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Title: The peer relations of pupils with and without special educational needs in mainstream primary schools : interactions on the playground and in class
Author: Spence, Jasmine
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Much research has attempted to investigate the peer relations of pupils with special educational needs (PSEN) and has found that PSEN are typically accepted less and rejected more than their non-SEN (NSEN) peers (e.g. Frederickson, 2010). However, these studies have tended to neglect the types and characteristics of peer relations that take place and have instead focussed on whether or not these relationships exist (Webster & Carter, 2009). This study builds on previous research by looking beyond classroom contexts to examine the nature of peer interactions within classroom and playground settings. This study explores the relationship between the provisions in place to support PSEN and their subsequent peer relations. The study also aims to gain the voice of the child to provide an in-depth account of the peer relations and breaktime experiences of PSEN compared to their non-SEN peers. This mixed method study was conducted with Year four and five pupils in two mainstream primary schools. Ten PSEN and ten comparison pupils without SEN, as well as their class teachers and 134 of their classmates took part in the study. This study draws upon information gathered through: systematic observations in the classroom and playground, sociometric rating scales, questionnaires and pupil interviews. The study found that PSEN engaged in fewer peer interactions in the classroom and in the playground than their NSEN peers and scored less favourably on a range of peer relationship measures. The study indicated that higher levels of peer interactions and fewer interactions with teaching assistants (TAs) in the classroom were powerfully associated with more positive peer relations for the pupils in the study. The study also identified that PSEN engaged in more ‘parallel’ and ‘solitary’ and less ‘social’ interactions at break than NSEN pupils. Whilst PSEN described a range of benefits that breaktimes provide for them, a number of challenges relating to peer relations were identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available