05 SES 04, Supporting Students with Complex Needs
With globalization, the educational system is in a constant dynamic: the increasing economization according to neo-liberal patterns has led to a radical change in the European understanding of education (cf. Spring 2015). The consequence is a paradigm shift and revaluation of the system of values from the humanistically influenced input orientation of education to output-oriented performance measurements (e.g. PISA) (cf. Krautz 2018; Meyer & Benavot 2013). These remodelling processes establish a culture of 'winners' and 'losers' (cf. Herz 2015), which lead to risky developments, especially in pedagogical contexts, as the individual becomes increasingly responsible for their failure (cf. Baumann et al., 2017; Dahme & Wohlfahrt 2015). At the same time the request for an inclusive concept of education and a pedagogy of diversity is dominant in Germany after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (cf. Prengel 2019).
Looking more closely at current inclusive restructuring processes in education, alarming developments can be observed: with growing evidence-orientation more exclusion processes are legitimized (cf. Ahrbeck et al. 2016). Despite the inclusion efforts a specific group of adolescents is left with massive social disadvantages because of graduating special needs schools without any educational degree (cf. Thielen & Weiß 2016).
Which conditions must prevail in institutions to ensure educational justice for all?
The statistic on special needs education in Germany shows a share of 15 percent of Pupils with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (BESD) in 2017/18 (cf. KMK 2018); 48.6 percent of this group is schooled in special schools (cf. KMK 2018). These results are comparable to current developments in England: in 2016, the percentage of students with BESD and Intellectual Development was 17 percent (cf. Carroll & Hurry 2018; DfE 2016). This target group is at risk of repeated or permanent school drop out, as it is this group that is considered to be the most difficult to integrate into classroom society (cf. Robert Koch Institute 2014).
Carroll and Hurry (2018) said it is “…imperative that practitioners and researchers advance their understanding of practice in school to help reduce exclusion rates and ensure that this potentially vulnerable group of young people experience an enriched and rewarding education”. Three-quarters of all students leave school without a degree and find it difficult to find an apprenticeship or a job (cf. Klemm 2010). In England these young people are labelled as "NEETS" or "Not in Education, Employment or Training" (cf. Norwich & Eaton 2014).
In the practice of inclusive education of this clientele there is the danger of overtaxing the teachers. Due to austerity measures and pressure for reform, they are being less and less prepared for the needs and requirements of this student group. Thus they reach the limits of their individual and institutional capacity to the point where the teacher Association Real Education demand a stop of inclusion (cf. Kirch 2017). This could be a possible beginning of a cycle in which students are being issued the deficit attribution of "unteachable" or "beyond treatment" by the education authority. Responsibility for biographical failure on the part of politics or educational institutions is being ignored (cf. Baumann et al. 2017)
Therefore, a change of perspective with focus on pupils at risk of exclusion is necessary for the construction of sustainable inclusive conversion processes.
- How is the clientele constituted in special schools, with focus on pupils with BESD? Which characteristics or labels are attributed to this target group?
- What measures need to be taken by institutions to avert irresponsibility and practice educational justice for all?
- What framework conditions can be derived for the implementation of school-organizational measures regarding inclusive schooling?
Sample and procedure Considering the fact that children and adolescents with significant behavioural disorders are regarded as the "acid test" of inclusive education, the research desideratum regarding this clientele is surprising (cf. Stein & Müller 2015). The following study focuses on this target group in order to derive insights about necessary quality improvements in educational institutions. From July till October 2018, Leibniz Universität Hannover conducted a hypothesis-testing exploration study using a documentary and file analysis with a qualitative content-analytical category system (N = 253 pupil records in grades 1-10) at special schools with focus on BESD in Lower Saxony. The categories relate to: 1) the child itself (30 categories of person, school development and diagnostics) 2) the parents. The evaluation of the data was carried out using a qualitative content analysis (Mayring, P.) and the software SPSS and MAXQDA The goal of the survey is the exemplary specification of characteristics of the clientele and the resulting improvements for the qualification of educational institutions. The results are fundamental for rethinking educational environments, taking into account the educational justice of all students. Preliminary results The study found that the risk group affected by the exclusion were, in particular, boys (234 male vs. 19 female students), who attracted attention because of their irregular behaviour at school (cf. Müller & Stein 2018). According to the data, the deficient assignment of aggressive and dissocial behaviour by the teacher is considered as a reason for the drop out. This means the following attributes of this clientele must be considered for the organization of inclusive education processes: • 85 percent of the files included concrete information on the participation of school and young people welfare institutions. • Almost every third student has a second support focus in addition to BESD from the fields of learning, mental development or language. • In 222 files the following medical diagnoses (ICD-10 classification system) were determined: 77 percent have at least one diagnosis, 25 percent have three to six diagnoses. • Every second student completed a stay in a child and adolescent psychiatry. • In 44 cases there was data about (sexual) violence and traumatization (e.g. for 14 students through deaths) in the family.
The results illustrate three aspects: 1) the drop out starts a cycle of observing, diagnosing and shifting; 2) the adolescents and their families need multidimensional and multiprofessional support; 3) this implies an implementation of systematic multidisciplinary cooperation for inclusive arrangements. In order to ensure the success of the collaboration, a time-consuming and expensive restructuring in the education system is necessary, as well as training of pedagogues and all involved professions. This contradicts current privatization and economization developments in the education sector, in which private companies move into the classroom with their expertise under the cover of "digitization" and "innovation" (cf. Scheppler 2019). Multiple medical diagnoses suggest two things: Firstly, with increasing cost cuts in the school system, the number of psychological, medical and psychiatric diagnoses have also increased. Secondly, this disease mongering of behavioural disorders leads to a shift of responsibility between institutions (cf. Herz 2015) to finance costly complex support needs. The “labelling” with diagnoses corresponds to economic logics, but roughly contradicts the inclusion ideal. The increasing use of youth welfare services for children and adolescents with deviant behaviour reflects this development. In order to counteract stigmatization or secondary trauma (cf. Herz 2017) as well as deprofessionalisation developments in inclusive educational institutions, a restructuring in school development is necessary. Key elements are: • A restructuring in teacher training based on a "general pedagogy and developmental didactics" (Feuser 2018, 8). • Multiprofessional networking from both: school and youth welfare services. • Multidisciplinary education measures to reduce the non-responsibility spirals of educational institutions and to strengthen cooperation (cf. ex. Reiser et al. 2008). In the future, to be able to evaluate best practices and the quality of inclusive settings, another study could be conducted regarding personnel, financial and material resources.
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