Lewis, Ann, Davison, Ian, Ellins, Jean, Niblett, Louise, Parsons, Sarah, Robertson, Christopher and Sharpe, Jeremy
The experiences of disabled pupils and their families
British Journal of Special Education, 34, (4), . (doi:10.1111/j.1467-8578.2007.00478.x).
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In this article, Ann Lewis, Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham, and Ian Davison, Jean Ellins, Louise Niblett, Sarah Parsons, Christopher Robertson and Jeremy Sharpe from the research team provide a summary of discussions and selected recommendations arising from four linked projects run between 2004 and 2006. The projects were funded by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and looked into the experiences of disabled pupils and their families across England, Scotland and Wales. A central aim of the research was to identify the key concerns and priorities in relation to their experiences of education for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities and their families in the UK. The research encompassed a UK-wide parent survey (N=1776); in-depth case studies of individual children and young people(N=36); group case studies (of, for example, school councils) (N=3); and a series of project advisory groups involving disabled people. Underlying these aspects was an emphasis on the importance and validity of hearing directly from (potentially all) children and young people themselves. Thus the work meshes closely with initiatives worldwide concerning the recognition of children’s ‘voice’ in matters that concern them. The authors are not aware of any comparable evidence which focuses in-depth on a wide cross-section of pupils with disabilities or special needs and their families in the UK-wide educational context and which is located alongside concurrent authoritative data concerning the views of parents and carers.
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