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Title: An investigation of inclusive strategies and the extent of implementation within further education colleges
Author: Kitchener , David Alan
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2001
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The 1996 Tomlinson Report of the Committee on Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities (SLDD) recommended a series of inclusive learning strategies to enhance provision for said group. The umbrella organisation of the post compulsory education sector, The Further Education Funding Council (FEFC), agreed to the majority of its recommendations, its own inspectorate previously noting concerns in SLDD provision. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent within English further education colleges the recommendations of The Tomlinson Report have been implemented. The study examines FEFC inspectorate grades, the views of college managers and lecturers and the students themselves from 1999 to 2000 to gauge if there have been improvements by inclusive implementation. Topics specifically addressed are staff development, measuring benefits by college self analysis, collaboration, quality assurance, the individual learning process, systems leading to inclusive developments and the college culture. The study's findings suggest enormous disparities occur between colleges in the quality of SLDD provision, only one measured as fully inclusive, the majority meeting an inclusive measure of 'no policy: implementation in some faculties/departments/schools'. Higher levels of inclusive implementation were found in colleges who had conducted a detailed self appraisal of their present position and subsequently instigated new quality assurance systems lined to measurable performance indicators. The approach was particularly effective when student views were noted and the inclusive strategies supported by comprehensive staff development activities. The study found only a small minority of colleges appeared to be effectively organised in such procedures. A series of recommendations for improvement are suggested, the most significant one being a Code of Practice within further education akin to that of the school sector. The study bridges the legislation of the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act to The Learning and Skills Act 2000. The legislative change does not impact on the study, the same funding methodologies and vocational criteria applying during transition. Recurrent themes are the exclusion of students with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties due to the strict vocational emphasis at the core of both Acts though hope is expressed the recent legislative change might reintroduce more widely non-vocational options and redress this imbalance. Concern too is expressed at the competitive, market-led approaches colleges embrace and the negative effect this has on SLDD groups, particularly in terms of transition into college and collaborative arrangements. The positive aspects of the Special Needs and Disability Act 2001 are welcomed though concern is expressed at its limited definition of disability. The study's findings are not always complimentary to colleges approaches to inclusive implementation and the conclusion is rather critical, the data suggesting the position to be unsatisfactory, students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities unnecessarily remaining a disadvantaged 'group.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available