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Identifying a weakness in the UK education system of supporting children with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties/ADHD - is government policy preventing effective inclusion for some pupils?

Identifying a weakness in the UK education system of supporting children with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties/ADHD - is government policy preventing effective inclusion for some pupils?

Davies, Robert (2010) Identifying a weakness in the UK education system of supporting children with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties/ADHD - is government policy preventing effective inclusion for some pupils? EdD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

A short attention span, impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity are characteristics that are commonly found in young children and sometimes in adults. These difficulties also meet the American Psychiatric Association diagnostic criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The British Psychological Society has adopted the term ‘bio-psycho-social’ to reflect the complex and multi-dimensional nature of ADHD. In young people, these symptoms interfere with learning, interpersonal relationships and self-esteem and can lead to social and educational exclusion. The use of drugs in the treatment of ADHD remains controversial and according to the 2005 prescription cost analysis (Cohen, 2006), Ritalin use has risen by 7600 per cent. Unfortunately, since the move away from the medical model following the 1978 Warnock Report on supporting children with special needs, a mindset has been created amongst teachers regarding the identification and assessment of children with certain types of complex needs as being outside of their expertise and this has resulted in teachers placing an over-reliance on external support services and specialists. This thesis proposes an enhancement to the existing over-complicated and bureaucratic system of identification and support for behavioural, social and emotional difficulties (BESD)/ADHD that develops the expertise and the role of the SENCO and thus streamlines identification of individual need and enhances educational support for ADHD sufferers. This research thesis used a case study approach with an interpretive dimension to enable the researcher to enter the working world of doctors and other medical professionals, teachers and classroom support assistants, and children as the ultimate subjects of this enquiry. The purpose of the study was to extend my knowledge of a complex childhood phenomenon and to examine the systems put in place in schools and support services that identify certain SEN and disorders that affect learning. An analysis of the role of teachers and school special needs coordinators was explored along with government policy on inclusion practices. The role of professionals from medicine and education in LEA support services was also examined and reported. A total of eighteen questionnaires were used to target key personnel in LEA support services. This was followed up with interviews at support services and in schools. A total of six medical professionals and a further nine educational professionals were interviewed. Three classroom observations were also conducted at a London comprehensive school. Analysis of the resulting data led to the identification of a series of Figures and a flowchart depicting the ‘story’ of this difficult process, with a proposed enhancement for earlier BSED/ADHD identification and support, and a range of recommendations. Although this was a small-scale research study, the literature and the comments from professionals cited from the national expert SENCO Forum indicate that my findings reflect a much wider picture locally and nationally.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.536926
Uncontrolled Keywords: ADHD, BSED, behavioural difficulties, social and emotional difficulties, education, UK, government policy, support
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Education
School of Education > Department of Education & Community Studies
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:17
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/6600

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