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Title: An investigation into the experience of meeting the special educational needs of pupils in shift primary schools in Jamaica
Author: Sherwood, Donna M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 3368
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2010
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School days are organised on a whole day and or a shift basis in different countries. When the school day is arranged on double shift basis, two sets of pupil attend the same school in a given day. This thesis is based on a phenomenological research which examined how the education of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) was addressed in shift primary schools in Jamaica. A case study was undertaken with a view of understanding the day-to-day experiences of the issues of how shift primary schools constructed and managed the SEN of pupils and sought to understand the ‘why’ in operation. In addition, a survey (using questionnaires) was carried out in 10 shift primary schools (including the case) in several parishes of the island which targeted administrators (n=26) and teachers (n=205) to further explore some of the issues which were picked up on in the case study such as understandings of the concept of SEN, the challenges they encountered in their attempts to cater for pupils‟ SEN and how pupils‟ SEN impacted on the school system. An interview was also conducted with an official from the Ministry of Education (MOE) which investigated the philosophical orientation which guides the education of pupils with SEN and the how they are catered for in Jamaican schools. Grounded Theory, ably assisted by the tool of Thematic Analysis, was used to explore this complex research context to help to unpack dilemmas and tensions which existed. One of the major insights gained from the data is that the Jamaican primary shift school context is ‘resource famished whilst being simultaneously ‘SEN dense’. The main research findings revealed that the shift system and its resultant time constraint were major inhibitors to the effective meeting of pupils‟ SEN. The complexity and challenges of this educational context were further exacerbated by factors such as limited understanding of the concept of SEN, inadequate resources in general and more so with specific focus on catering for pupils with SEN, low teacher efficacy for meeting pupils‟ SEN, large classes and inadequate parental support. Administrators reported concern for impact of pupils‟ SEN on their schools in ways such as lowering examination passes and the overall performance of schools. One of the main concerns of teachers was how pupils‟ SEN disrupted lessons and how this impacted on other learners without SEN. In addition, the most commonly manifested SEN of pupils were reading and behavioural difficulties. The role of the Guidance Counsellor was re-defined as the main school personnel for the management of pupils’ SEN in shift primary schools. From the point of view of the MOE the practice and provision for pupils with SEN were governed by the concept of ‘Least Restrictive Environment’ and not the current concept of inclusion that is in wide usage in the field of special education. Importantly, not only were schools experiencing difficulties in satisfactorily providing resources for the meeting pupils‟ SEN, but this is also experienced at the level of the MOE. The chief implications highlighted based on of the research findings was the dire need for the reconstruction of teacher training in Jamaica with a specific aim of equipping teachers to effectively cater for pupils‟ SEN and the dire need for legislation to safeguard the education of pupils with SEN. In addition, recommendations were made to promote improvements of pupils with SEN in general and particularly those being educated in shift primary schools. Finally, several suggestions for future research were put forward.
Supervisor: Tissott, C. ; Evans, R. ; Jones, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Shift school days ; Philosophical orientation ; School administration ; Least restrictive environment