04 SES 13 A, Students with SEN at High Risk: The Link between Social Participation and Psychosocial Outcomes
Despite a major policy drive towards inclusion to be the norm for educational systems across the planet in the last couple of decades emanated from the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994), establishing an inclusive and equitable school and society still remains a major challenge for Europe (EU, 2010) and many other parts of the world. Within the context of this paper, inclusion is defined as a principled approach to the development of education and society, which is linked to democratic participation within and beyond education (Booth and Ainscow, 2011). This paper explores the social interactions, dynamics and friendship networks of students in mainstream schools with an emphasis on the inclusion or isolation of students identified as having special educational needs and/or disabilities. In particular, data collected from four mainstream schools (two from each country) in England and the USA are presented. The paper draws on a wider project which set out to understand how inclusive education is being implemented across three countries (USA, England, Cyprus) and contribute to the debate on how to create more inclusive European education systems and society by providing rigorous research evidence and recommendations. The social outcomes of all students and particularly those identified as having special educational needs and/or disabilities in the context of inclusion are seen as very important in the overall success of achieving a more inclusive educational system. The main objective of the paper is therefore to examine aspects of social inclusion, such as social interactions, friendships, social isolation and marginalisation. A mixed methods approach was employed using a sequential transformative design (Creswell, 2009; Greene, 2007) with two distinct phases of data collection. In the first phase, 198 social network questionnaires were collected from children. Data were analysed by employing social network analysis tools. Social network analysis conceptualises individuals as ‘points’ and their relations to each other as ‘lines’ (Scott, 2013). In the second phase, eight classroom teachers, four head teachers and eighteen students took part in follow-up semi-structured interviews to explore their views on social inclusion and/or isolation. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse the interviews.
Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2011) The Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: CSIE. Creswell, J.W. (2009) Research design – Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. (3rd edition). Thousand Oaks – London – New Delhi: SAGE. Greene, C.J. (2007) Mixed Methods in Social Inquiry. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Scott, J. (2013) Social Network nalysis (3rd ed.). London: SAGE. UNESCO (1994) The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special need education. Paris, UNESCO.
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