• Developing the effectiveness of teacher education for inclusion

      Robinson, Deborah; University of Derby (2017-05)
      Abstract: This paper reports on the findings of a research study which sought to identify the conditions, processes and activities underpinning effective inclusive teacher education. The study took forward what was currently known (or hypothesised) and from this built a pedagogic model (in the form of inclusive action research) that was applied in a partnership school during the practicum period among 22 participants (preservice teachers, experienced teachers and teaching assistants) to support the professional development of all involved. The findings support the claim that socially situated, research oriented, reflexive, collaborative approaches to developing inclusive practice are important elements in an effectual programme. They also cast light on the conceptual and practical challenges involved in being inclusive and on the impact of external cultures on the professional identities and actions of practitioners. This paper takes the position that de-intellectualised, competence based ‘on the job training’ models of teacher education will not be effective in preparing teachers for the deep challenges involved in becoming and being a more inclusive practitioner.
    • Education, health and care plans: A qualitative investigation into service user experiences of the planning process.

      Adams, Lorna; Tindle, Angus; Basran, Sabrina; Dobie, Sarah; Thomson, Dominic; Robinson, Deborah; Codina, Geraldene; University of Derby; IFF Research (Department for Education, 2018-01)
      An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan sets out the education, health and care support that is to be provided to a child or young person aged 0-25 years who has Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND). It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment of the child or young person, in consultation with relevant partner agencies, parents and the child or young person themselves. EHC plans, and the needs assessment process through which they are created, were introduced as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. The Act, and an accompanying SEND Code of Practice, sets out how local authorities must deliver EHC plans. In 2016, a national survey commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) found variations in how EHC plan recipients experienced the EHC planning process across different local authorities.1 Based on these results, DfE commissioned two further research projects: a multivariate analysis of factors affecting satisfaction with the EHC planning process, and this qualitative investigation of user experiences of the EHC planning process. The qualitative investigation consisted of two distinct exercises: • Twenty-five face-to-face in-depth interviews with parents involved in the 2016 survey, with the aim of better understanding factors that lead to satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the EHC plan process. Thirteen interviews were conducted in local authorities with above average satisfaction, and 12 were conducted in local authority areas with below average satisfaction. • An evaluation of EHC plan quality focussing on plans provided by 18 of the 25 parents interviewed. The evaluation was conducted by a panel of 10 SEND experts with wide experience as SEND policy advisors, strategic leaders in LAs, specialist advisory teachers, officers in SEN statutory services, Special Needs Co-ordinators, teachers in special and mainstream schools and lecturers. There was little evidence of a link between families’ satisfaction with the process of getting the EHC plan and experts’ evaluations of the quality of the plan: this report therefore discusses these two strands of research separately.
    • Effective inclusive teacher education for special educational needs and disabilities: Some more thoughts on the way forward

      Robinson, Deborah; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2016-10-29)
      This study sought to identify the principles and practices underpinning effective inclusive teacher education for special educational needs (SEN) in ordinary schools through an inclusive action research project. The findings demonstrate that where practitioner development involves critical-theoretical, reflexive, research-oriented collaborations among a professional learning community, practitioners become more confident and skilful in enacting inclusive practice. This community was formed in the context of a school-university partnership and included pre-service teachers, experienced teachers, teaching assistants and university tutors. Its findings cast serious doubt over the efficacy of de-intellectualised, ‘on the job’ training models favoured by policy makers in England and elsewhere.
    • Ensuring an independent future for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): a critical examination of the impact of education, health and care plans in England.

      Robinson, Deborah; Moore, Nicki; Hooley, Tristram; University of Derby; Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, University of Derby, Derby, UK; International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Derby, UK; International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Derby, UK (Taylor and Francis, 2018-01-03)
      This article examines the implications of the new education, health and care (EHC) planning process for career professionals in England. The new process comes in the wake of a succession of legislation relating to young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in England. There is much to recommend the new process as it represents a shift to a more holistic and person-centred approach. However, there are four main criticisms which can be made of the new process: (1) the policy has an excessive focus on paid work as an outcome which is unrealistic (for some young people); (2) the resourcing in local authorities is too limited to successfully operationalise the policy; (3) there is a lack of clarity about the professional base delivering EHC planning (especially in relation to the career elements); and (4) the policy is too narrowly targeted. While the new legislation offers some major opportunities, realising these will be difficult. In this paper, questions are raised about the resources required to deliver these services; the responsibilities relevant to such services; and the role and scope of these services in supporting the transitions of vulnerable young people into learning and work in an environment where universal careers provision has been substantially diminished.
    • Experiences of education, health and care plans: A survey of parents and young people.

      Adams, Lorna; Tindle, Angus; Basran, Sabrina; Dobie, Sarah; Thomson, Dominic; Robinson, Deborah; Shepherd, Claire; IFF Research; University of Derby (Department for Education, 2017-03)
      An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) sets out the education, health and care support that is to be provided to a child or young person aged 0-25 years who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) or a disability (SEND). It is drawn up by the local authority after an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment of the child or young person has determined that an EHC plan is necessary, and after consultation with relevant partner agencies and with children, young people and parents. EHC plans, and the needs assessment process through which these are made, were introduced as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. The Act, and an accompanying SEND Code of Practice1, sets out how local authorities must deliver these, including:• Developing and maintaining these collaboratively with children, young people and parents; • Supporting children, young people and parents to participate fully; • Focusing on securing the best possible outcomes for the child/young person; • Enabling participation by relevant partner agencies, to enable joined-up provision.The SEND accountability framework established in 20152 sets out an approach for assessing SEND provision in conjunction with the Act and SEND Code of Practice. The framework provides structure for improving outcomes and experiences for children, young people and their families and, when applied, seeks to show how the system is performing, hold partners to account and support self-improvement. The framework applies at the local and national levels and to independent assessments of the EHC plan process – such as those carried out by Ofsted. In this context, the Department for Education commissioned a survey of parents and young people with an EHC plan, in order to build a representative national (and, where the data allows, local) picture of how parents and young people in England were experiencing the EHC needs assessment and planning process and the resultant EHC plans. The aim was to assess whether delivery of the EHC needs assessments and planning process and the resultant EHC plans reflected the intentions set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 and the accompanying SEND Code of Practice. The findings would help inform the SEND accountability framework.To achieve these aims the survey sought to answer the following questions: • To what extent do children, young people and families experience the EHC needs assessment and planning process as they are intended to be experienced; • How satisfied are children, young people and families with the EHC needs assessment and planning process and the resultant EHC plan; and • To what extent does this vary by local authority and by groups with different characteristics? The findings presented here and throughout the main report explore parents’ and young people’s responses to the survey questions. The report also explores where experiences of the EHC needs assessment and planning process varied for groups with different characteristics, applying a bivariate analysis approach3. The report only highlights such differences where these are statistically significant4.
    • The impact of books on social inclusion and development and well-being among children and young people with severe and profound learning disabilities: recognising the unrecognised cohort

      Robinson, Deborah; Moore, Nicki; Harris, Catherine; University of Derby; Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (Wiley, 2019-02-07)
      This paper presents the findings of an original research project commissioned by BookTrust, a respected UK charity that gifts books to children, young people (CYP) and their families. It explored the impact and modus of pleasurable engagement with books among CYP with severe and profound learning disabilities and applied a critical, phenomenological stance on what it means to read through drawing on 'inclusive literacy' as a conceptual framework. Data was collected from four local areas in England and included 43 CYP aged 4-14. In keeping with a phenomenological stance, it employed interpretivist methods involving 13 deep-level interviews with families to include observations and structured play; 13 observations of CYP sharing books with others in home, play or school settings, and interviews with 27 practitioners working in a range of organisations (e.g. Portage service, advisory teams). Findings were that books had a positive impact on well-being, social inclusion and development. CYP were engaged in enjoying the content of books through personalisation, sensory stimulation, social stimulation and repetition. This affirmed the theoretical and practical approaches espoused by 'inclusive literacy' but made a critical and original contribution to our understanding of the special place that books occupy as ordinary artefacts of literary citizenship among this cohort. The benefits of volitional reading among CYP who do not have learning disabilities are well known but the authors urge publishers and policy makers to recognise CYP with severe and profound learning disabilities as equally important, active consumers of books who have much to gain from reading for pleasure. There is strong evidence of the positive relationship between reading for pleasure and attainment, emotional and economic wellbeing. Reading books for pleasure has strong associations with emotional and personal development including self-understanding. This is shown to be the case across genders and socioeconomic groups but significantly less research has been done on the impact of reading books for pleasure among people with learning disabilities. This paper provides an original account of the impact of pleasurable reading and engagement with books on children and young people (CYP) with severe learning disabilities (SLD) and profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). It demonstrates that responsive adults support pleasurable engagement with books and reading in ways that enable children and young people with reading disabilities to develop sensory, shared focus, communication, social and cultural understanding whilst also providing a basis for shared attention, closeness and wellbeing. Provided is account of the modus of pleasurable reading and engagement with books within the conceptual frame of inclusive literacy and phenomenological conceptions of what it means to read. Effective practices are illustrated and outlined to include recognition of the importance of multi-modal texts, personalisation and intense dyadic interaction. The paper urges policy makers and publishers to recognises CYP with SLD and PMLD as important, active consumers of books, claiming that their relative absence from consideration of positive impacts is a sign of exclusive conceptualisations of what it means to be a literate citizen.