04 SES 07 C, Inclusive Policy and Practice: Case studies from Kazakhstan, Serbia, Italy and Spain
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Naciones Unidas, 1989) points out the children’s right to participate in decision-making process, to form an opinion and to be able to express it on all matters that relate to them, including judicial and administrative issues, with respect to their age and maturity.
The area of Special Educational Needs (SEN) has experienced the significant developments on the way towards higher levels of inclusion throughout Europe, with student participation being one of its fundamental principles. However, although some research has been carried out in different contexts (Drummond, 2015, 2016; Holtom et al., 2014), the exercise the rights of these children and young people still requires to be investigated.
This field of study is stated in the point 3 "Societal Challenges" of the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2014-2020 (Horizon 2020) (Comisión Europea, 2011), particularly in the line called: "Inclusive, innovative and secure societies". Additionally, the point 7 "International cooperation" sees this area as important for effective addressing many specific objectives defined in Horizon 2020. Our research is conducted within the cooperation on the project called "Autonomy, Rights and Children with Special Needs: A New Paradigm ?", which is managed and developed further by Professor Sheila Riddell at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), whose work on the rights of students with additional educational support needs is well known in the field of inclusive education (McCluskey, Riddell , Weedon & Fordyce, 2015; Mills, Riddell & Hjörne, 2015; Riddell, Harris & Weedon, 2016; Riddell & Weedon, 2010). We carry out an adaptation to the context of Castilla y León, the largest region in Spain and the third in the entire European Union (EU-28), surpassing 17 of the 28 member countries (Junta de Castilla y León, 2017).
Overall, we observed that Spanish and Castilla-León development policy is broad, advanced and responds to current international demands in this area. However, we can find some barriers and setbacks to child participation that the document Plataforma de Infancia España [Spanish Childhood Platform] (2017:40) denounces and that we consider in our study:
● Difficulty to integrate socially diverse children and adolescents into participatory bodies, especially those with disabilities.
● School Councils, as participatory bodies for children in schools, are still not sufficient because they do not ensure the participation of children in primary and special education, where they do not have direct participation.
● Participation, in the closest environment, is often reduced to sport associations, where disproportions between boys and girls occur, especially if attention is paid to groups in the situation of vulnerability and/or exclusion.
Relating to the main legislative policies developed in recent years, at what stage we find ourselves in the new era of autonomy/participation rights of Castilla-León children and young people with specific needs for educational support (SNES) considering the real implementation in practice.
The tackled sub-questions are as follows:
- How are the above-mentioned rights of children and young people with SNES understood and implemented in different contexts and in relation to different kinds of difficulties?
- What new measures and support structures may be necessary to ensure the full implementation of the rights of these children and young people in different social contexts?
- How do educational management and financing systems influence the implementation of the rights of children and young people with SEN/ASN/SNES in England, Scotland and Castilla y León?
The general objective of the research is to identify contexts, opportunities and barriers for the participation of Castilla y León children and young people with SNES.
The research design responds to a mixed method, specifically to the sequential exploratory design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007; Creswell et al., 2003), which begins with a qualitative approach to explore the desired phenomenon, and develops a quantitative phase afterwards. This mixed approach allows us to combine a high level of national / regional policy research and practice of educational authorities with an in-depth exploration of experiences of children and young people in different social and cultural contexts. In the design of the research, responding also to its general objective, we have been particularly aware of the importance of children's participation and of creating a safe and inclusive environment for them to express their opinions (Lundy & McEvoy, 2012). Up to 20 interviews with key informants will be carried out in Castilla y León. A questionnaire will be applied to 45 people: 18 heads of provincial directorates of education (2 per province) and 27 members of management teams of educational centres (3 per province). 18 in-depth case studies will be conducted with 9 education authorities and 9 children / young people (one per province in each group). The selection must respond to the categories of SNES, as follows: 1. Students with Special Educational Needs 2. Madurative delay 3. Students with Educational Compensation Needs 4. High Intellectual Capabilities 5. Alterations of Communication and Language 6. Specific Learning Difficulties 7. Significant Limited Intellectual Capacity. The quantitative data will be analysed with SPSS. Descriptive statistics will be used to investigate the relationship between variables, for example, the association between level of deprivation, type of difficulty and inclusion of children with SNES in different types of educational centres. The Nvivo software will be used in the analysis of qualitative data. We plan to organize an International Scientific Symposium for the dissemination and exchange of results in Burgos (Spain) (November 20, 2020), coinciding with Universal Children's Day.
The research is in the process. We are currently in the preparatory phase of adaptation of tools for collecting information and in the selection phase of participants. We hope that the knowledge of strengths and limitations in the theoretical, legislative and practical development of the rights of the most vulnerable children and young people will offer us an ideal situation to identify facilitators, good practices as well as barriers to be removed in order to move forward to more inclusive future in Castilla y León. Furthermore, we hope that the above-mentioned international collaboration with the British project will enable us to: - Perform comparative analyses of information units and obtained results, - Learn mutually from the good practices of the participating countries, - Propose innovative practices that can be implemented and disseminated internationally.
Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting Mixed Methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. DOI: 10.1177/1558689807306132 Creswell, J. W., Plano Clark, V. L., Gutmann, M. L., & Hanson, W. E. (2003). Advanced Mixed Methods research designs. En A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.). Handbook of Mixed Methods in social and behavioral research (pp. 209-240). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Drummond, O. (2015). The Access to Justice Barriers for Tribunal Users: A comparative case study on Special Educational Needs Tribunals. Jordanstown: Ulster University. Drummond, O. (2016, forthcoming). When the Law is not enough: Guaranteeing a child’s right to participate at SEN tribunals. Education Law Journal, 17. Comisión Europea (2011): Europa 2020: una estrategia para un crecimiento inteligente, sostenible e integrador. Bruselas: Autor. Recuperado de http://ec.europa.eu/commission 2010-2014/president/news/documents/pdf/201003031.pdf Holtom, D., Lloyd-Jones, S., & Watkins, J. (2014). Evaluation of a pilot of Young People’s Rights to Appeal and Claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales. Llandudno Junction: Welsh Government Social Research. Junta de Castilla y León (2017). Estadística de Castilla y León. Recuperado de http://www.estadistica.jcyl.es/web/jcyl/Estadistica/es/Plantilla100/1284199228842/_/_/_ Lundy, L., & McEvoy, L. (2012). Children’s rights and research processes: Assisting children to (in) formed views. Childhood, 19(1), 129-144. McCluskey, G., Riddell, S., Weedon, E., & Fordyce, M. (2016). Exclusion from school and recognition of difference. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37(4), 529-539. DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1073015 Mills, M., Riddell, S., & Hjörne, E. (2015). After exclusion what?. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(6), 561-567. DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2014.961674 Naciones Unidas (1989). Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño. Comité de los Derechos del Niño. 55º período de sesiones. Examen de los informes presentados por los Estados partes en virtud del artículo 44 de la Convención Observaciones finales: España. Plataforma de Infancia España (2017). Informe Complementario al V y VI Informe de aplicación de la de Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño de Naciones Unidas y sus protocolos facultativos. Madrid: Autor. Recuperado de http://www.plataformadeinfancia.org/AlmacenamientoExterno/POI%20Informe%20Complementario%20-%20Nva%20versi%C3%B3n.pdf Riddell, S., & Weedon, E. (2010). Reforming special education in Scotland: tensions between discourses of professionalism and rights. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(2), 113–131. Riddell, S., Harris, N. and Weedon, E. (2016). Special and additional support needs in England and Scotland: Current dilemmas and solutions in Peer, L. and Reid, G. (eds.) Special Educational Needs: A guide for Inclusive Practice. London: Sage
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