04 SES 03 C, Stakeholders' Voices
This paper focuses on a Swedish municipality – Essunga – which succeeded in transforming its position from the bottom of the league tables to top position over four years – and through inclusive education. The results have attracted widespread interest from the media within Sweden and internationally and the municipality has been overwhelmed by interested groups seeking to learn from its success with a view to replicating it elsewhere. Amidst this intensive attention, Essunga, and the resarchers, Bengt Persson, Elisabeth Persson and Julie Allan, have resisted pressure to provide reductive accounts of ‘what works’, which only succeed in providing ‘advice for deck chair rearrangement’ (Slee, 2011), and have sought instead systematically to understand the processes and outcomes. A co-operation agreement has been established between Essunga and a Danish school and Essunga itself has launched a new development programme, in co-operation with the University of Borås, to ensure the sustainability of its achievement.
The paper builds on research reported at ECER in 2011 (Persson, forthcoming; Persson & Persson, 2012), which interpreted the outcomes and processes from an institutional perspective. Here we report on the perspectives of students who were educated in Essunga and who have, at the age of 19, subsequently entered the upper-secondary phase of their education.
Social capital was used as the conceptual framework for investigating and interpreting the students’ perspectives and understandings. This framework enables the different types of connections between people to be identified as forms of bonding, bridging and linking capital and to explore what such connections enable participants to achieve (Allan and Catts; Ozga and Allan, 2009).
References Allan, J & Catts, R (Eds) (2012) Social capital, children and young people: Implictions for practice, policy and research. Bristol: Policy Press. Ozga, J & Allan, J (2009) Social capital, professionalism and diversity: Prospects and potential, in J Allan, J Ozga & G Smyth Social capital, professionalism and diversity. Rotterdam: Sense. Persson, B & Persson, E (2012) Inkludering och måluppfyllelse. Stockholm: Liber. Persson, E (forthcoming) Raising achievement through inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education. Slee, R (2011) The irregular school: Exclusion, schooling and inclusive education. London: Routledge.
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