Chapter One Introduction
Inclusion as a concept is considered to be a process of change (Frederickson and Cline 2015) which becomes apparent when looking at legislation and how this reflects in the policy changes in SEND over the last seventy years. Under the 1944 Education Act, it was considered that children with SEN were ‘uneducable’ and were labelled into categories of handicap which separated them from those that were perceive d as ‘normal.’ The Warnock report came about in 1978 which saw the first introduction of the term ‘special educational needs’ with the intention of putting a more positive emphasis on an individual’s educational requirements as opposed to their disability or impairment.
It would appear that the Education Act of 1981 was somewhat influenced by the Warnock Report of 1978 and evidence suggests that it still forms the basis of some of the code of practice of today, it could be suggested that it is seen as the beginning of a ‘whole school approach to special educational needs (SEN)’ (Warner 2012).
The provision for children with both mental and physical disabilities came under review in 1978 by a panel that was recognised as the Warnock committee, which produced the report. A wide range of special needs was promoted, rather than being segregated into categories which went on to contribute to forming the 1981 Education Act’s policies on SEN, a different approach was subsequently recommended to the SEN definition:
‘A child will have a special educational need if s/he has a learning difficulty requiring special educational provision. The ‘learning difficulty’ includes not only physical and mental disabilities, but also any kind of learning difficulty experienced by a child, provided that it is significantly greater than that of the majority of children of the same age’. (1981 Education Act p1)
The Act stated that the education of children with SEN should be carried out in ordinary schools where possible, and initiated an approach that supported inclusion and integration, rather than segregation. This approach recommended that children with special needs should be treated as individuals, with the suggestion of having additional support within the classroom in the form of a learning support teacher, rather than being taken out of the class and excluded from learning with their peers.
Since the Warnock report and the 1981 Education Act, legislation has been gradually catching up with the recommendations. In 1989 inclusion became a global agenda in international law with the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child which went on to stipulate that inclusive education should be a goal of ‘children with disabilities.’ Furthermore, the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO 1994) which appeared to advocate social justice and equality for all, and went on to state that ‘children who have disabilities, should be able to attend the nearest community school that would be attended if the child did not have a disability’ (Runswick-Cole, 2011).
The term SEN was extended to include disability by the Children and Families Act (DfE 2014) to set higher expectations and outcomes for pupils and furthermore the health and social care support for SEND learners was consolidated into one Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and also extended to support up to the age of 25.
Chapter two: Literature review
Inclusion has been around for many years, and as well as being recommended in legislation within education since the Warnock Report in 1978, it was recognised in the decades leading up to that. Relevant bodies, Dunn in 1968, and then Deno in 1970 had argued against segregated special education, in favour of inclusion within mainstream education, and that the development of differentiation in mainstream settings would allow students with special educational needs (SEN) to be able to access the curriculum within the classroom (Clarke and Murray 1996; Hallahan and Kaufman 1994). If a teacher compiled education as a program and then tailored it specifically to the needs of each individual learner, this would, in an ideal situation allow the learner to progress at their own pace within mainstream settings, furthermore it could be argued that inclusion could be made possible by having a complete overhaul of the education system in schools, with more of an emphasis on the quality of teaching and mixed classes of mixed abilities with more flexible groupings (Clarke and Murray 1996).
According to Ellis and Tod (2005) and Cole and Knowles (2011) as inclusion plays a vital role within the school setting of recent times, it is evident that there are sanctions for those individual learners who display what is known as “behavioural difficulties.” Social, emotional and behavioural disorder (SEBD) as outlined within the SEND code of practice (DfE 2015) has not reached a conclusive definition, however it is suggested in the code of practice, as a display in circumstances where the individual’s behavioural or emotional responses are not similar to those that are commonly accepted from other individual’s within the same age group. The characteristics of SEBD that can be displayed therefore are depressive, aggressive and in some cases a tendency to inflict harm on themselves and others, they may also appear withdrawn and depressive (DfE 2015). Concerns have been raised regarding the segregation of individuals with SEBD, which has been suggested as not being as easy to manage as it is to meet the needs of those with the typical SEN or difficulties relating to physical disabilities (Ellis and Tod 2005). SEBD can present itself in the form of disruptive behaviour, which could potentially be a hindrance to other learners, and the actions displayed can be aggressive towards other learners as well as teaching staff (Ekins and Grimes 2009), furthermore, actions such as these can have an impact on other areas such as academic learning, social relationships and other classroom behaviours. It is suggested that individuals with SEBD present their own mainstream challenges in education and with the goal of inclusive education in mind, it would appear that schools have limited capacity to meet the demands of diversity of SEN within the classroom (Jull, 2009).
The Elton report was published as an advisory document following a rapid decline in behaviour and concerns were raised on the negative impact it was having on learners within a classroom setting (Hanko 2003). The content of this report implies students from a disadvantaged background are more likely to underachieve and display negative behaviour, and appear to go on to be labelled with having “social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD)” than those that are from a working class background (Mowat 2010; Garner, Kauffman and Elliot 2014). This could imply that if inclusion is to ever be achieved, then schooling would need to continue undergoing a restructure from what it is currently recognised as, particularly in secondary education. However, evidence does suggest that there has been an on-going restructure within schools over the past several years, the focus has appeared to have been more so on the area of special educational needs and inclusion (Brighouse 2014). This could subsequently be achieved if there was a greater stance on shared responsibility for all students between the general and special education members of staff, resulting in a more cooperative and collaborative environment, for example team teaching being a factor or even peer mentoring which could potentially enhance a sense of community within the classroom, allowing a fully inclusive environment to develop (Clarke and Murray 1996; Martin and Short 2005). As the DfES (2004) suggested that for the future progression of inclusion a pupil centred provision would also need to be developed, where SEN would not be viewed as just a single category, rather all children need to be considered on an individual basis, to support this a national framework would be seen to be implemented, but one that had flexibility within the local authority so that the needs of the local area could be met.
According to the DfES (2004) despite the additional funding that is received for pupils with EHCP, schools are not coping with the current demands however, particularly when faced with the most challenging behaviour, and almost appears to be promoting schools as a “dumping ground” for those with behavioural issues and impacting on the quality of learning that occurs within the classroom. Resources appear to be stretched and the results are levels of attainment seem to not be reaching the national average (Ekins and Grimes, 2009). Even though Martin and Short (2005) suggest this notion of a more collaborative environment between pupils and staff members, Ellis and Tod (2009) argue that this is not a possible scenario and whilst there is so much pressure and emphasis on targets, these appear to be moving further out of realistic reach, what is more these ‘goals’ are generally put into place by government bodies and therefore the longer term impact could be catastrophic, whilst results and attainment levels are not reaching the national average.
DfE (2016) suggests in the published paper “educational excellence everywhere” that whilst DfE (2004) are promoting the notion that under achieving pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those with additional needs should have more opportunities available to them, it is apparent that this translates as a higher priority along with the highest of achievers than the pupils who have an average attainment level, or who appear to be in the middle of the ability levels. Subsequently, it could be implied that the importance of unlocking every child’s full potential, regardless of the placement on the academic spectrum from the highest of achievers to the lowest ability with additional needs, should ultimately be the highest of priority to every educator (Farrell, Dyson and Palot 2007). Nevertheless, the impact on resources and teaching capabilities cannot be ignored and therefore the framework for inclusion does need to be rethought with regards to the effect this has on the classroom (DfE 2016).
It seems to be apparent that inclusion does not always mean being included (Ellis and Tod 2005). DfE (2004), in “The importance of teaching” white paper, implies that those learners who do not always establish the adequate relationships with teaching and learning are in fact not benefitting from recognised inclusion as suggested by the government. Behaviour is generally assumed to be a key factor in the ability to learn within a classroom setting (DfE 2010). However, with more policies regarding inclusion and equality coming into effect it appears to be becoming increasingly difficult for teachers to discipline within their classroom (Ekins and Grimes 2009). This would suggest that with the way inclusion has gone, it could have a profound effect on behaviours within the classroom setting, and it would appear that behaviour is becoming a persistent concern within schools, and having an overall negative impact to achieve on settings themselves (DfE 2005). As a result of this, schools have appeared to show concern that in the long term their performances could be negatively impacted if they were seen as too inclusive, this could be due to the extra support that is offered to pupils with SEBD, and their peers not being offered such support, therefore appearing to miss out on such needed support when it comes to such things as exams (Dyson and Millward 2000). This could be due to the attention being diverted to the SEN individuals as it appears that their achievements could be perceived as being regarded the priority, due to the additional support that is generally required over those that are assumed to be of high or middle attainment, which could be argued as having the adverse effect in this instance (Westwood 2013).
However, Farrell, Dyson and Polat (2007) argue that SEN individuals being educated within a mainstream setting appear to have a seemingly positive impact on the progress of those learners who are considered lower than average in ability. Evidence suggests that by placing SEN pupils within such environments has no negative impact on any of its learners at all, this could also be argued, as Farrell, Dyson and Polat (2007) suggest to be as a result of learners not being educated individually, and rather being grouped together. Therefore it may not be as possible to accurately record the achievements of each individual pupil, or to be in a position to compare this type of data regionally, or somewhat nationally for a consistent prediction to be made about what long term implications, if any there may be.
The importance of teaching white paper (DfE 2010) suggests that one of the biggest challenges for teachers in the approach to inclusion was the inability to discipline in recent times, and some even reported that when dealing with those pupils who presented behavioural difficulties to feeling frustrated and isolated whilst dealing with SEBD due to the lack of support within their settings. This could potentially cause misery for other pupils, and the lack of discipline is cited as one of the founding reasons many teachers are leaving the profession (Mowat 2010). However, the findings of the Steer report suggests that there is a need for further investigations be carried out into inclusion and what the positive aspects of the practice could be highlighted, particularly in the instance of those with SEBD in mainstream schools and how it can benefit all individuals within the school setting (DfES 2005).
Whilst it would appear that there are many flaws in the system, evidence would suggest that there are positives to the inclusive approach when it comes to children with SEBD. A report was undertaken where twenty SEBD individuals were chosen at random each, within ten LEA’s which appeared to show the benefits of them attending mainstream education (Osborn and Read 2011). The findings of this study seemed to show that if there were a number of SEN pupils attending the same setting, they appeared to respond well particularly if it seemed there were a number of support staff present who would be inclined to pre-empt any emotional or behaviour difficulties.
Barnard, Prior and Potter (2000) considers that it could be recommended that as a focus inclusion in schools does require significant review of their policy and practises to enable a fully inclusive education for all to be achieved. As Artiles and Trent (1994) and Boyle and Topping (2012) suggest an inclusive approach does have its benefits, peers learn to become more accepting and tolerant in the classroom. The approach of differentiating can be adopted to enable access to the curriculum for all students, thus eliminating potential barriers within a learner setting and the approach of differentiating could be adopted to enable access to the curriculum for all students, which could subsequently be seen to eliminate and potential barriers within a setting (Boyle and Topping 2012). However, this should not be at the cost of the learning of any pupils, which could prove to be an issue should the whole curriculum need altering to meet the needs of all learners (Ekins and Grimes 2009).
Relevant bodies suggest that there is a link between human rights and social arguments on this issue, It could be argued that children should not be separated by their education because all children belong together which could benefit everyone, and after all it would seem that segregation teaches children prejudice rather than acceptance, with inclusion potentially encouraging respect and friendship (Cigman 2007). Regardless of this, Kikabhai (2014) made the point of the media publishing Warnock’s supposed “u turn” in 2005, suggesting that it was actually never a ‘u turn’ as it was not Warnock’s intention to pursue full integration for all in the first place, and furthermore she concluded that special schools were the best known placement for those with profound learning difficulties and argues that there are those in mainstream education that are at a disadvantage (Shaw 2017). Whilst this made allowances for those with the more recognised learning difficulties, this did not take into account those individuals with SEBD. It becomes apparent that the needs of those displaying SEBD, who act in the disruptive manner would appear to present its own challenges when trying to promote schools as inclusive settings, which is not always a localised issue (Mowat 2010).
On the face of it, the majority of individuals regarded as having SEBD appear to impact on the learning of others by causing disruptions within the lessons, this in turn increases the amount of time and attention taken up by teachers who are trying to manage their classrooms and the behaviours that are displayed within which is then consequently diverting the teachers attention from others within the classroom and subsequently those that are most in need of the support (Coady, Harper and De Jong 2016). It is therefore evident that the issue can be intensified in class groups based on ability (Boyle and Topping 2012). This point also coincides with the notion that setting classrooms based on ability, can be seen to further exclude children from a disadvantaged background as their attainment and motivation could be of a lower capacity, which can then be impacted by distractions such as disruptive behaviour hindering their own educational gains (Hallahan and Kaufman 1994; Lloyd 2008).
Warnock (2007) admits that when she revisited her earlier report she found that students with SEBD are in fact the least included and found that they are quite commonly rejected by their peers. It has also been suggested that learners identified as suffering with SEBD are far more likely to be excluded than their peers, which could be seen to have a lasting negative impact on their own self-esteem, ultimately resulting in further deterioration in their behaviours as a downward spiral effect (Garner, Kauffman and Elliot 2014). Furthermore the complex nature of such behaviours can prove to be a subsequent challenge to mainstream education which presents to the settings as merely disruptive behaviour (Barnard, Prior and Potter 2000, Humphrey 2008). Humphrey, 2008 goes on to cite Roberston, Chamberlain and Kasari (2003) who recommend that a lot of the problems faced within the mainstream settings are due to the teachers not having the adequate training and support for dealing with such pupils and therefore it is the mainstream schools that are the contributing factor to such exclusions with their current practices and lack of further training and support for the teachers. Moreover, it appears that it is this reason that issues between pupils with SEBD and their peers arise within the classroom, and also pupils reception to individuals with SEBD, after all it is evident that the pupils behaviour is heavily influenced by the attitudes of the teachers, and therefore it should be down to the teachers to remove the barriers of segregation from the classroom (Martin and Short 2005).
Whilst it would seem that settings have evolved to adapt to the concept of inclusion, Baroness Warnock did forewarn that following the 1978 review into inclusion, it could be taken too far with the results seeing the closure of many special schools, which would be disastrous for those who are unable to attend a mainstream setting due to having more profound needs, despite the Warnock committee implying that by bringing inclusion into mainstream settings it was never the government’s intention for any special schools to be shut down (Warnock 2005). However, prior to this in 2004 the DfES published the Removing barriers to achievement paper, in which it stated that it was going to widen all opportunities within mainstream education for all and that this relevant body was committed to removing the barriers that individuals display and that were apparent in many children when it came to learning. Inclusive practice was to be developed as amongst other needs it was clear that children diagnosed as having SEBD within mainstream settings was on the rise, and it was these individuals that were most like to face exclusion which the DfES (2004) indicated that they wanted to prevent.
Warnock (2005) however implies that following her original review in 1978, that the concept of inclusion now needs to be revisited and reviewed in order to promote the common goals in education that all children regardless of needs seek to achieve. It could be argued though that whilst the DfES 2004 paper appears to be full of positive strategy to ensure learners are able to reach their potential in an inclusive environment, according to Lloyd (2008) it appears that it is full of inconsistencies with its suggestions, and the challenges central to this paper in which the relationship between inclusion and good education does not appear to be consistent. Lloyd (2008) goes on to suggest that whilst emphasis on the learning achievements and expectations are high in these policies, the strategies for enabling children with SEBD to achieve their educational goals should come down to the teachers and not be so heavily influenced by national policy, after all it is the teachers within the settings that are required to meet the needs of these learners and so it should be the teachers who tailor to the needs of the individuals, for this to happen effectively though there needs to be in force not just support and training for the teaching staff but also a level of trust, as teachers are held accountable for any learning failures.
However they are required to adhere to policy and frameworks that are put into effect by government bodies, who also set out unrealistic goals when teachers should just simply be allowed to teach (Lloyd 2008). Warnock (2005) even suggests herself that in the Audit commission review of 2002, teachers felt ill-equipped when working with SEN children, due to the lack of training and support that is given to them. Following this, a recommendation was made for teachers to undergo adequate training and highest priority would be given to this purpose, furthermore in initial teacher training there would be a radical improvement on the training given for dealing with SEN children (Warnock 2005).
Despite there appearing to be such a focus on education the vast majority of the time mainstream inclusion is supported by each individual setting, the occasions that it isn’t is when it is implied that mainstream would not be in the child’s interest (Runswick-2011). It would seem that the assumption should not always be made that inclusive education would appear to work for everyone, it could be implied that the decisions to enrol a child with additional needs, whom a mainstream setting may not be suited to could be to simply appease their parents although there is insufficient evidence to support this theory conclusively (Cigman 2007).
It would appear that by implementing teaching of a high standard that is differentiated to enable all children to access their learning is what would seem to be required, to meet the needs of all individuals regardless of ability (DfE 2015). Furthermore it could be suggested that high quality teaching should underpin all SEN provision which would encourage all children to flourish and promote what would evidently be a good standard of inclusive education accessible by all (DfE 2015).
Chapter Two: Methodology
The idea originally came for this dissertation, during a planning session for another module, when inspiration came from a 2005 newspaper article in the Telegraph (Lightfoot 2005). The article (appendix A) looked at Baroness Warnock’s supposed about turn on all of the work she had done thirty years prior into inclusion, and a number of questions were raised by the researcher when reviewing the article (appendix B). These questions were then used in various forms as search terms to look at this subject further. The article went on to discuss how mainstream schools were taking more SEN children on for the financial gain as opposed to considering the fact an inclusive environment within an educational setting in a mainstream school could enrich the education of SEN children. This article went on to explore how the additional funding would be provided for schools, for additional classroom support for these individuals with SEN, the schools however appear to enrol these individuals with additional needs, without properly providing the adequate support (Lightfoot 2005). As this literature had come from a newspaper article it could not be considered a completely reliable source, despite it quoting Baroness Warnock herself, the reporter could have manipulated this view for the media, after all it is regarded that newspaper articles are subject to being edited. Furthermore, the researcher for this assignment, did not want to investigate the concept of funding, but rather analyse the impact that inclusion is having on mainstream schools.
Thomas (2013) suggests that once lines of inquiry are explored such as inclusion, there should be an area developing for which an investigation can begin. In this instance the focus of inclusion for all pupils with SEN began to focus more on a specific need, such as SEBD, this was a natural progression as the notes were taken all seemed to come back to that particular subject. With this concept, the process of researching started and the reading of journals to find a line of enquiry to explore. The University of Worcester library was the primary source for seeking reading material to explore the aims of the module, allowing a critical piece of writing to develop.
An investigation into any literature during any research project involves a lot of reading, as this study did, and the process of gathering of information is time consuming (Bell 1999), it is the reading and evaluating of literature though that can develop the study further as a critical review of literature shows an understanding of the area that has been chosen. To find adequate and appropriate reading materials the abstract may be studied to ensure that it is an appropriate source that is being analysed (Bell 1999). The literature review is after all the main contributor to any research project, it should always start with the studying of literature as this will indicate the questions that could be asked of the topic that is being explored, subsequently creating a narrative into the target area of the project (Thomas 2013).
With the original objective for this study being to investigate how far inclusion had gone within a secondary setting, this was to look at the current SEN status within mainstream schools, to research into what support was available to individuals with SEN and how this impacted on the learning environment, by enhancement or hindrance. This type of study would have been conducted through active observations and data collection from work books and assessments. However, whilst research was being carried out into this area, it became evident that SEN was too much of a broad subject to investigate as a whole, and as the study progressed, it became more focused on inclusion with regards to individuals with a specific need of SEBD. By taking this line of enquiry it became apparent that data analysis would not be appropriate. This was because there would be no ethical way to substantiate this, after all it could not be deemed fair to observe a group of children for the purpose of how the behaviour of one would impact the others, nor would it be appropriate scrutinise the books of pupils as this could appear as being discriminative by singling a pupil out on the basis of their needs and then using the findings for the purpose of a research project. It was therefore decided that this study would become a literature based investigation. It is suggested that literature is not commonly associated as being a form of data, but it could be seen to think and reflect on the work of a practitioner and connect that to the work of others (Dana and Yendol-Silva 2003).
The research started with a subject that was looked at for a previous module where “The importance of teaching” document was investigated for a discussion topic. It was reading this paper, as well as exploring the Elton report along with the more recent Warnock review of 2005, there became an interest into how inclusion had evolved over the last few decades, and what the impact of inclusion had on school settings of today. It was decided that this would be of use for a much bigger research project, which started out investigating how far inclusion had gone, and looking at SEND as a broad subject. Searches were undertaken of literature that could apply to this subject, using the Worcester Library resource online. Questions that had been raised from The Telegraph article, exploring how far inclusion had gone and the impact it had on settings, their peers and the teachers. An example of search terms that were used:
“Has inclusion gone too far?”
“The impact of inclusion”
“SEND Code of Practice”
“UN Rights of a Child”
“The Warnock review”
“How does inclusion impact behaviour?”
“Is inclusion really inclusive?”
“Managing behaviour inclusive classroom”
“How does inclusion impact on peers”
“Does inclusion promote equality”
“Teachers role in inclusion”
“Inclusion or exclusion”
“Managing behaviour of SEBD”
The sources of information and literature that were studied for the purpose of this exploration were mainly sought from the university library. Various search terms were used starting with inclusion and then looking at journal articles. As journal articles were reviewed, there searches were conducted on the authors themselves, such as Ellis and Tod who appeared to have written a book, but also journal articles on the subject. Other names that were evident to have researched in this area Hamill and Dyson, who had collaboratively written a number of journals exploring different areas of the subject of inclusion and behaviour. National papers written by the DfE were also researched in order to compile recommendations from national policy.
From this information a brainstorm developed (appendix C) with the areas of interest to explore further, and then the setting’s Ofsted report (appendix D) and SEND policy (appendix E) were analysed, and further questions and notes arose from evaluating these documents (appendix F).
The University of Worcester library was the main tool for searching material, however Google also served a purpose when searching for documents and white papers such as the Warnock review, including the Warnock pamphlet of 2005 where Mary Warnock revisited her original report. However, the main search terms that were used were “inclusion SEN behaviour” and also “inclusion Warnock” from these a line of inquiry started to develop into SEBD as this was a term that the literature that was of most interest. There were terms used such as “how far has inclusion gone in education” and this started to develop into the search term “the impact of SEBD on mainstream education” as well as “the positives of inclusion.” A number of journals were read, however within these it was felt that a lot more information could be explored by going to the primary sources that were referenced within the texts that were read.
It would appear that when beginning a research project, many researchers seem to synthesise in agreement of how the study should be conducted in the early stages. Firstly consider what will be investigated, followed by why that issue has been chosen and then finally how that study will be undertaken (Thomas 2013, Denscombe 2014, Walliam and Buckler 2008, Bell 1999). When a research project has been decided upon and then undertaken, it would appear that there are a number of factors that require considerations. Along with the methods of research, relevant material and information selection is essential for study to be a success (Cottrell 2013). As the study collates information, a line of enquiry would appear to develop from there to enable decisions about how the researcher will present the project (Thomas 2013). As the idea develops into an exploration of the chosen subject, it becomes apparent the ways in which the research (if any) will be conducted, along with evaluating the need for any external participants to be subjects for the purpose of research (Thomas 2015).
The decision was made that it would not be appropriate to conduct any active research into the study of this subject, during the initial process of evaluating the concepts of how research would impact on any individuals and on an ethical basis, could any research be carried out when investigating such as sensitive issue (Alderson and Morrow 2011). In any case, the obvious method for research in this instance would be through active observation, to observe a setting where there are individuals with SEBD, and to analyse the impact on the other learners. However, Bell (1999) argues that observations in any case can prove to be an inaccurate way in which to collate data, due to the factors that would need to be considered, for example learners who are aware that they are under observation may behave differently to how they would usually conduct themselves when they are not being observed for research purposes, and Denscombe (2014) goes on to suggest that this can be seen to occur, by having an active researcher present observing the actions of the class it could be argued that this is creating artificial conditions.
The solution to this situation as suggested by Thomas (2013) would be to carry out unstructured observations, which would give more accurate results by entering the learners environment unannounced and observing for short periods of time, this would however raise the issue of how consent would be sought for this if a researcher was to observe a classroom without any fore warning. Thomas (2013) goes on to suggest that when researching people and the actions they take, the results can be perceived differently depending on the researcher.
This raises the question of what exactly is being observed. It could therefore be suggested that for the purpose of this study it would not be deemed ethical to carry out an active observation, firstly due to the implications of gaining consent (Burgess 1989) as with this study it would not be ethical nor moral to approach an individual with SEBD to observe how they perform in a classroom under the guidelines of BERA, and also in line with Seedhouse’s grid it could be viewed as being discriminative (Stuchbury and Fox 2008).
Ethics is a complex concept, in fact Thomas (2013) states that ethics is more than just being the practical side of research, and should be taken into account the freedoms of the researcher to be able to conduct the exploration they set out to do, however the ethical implications of this would be the freedom of the individuals who are subject to this. It could be suggested by relevant bodies to what extent it would be ethical where research is conducted at all, particularly in the case where children would be the subjects and more so, those children that have behavioural or learning difficulties (Burgess 1989). After all, children fare as vulnerable subjects in any case regardless of them having behavioural difficulties and by using them for a researchers gain appears to carry no moral weight. Furthermore a view that is endorsed by the UNCRC 1989 is that children with disabilities have the right to having their views listened to when the outcome of something affects them, this could raise such concerns as to how active research being carried out would affect them or even in such cases, for individuals with difficulties to feel discriminated against (Harcourt, Waller, Parry 2011).
In this scenario, for the purpose of this project the learners with difficulties would be the subjects for any kind conducted for this exploration, whether directly or indirectly and could be seen to cause a divide. As the subject for this exploration is looking at how children with SEBD impact on learning, there would be no moral ground to observe a class or to carry out questionnaires to investigate how a child’s difficulties impacts on others as this would cause a divide within the classroom and would not be an example of good ethical practice. This could come back to the planning stage or research, Harcourt Waller and Parry (2011) go on to propose that the choosing of methodology that is ethically appropriate for the task and the participants is vital.
Clough and Nutbrown (2012) on the other hand imply that all ethical guidelines are central to any form of research, and regardless of who the participants are, there are frameworks to adhere to such as data protection, human rights, the freedom of information acts as an example are all what the ethics of methodology are based around and above all the outcome of any study should not result in harm or stress being inflicted upon its participants.
Stuchbury and Fox (2009) analyse the ethical grid that is the ethical concept of Seedhouse in 1998, this model is commonly applied when evaluating any form of research to weigh up the approaches that can be taken. The external considerations within the outer layer of the grid suggests the ethics regarding the codes of practice, when carrying out an active form of research the policies of equality would come into consideration and the way in which any research is conducted, and furthermore it could be seen to be difficult to treat all others equally when observing a class for the purpose of study.
As a researcher it could be almost impossible to observe the impact of one individual’s behaviour within a classroom setting on the other pupils, whilst the codes of practice would state that an inclusive environment would be promoted for all. Considerations would have to be taken into account of the risks that would be involved as well as the wishes of others, it would not be certain what the risks would be until research has commenced for example as suggested by Denscombe (2014). As a researcher respecting ethical practices when justifying the proposal for study it may not be seen as being appropriate to observe a group of students with any form of SEN for the purpose of how they would negatively impact on other learners of this was the case, whilst it would be beneficial to evaluate the positive impacts on their peers with the risk of causing discomfort the decision was taken not to conduct any experiments upon a classroom. This would lead into the consequential layer which does focus on what the beneficial outcomes would be and to whom they would be beneficial. Firstly, it would seem that the party who would benefit most from such a project would be the researcher themselves who would collate the findings into a study using qualitive or quantitive data dependent on the method used (Thomas 2013). Society may also take some benefit from such as study as the findings could be utilised to impact any future policies or procedures.
Participants could also be seen to benefit from research, for if the findings impacted on how things were done, this could potentially make their lives more enriched as after all it is the pupil’s wellbeing that is being looked at. Stuchbury and Fox (2008) then go onto to look at the deontological layer of the grid which focuses on the minimisation of harm, keeping to the truth and sticking by any promises that are made to the participants to gain a positive outcome. Any methods adopted would have to be conducted in such a way that minimalizes and eliminates any potential forms of stress, this was another reason that for this project no active research methods were to be carried out and by basing the research around literature there would be no risk to any harm or stress being caused to any participants. Children are vulnerable in any case according to Burgess (1989) and so it is their welfare that should be at the forefront of any investigation into behaviour or inclusion. This also adheres to the core rationale of Seedhouse’s grid, by respecting persons equally and serving needs first, nobody could be seen to be singled out by an observation or interview for the purposes of research (Stuchbury and Fox 2009).
Chapter Four: Discussion
This chapter will explore the approaches of inclusion within a secondary setting by analysing procedures and guidelines as set out within school policy, local authority reports and national documents to evaluate how far inclusion has come in relation to the literature review. The setting that will be analysed according to Ofsted 2014 (appendix D) is a “larger than average secondary school” across two sites. One site is for key stage three, the other being the campus for key stage four and also where pupils are able to continue with study programs from sixteen years onwards. It was also noted that the number of pupils who have additional needs is above the national average. There is an offsite provision under a different name that is part of the setting which is placement to a small minority of pupils who have behaviour and emotional difficulties. This provision is attended by a small number of key stage four pupils, to be able to offer adequate support for their behaviour.
As this secondary setting is recognised as an inclusive school it could be argued that having a separate provision for individuals with SEBD is not promoting inclusion in fact it could be suggested that inclusion within this setting does not necessarily mean being included (Ellis and Tod 2005; Cole and Knowles 2011). This is inconsistent with the ethos that is promoted of an inclusive school and Martin and Short (2005) argued that whilst the barriers of segregation should be removed, the practice is evident that segregation can exist within a so called inclusive environment (Appendix D). By having this separate provision for individuals with SEBD, Children are in fact separated within their settings (Cigman 2007). Rather than allow differentiation within a mainstream setting, this would be seen to be removing children and educating them separately as opposed to within a class with their peers, and teaching them in an excluded setting as opposed to making the curriculum more accessible by the teacher to meet the individual needs of the learner (Alfredo and Trent 1994; Clarke and Murray 1996; Boyle and Topping 2012).
As these pupils are at key stage four, approaching their GCSE exams, it could appear to be that this provision is offered not for the benefit of the individuals with SEBD, but to accommodate their peers as it is suggested by Dyson et al (2004), as the distractions of SEBD pupils at such a time in their education that pupils are studying for their GCSE’s, it could be deemed necessary to remove the disruptive students from the class into alternative provision where it possible to offer the adequate support needed for them which would then allow the teacher to focus on the majority of individuals rather than having their attention diverted by those who are unable to engage and cause distraction, with what could be viewed as disruptive behaviour (Hamill 2008).
However within this report (appendix D), one of the key findings was that within the majority of subjects good progress was made by the pupils recognised as having special educational needs due to the help and support that received being effective in their subject areas, this does not specify whether this was in the mainstream or the alternative provision, so this could not be prove to be sufficient evidence in whether inclusion within this mainstream setting is effective, or whether it is due to the separate provision that is offered at another site. Within this setting there is also nurture provision in place, for pupils in key stage three, this is a classroom setting that is offered in order to support those with additional needs. This could however be argued that this is an inclusive scenario, due to this being classes with additional support where pupils are kept in a form of similarly abled peers (Appendix D).
Whilst this particular setting prides itself on offering a fully inclusive environment that is accessible to all, it is apparent that there are a number of factors written into its own policies as well as the observation that was made by Ofsted (2016) (appendix D) that imply there are segregations in place. With the alternative provision that is offered on a different site, there is also the nurture provision at key stage three which is available. Nurture is not unlike primary education, where there is additional classroom support in the forms of learning assistants, and the various subjects are taught by the same three teachers, within the same classrooms to avoid disruption. It is also suggested within the SEND policy (2018) (appendix F) that when the specific needs of some individuals cannot be facilitated within the whole class setting the school justifies the need for student withdrawal, where a student can be removed from the classroom and be educated elsewhere. This can be offered to pupils who are unable to concentrate or have severe attention difficulties, which some could suggest is displayed as disruptive behaviour, making the classroom unmanageable (Ekins and Grimes 2009), and with these individuals behaving in a manner that causes disruptions within the classroom (Dyson et al 2004). This could be argued that this is not providing an inclusive environment (Jull 2009) as this could also be seen as being a result of the limited capacity of an inclusive classroom, to meet the needs of children with such needs. This could also justify the notion that inclusion does not always mean being included (Ellis and Tod 2009). After all, withdrawing a child from a classroom to offer alternative provision and to teach them elsewhere could be perceived as exclusion rather than inclusion. As Cigman (2007) argued, this is a form of separating children within education and by enforcing a segregation by removal of children from the classroom when they are unable to engage will not teach other children about tolerance, in fact it could be suggested that by doing this it is not encouraging respect or friendship. Furthermore it is creating barriers between those with severe needs and their peers, if these pupils are removed to be educated elsewhere.
This is supported by Mowat (2010) and Mackenzie (2008) who suggested that SEBD individuals within an inclusive setting who displayed any disruptive behaviour, presented challenges of their own and therefore when the learning of others is impacted, it would appear the solution is to remove them from that lesson to avoid being a burden on teachers, peers and proved to have somewhat of a negative impact on inclusion, after all it would appear that by withdrawing a pupil from a class to enable them to learn in a more suitable environment is not endorsing an inclusive setting at all (appendix F). When an earlier report was revisited by Warnock (2007) she admitted to finding that students with SEBD were in fact the least included, and were commonly rejected by their peers – this could be factored by the initiation of removing students from the classroom to teach in another setting that is deemed suitable (Coady, Harper and de Jong 2016).
It could also be argued that the attitudes of the teachers have a heavy influence on the behaviour of the pupils, particularly those with SEBD. Therefore it could be argued that it is the responsibility of the teachers to ensure an inclusive learning environment is accessible for all children regardless of needs. It seems that by withdrawing students from the class due to them not being able to engage, it could be somewhat avoided by the teachers who could ultimately remove any segregation barriers from the classroom (Martin and Short 2005), by adopting a more differentiated approach which would enable all students to access the curriculum (Boyle and Topping 2012), allowing the teachers to tailor educational programs to any individual’s needs. This could potentially allow all learners to progress at their own pace (Artiles and Trent 1994). The SEND policy (appendix F) also goes on to state that adjustments are made to meet individual’s needs, this would suggest by accommodating the learners within the classroom, and teaching styles will be flexible to reflect on this. It would appear however with resources stretched it would be more simplistic solution to adhere to the SEN policy (appendix F), as stated previously, where a student cannot be accommodated during a lesson, to withdraw them and provide their learning elsewhere to enable their peers to complete their own learning without any disruptions.
Another factor of the policy (appendix F) is the admissions for SEN children, to justify the setting as one of inclusion it implies that when accepting pupils for admission, those that have a SEN will qualify for a placement even if this would result in the school exceeding its standard number. It has been suggested by DfE (2016) resources and teaching capabilities cannot be ignored, and the inclusion framework needs to be rethought in view of how it is effecting the classroom, particularly when standard numbers for admission are exceeded to accommodate those with additional needs. The policy in question (appendix F) advises that money is made available to individuals with an EHCP in effect, which would bring into question how much is done to ensure that pupil is right for the school setting, or indeed the school setting is right for the pupil as opposed to the financial gains from accepting that pupil? Ellis and Tod (2005) advocate that schools are not coping with the demands of the most challenging behaviour and mainstream schools are almost being promoted as this “dumping ground” for individuals with SEBD because the funding that comes with such pupils is an essential requirement of the schools themselves.
Government cuts have in recent years had a profound impact on educational settings, with resources as stretched as they are, this then has an impact on the levels of attainment (Ekins and Grimes 2009) which then emphasises targets that appear to be moving further out of realistic reach. One of the very reasons for this could be that the schools are opening their admissions to pupils that come with a large amount of funding, regardless of that pupil’s level or ability and as this appears to be policy to take children with additional needs, even when the standard number for admissions is exceeded. This could clearly be seen as one of the reasons why resources and teaching abilities are so stretched, furthermore with this being a factor, promoting a fully inclusive approach could also be an explanation for why attainment levels seemingly are at an all-time low, with results and attainment not reaching the expected national average (Ellis and Tod 2005) the learning needs of all children appear not to be the priority when there is such funding available from the local authority. When a search was conducted for the local authority SEND policy, it doesn’t exist as a standalone policy. The website itself directs query towards the school policy, of the setting that is of interest and so whilst this line of inquiry is a valid one, there is unfortunately no documentation from the local council to substantiate this policy in force by the setting, or to act as local guidelines in a regional sense.
The policy that has been analysed (appendix F) does conclude by stating that all new staff undergo planned training programs including an emphasis on SEND awareness, which Warnock (2005) does endorse as being of the utmost importance that teachers undergo adequate training, to enable teaching staff to be able to deal with SEN children effectively, which came about from the audit commission review of 2002 where teachers admitted to feeling ill-equipped for dealing with children with additional needs.
Although the school policy itself was reviewed in 2018 (appendix F), it would seem that there is a substantial lack of policy and guidelines where the local authority is concerned. For a framework to be in force for an educational setting, there appears to be a need for SEND guidelines for the local council for assurance that all settings are abiding by the same framework. This does not appear to be the case for the council in this area, and whilst policy can be scrutinised for a mainstream setting, and the guidelines on SEND there is nothing to substantiate this through local authority, it could almost be assumed that school policy has nothing from the local government to back it up, and it is down to the school setting to write its own policy based on its own guidelines, with some direction from the national SEND code of practice document. As stated by the DfES in 2004 there was a lack of framework national and it was also implied that this was the case regionally, in 2018 it would appear there is still very much a lack of regional framework to refer to. Whilst there are such white papers as “Removing the barriers to achievement” which emphasised the steps that appeared to be needed and to fully instigate an inclusive education within mainstream 14 years later and the findings of that appear to still be an on-going issue. When searching the local authority website it became apparent there was nothing in effect to support the guidelines of the school setting (DfES 2004).
Chapter five: Conclusion
The aims of this study were to explore how inclusion has evolved from when SEN children were considered to be uneducable as implied by the 1944 Education Act, to being included within mainstream settings (UNESCO 1994). The journey of inclusion is a vast pursuit (Cline and Frederickson 2015) which would seem to need to be handled in a sensitive manner, and evidence would suggest that in order to promote the higher outcomes for SEND individuals, making it apparent that by simply being present within a mainstream setting is not enough (Warnock 2005). The concept of inclusion although could appear to work if there was adequate staff training in place to fully utilise the support staff within the classroom (Osborne and Read 2011) which could be contributing factors to establish a fully inclusive setting, whilst also adequately meeting the needs of every individual learner. It is also apparent that the provisions for children with SEBD gives an opportunity to learn to their potential, however it is also noticeable that teachers need to have the additional support within the classroom, so that their attention is not always consumed by the same individuals, giving everyone an equal opportunity to learn.
It is evident that national policy with regards to inclusion does need to be regularly updated, but moreover there appears to be a need for regional policy to be implemented (Warnock 2005) which evidentially does not appear to exist at this present time. Evidence could suggest there is a need for this to enable all schools within a LEA to follow consistent guidelines.
To conclude, there would appear to clearly be a number of advantages for mainstream settings to be fully inclusive to those with SEBD (Osborne and Read 2011; Ellis and Tod 2009) and furthermore inclusive schooling to any student regardless of needs should be considered as a human right (UNESCO 1994).
At a time when schools appear to be challenged to become fully inclusive when national policy suggests otherwise, the purpose of this assignment is to research and analyse the issues that arise out of providing the best inclusive provisions for pupils who display associated behaviours with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. The paper reviews the statutory progress made in inclusion practices over time as well as exploring the impact of this on the learners themselves. It will also set out to investigate the difficulties of achieving the status of fully inclusive within a setting. The paper argues whilst there is no miraculous fix for such a status to be achieved, by implementing good teaching practice and a whole school inclusion ethos many of the barriers for this can be overcome.