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Title: Young people with special educational needs' experiences of school and the transition to adulthood
Author: Forster, Emily
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the transitions to adulthood of young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN). It focuses on the experiences of young people with a ‘hidden disability’ such as Autism or ADHD who attend or attended a mainstream school. The number of young people who are diagnosed with these conditions has increased dramatically. Between 2005 and 2010 the number of school children in England alone diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder has increased by 61% to 56000 (DfE, 2011,a). In recent years there has been an increasing focus on including pupils with SEN in mainstream schools. In England, the Special Educational Needs and Dis-ability Act (2002) and the Equalities Act (2010) have strengthened young people’s right to inclusion. This research sought to investigate the impact these social changes have had on young people’s lives. Longitudinal qualitative methods were used to develop an understanding of young people’s experiences and the interaction between social policy and individual biography. This involved two life history interviews with a sample of young people and their parents which took place nine months apart. This yielded over fifty interviews. These interviews explored young people’s experiences of school, their aspirations and plans for the future and the support they had received. Two age cohorts of young people were involved in the research. The first were in school years 10 and 11 at the time of the first interview and the second were aged 18 -20. This made it possible to capture a wider range of experiences of transition. Drawing on all of the data collected for each young person, 14 ‘case histories’ were developed (Thomson, 2007). A thematic analysis was carried out across all of the interviews in the study. After finishing compulsory education the young people in the study followed mainstream pathways of education and employment. Any additional support they received came from these services rather than specialist provision. Family and friends were also a major source of support. Young people’s school experiences influenced their aspirations for the future and their sense of themselves as learners. However, this was not the only factor; for example, some young people who had a negative experience of school were able to draw on achievements in other areas of their lives to achieve success in further education and employment.
Supervisor: Forster, Emily Charlotte Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available