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An investigation of the perspectives of ex-pupils of a special school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties on their schooling

Thomas, Heather Claire (2011)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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A phenomenological approach was used to elicit the perspectives of twenty ex-pupils of a special school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties on their education. Literature is reviewed on the history of special education, accessing the voice of young people especially those labelled as having learning difficulties, the perspectives of pupils and ex-pupils on their special schooling and Social Identity Theory. Semi-structured interview and other methods were used. Data were analysed using Nvivo software and manual methods. All pupils expressed affection for their special school and described a lack of adequate learning support in the mainstream schools. Otherwise their responses could be mostly categorised as one of three types. Some felt they didn‘t belong in the special school, they didn‘t choose to be there and they didn‘t easily admit having attended there. Another group identified strongly with the special school, they felt they had taken part in the decision for them to be there; they didn‘t want to attend mainstream school and engaged in denigrating them. They positioned themselves at the more able end of a hierarchy of special needs. A third group identified very strongly with the special school and saw it as a place of safety, a haven. Social Identity Theory is used as a framework to understand these responses. The work provides evidence of the unique and valuable contribution that young people labelled as having learning difficulties are able to make.

Type of Work:Ed.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Lewis, Ann
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Department of Education
Subjects:L Education (General)
LC Special aspects of education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2973
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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