to note the appeal rate of the Pakistani group; in the ten separate regional listings there are eight regions from which no appeals have been registered from this group despite them forming the highest percentage ethnic minority group in Yorkshire and the West Midlands and this aspect needs more exploration. This study also highlights difficulties using the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) categories where misdiagnosis and inadequate categorisation may be linked to problems with test materials and their use with the various cultural and ethnic groups particularly in relation to Speech and Language problems and Emotional and Behavioural difficulties. Further work needs to be done within the whole field of redress gaining a picture of parental views within targeted Local Education Authorities (LEAs). Educational Psychologists need to question, more closely, diagnoses of language problems and design early interventions to improve spoken and written English, they also need to work more closely helping schools devise the Pastoral Support Programmes necessary for pupils at risk of exclusion improving the parental partnership and assisting the individual pupils with their attitude and motivation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: D Ed Psych Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.532593  DOI: Not available
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