Nind, Melanie, Boorman, Georgie and Clarke, Gill
Making schools fitting places for all: a creative approach.
In, Social Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties Association International Conference, Oxford, GB,
15 - 17 Sep 2010.
In the UK girls are the ‘emblem of educational success’ (McLeod & Allard 2001:1), one possible explanation for their success being that girls are suited to the current education system or vice versa. Girls who fall outside this expectation are poorly catered for. Approximately 20% of permanent school exclusions are girls (DCSF 2008) and for them it could be said that the schools ‘don’t fit the students’. The response of placing them in boy-dominated pupil referral units or schools for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) can lead to an even poorer fit.
This paper reports on a collaborative Knowledge Transfer Project between university academics and the staff and students of a new school for girls excluded from mainstream provision for BESD. One project goal was to develop an holistic curriculum to fit the girls’ educational and social needs. This involved interrogation of evidence on ‘what works’ with girls/students with BESD, gathering and analysing the views of stakeholders, particularly the girls themselves, and action research with the school community to understand and enhance the emerging curriculum. One element of the process and product is explored in this paper, namely that of creativity.
Although the girls are in segregated provision the aim remains one of educational inclusion through re-engaging them. Ultimately this is a creative process of possibility thinking (Craft et al. 2008). In the paper we discuss evidence of the role of creative learning in inclusion through engaging pedagogies and alternative spaces (Noyes 2008) that afford different communicative and relational patterns. We explore the potential of creative work as identity work (Miles 2007b), disrupting self-image and creating new and positive relationships.
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