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Title: Parents as advocates : the experience of parents who register an appeal with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDisT)
Author: Runswick-Cole, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0001 2438 5388
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2007
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The focus of this study is on the experiences of parents of children with special educational needs who advocate for their children in the special needs system. The Special Educational Needs Tribunal was set up in 1994 and since then more than 25,000 appeals have been registered (Hughes, 2005). In 2002, the Tribunal began hearing claims for disability discrimination and became known as the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDisT). The aim of this study is to foreground the parents' experiences of the system of SENDisT and to develop understanding of the experience of parenting a child with special educational needs and/ or impairments. SENDisT is more than ten years old, yet research into the workings of SENDisT has been very limited (Aldridge, 2003). A study which foregrounds parents' perspectives is, then, well overdue. As part of the narrative inquiry, parents were asked to tell their stories of going to SENDisT. Twenty four parents and eight professionals told their Tribunal stories. This study has key implications for the workings of SENDisT but it also contributes to the current debates in special education, including the system of statements, the policy of inclusion, and the working of parent-professional relationships. The study has relevance for the stake holders in the system of special education including children, parents, teachers, panel members, psychologists, LEA officers and academics. At the same time, the study reflects the uncertainty that parents who engage with Tribunals will face in the future. In a policy climate which reflects the abilist assumptions of the wider society (DfES, 2005), it is difficult to remain optimistic about the outcomes for children and their parents. However, it seems certain that some parents, at least, will continue to resist, contest and challenge the limitations and interpretations put upon their families' lives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available