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Title: Exploring children's views and experiences of having a learning difficulty and the support they receive at school
Author: Wilson, Abigail
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 0971
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2017
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Few studies have focused on gaining the views and experiences of primary aged children with the highest level of SEN – those with Statements of SEN (SSEN) or Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). This exploratory study aimed to understand from the perspective of children with moderate or general learning difficulties what they think of school, the additional support they receive, and what they would change about it in the future. It also aimed to investigate the extent to which these children are involved in the decision-making process around their provision and whether their views are considered. Six children were interviewed using pictorial prompts and the data were transcribed and analysed thematically from a social constructivist standpoint. The study found that the pupils with SSEN or EHCPs held generally positive views of schools, preferred creative subjects, but experienced a range of difficulties at school. Friends and the support of a considerate adult were viewed as important elements of school. However, close TA support and appearing different from their learning-abled peers seems to promote physical isolation, a lack of agency and bullying. Pupils placed more value on support linked to developing their interaction skills rather than support that helped them to learn, or support related to changes in their environment. Overall, the most valued support was ‘Working with different adults’. The most important change for children was a desire to have more opportunities to interact with their peers within the learning environment. The children showed mixed experiences of being involved with decision-making at the school, but generally findings showed that children were mostly left out of decision-making. These developments have the potential to inform schools, EPs and other professionals' practice. Additionally, this study highlights the difficulties that schools face over inclusion and provides readers with thoughts on the actual level of inclusion for some pupils with a SSEN or EHCP.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral