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Title: Finding a voice: an exploration into how teachers enable pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties to participate in the processes surrounding their special educational needs
Author: Davison, Elspeth
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) gave children and young people the right to participate in decisions that affect them. In relation to Special Educational Needs (SEN), this meant that schools were obligated to gain pupil' s views about their education. However, the SEN Code of Practice (DfES, 2001; p.27) recognised that there was "a fine balance" between giving a pupil "voice" and overburdening them with decision~making . This placed pupils with SEN in a position where their vo ice relied on the motivations, skills and focus of the adul ts around them (May, 2005). This paper presents findings from a qualitative study that explored how teachers enable participation for pupils with behavioura l, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) in the processes surrounding their SEN. A Grounded Theory methodology was used to capture and analyse data from se mi ~str u cture d interviews conducted with eight t eachers. The issues of how pupils' views were obtained, formally reported and applied to practice were considered. Find ings suggested that the process of enabling participation for pupils with BESD relied on the quality of re lationships built between t eachers and pupils. These rela tionships served to ba lance pupils' needs for familiarity and secu rity against the challenges of learn ing. As such, enabling voice was only one element of the work undertaken by teachers to maximise pupils' success in school. Within this context, pupils were empowered to "find a voice", whi lst tea ch ers advocated for pupils in formal meetings and reviews. 16 Implications of the findings are discussed to inform the body of research into participation for pupils with SEN and guide good practice in the field. A framework for understanding how school systems can elicit the views of pupils with BESD and promote their participation in SEN processes is given and recommendations are made to inform the work of Educational Psychology services in this regard.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available