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Making schools inclusive?: Educational leaders´views on how to work with children in need of special support
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Educational Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4793-871X
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Inclusive Education, ISSN 1360-3116, E-ISSN 1464-5173, Vol. 17, no 1, 95-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Educational leaders have a comprehensive responsibility for how preschools and schools work with children in need of special educational support. The aim of this research is to study how educational leaders (a) explain why children have problems in schools, (b) consider how preschools/schools should help children in need of special support and (c) the role they believe that Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) should have in such work. Educational leaders (N = 45) working in preschools and regular compulsory schools in a Swedish municipality responded (100%) to a questionnaire. According to the results of this study, this group seems to view difficulties in schools as being caused primarily by individual shortcomings. Educational leaders often advocate solutions that are closely linked to the work of special educators. The educational leaders believe SENCOs should work with supervising staff and focus on documentation and evaluations. Preschool leaders attribute children's need of special support to teachers more often than their colleagues in compulsory schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 17, no 1, 95-110 p.
Keyword [en]
Educational leaders; inclusive education; compulsory schools; preschools; special needs; views
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Utbildning och lärande, Fokus på arbetet kring barn i behov av stöd i en kommun
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-5615DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2011.580466ISI: 000314152900007OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:5615DiVA: diva2:520379
Available from: 2011-06-30 Created: 2011-06-30 Last updated: 2015-06-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Who Should do What to Whom?: Occupational Groups´Views on Special Needs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Who Should do What to Whom?: Occupational Groups´Views on Special Needs
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to increase our knowledge of different occupational groups´ views on work with children in need of special support. This is explored in four separate studies.

The first study investigates the views of occupational groups in preschools and schools in one municipality. A questionnaire was handed out to all personnel (N=1297) in the municipality in 2008 (72.5 % response rate). The second study explores the views of educational leaders (N=45) in the same municipality. Questionnaire # 2 was distributed in 2009. All the educational leaders responded to the questionnaire. The third study describes the views of different occupational groups concerning special educational needs coordinators´ (SENCOs) role and work. This was highlighted by comparing responses from questionnaire #1 and # 2. Responses concerning SENCOs´ work were also added using a third questionnaire. This questionnaire was handed out in 2006 to chief education officers (N=290) in all municipalities in Sweden. The response rate was 90.3%. Finally, the fourth study presents five head teachers´ descriptions of their work with special needs issues. Study four was a follow-up study of questionnaire # 2. These head teachers were selected because of their inclusive values and because they seemed to be effective according to certain criteria. They were interviewed in January 2012.

The results reveal a number of interesting findings. For example, there are both similar and different views among the occupational groups concerning work with children in need of special support. A majority of the respondents in all groups state that children´s individual deficiencies is one common reason why children need special support in preschools/schools. Differences between the occupational groups become especially visible regarding their views of SENCOs‟ work.

Critical pragmatism (Cherryholmes, 1988) is applied as a theoretical point of departure. Skrtic´s (1991) critical reading and analysis of special education relative to general education is specifically used to interpret and discuss the outcome of the studies. Additionally, Abbott´s (1988) reasoning concerning the “division of expert labor” is used to discuss the occupational groups´ replies concerning “who should do what to whom”.

The findings in the studies are contextualized and theoretically interpreted in the separate articles. However in the first part of this thesis (in Swedish: Kappa), the theoretical interpretations of the empirical outcome are discussed in more detail and the results are further contextualized and synthesised. Inclusion and premises for inclusive education are also discussed in more depth in the first part of the present thesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: School of Education and Communication Jönköping University, 2013. 248 p.
Series
Dissertation. School of Education and Communication, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 22
Keyword
Occupational groups, children in need of special support, views, special needs, inclusion, SENCOs, educational leaders, preschools and schools
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Utbildning och lärande
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-13397 (URN)978-91-628-8863-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, Föreläsningssal 6, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-12-04 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2015-03-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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