• School belonging among young adolescents with SEMH and MLD: the link with their social relations and school inclusivity

      Dimitrellou, Eleni; Hurry, Jane; University of Derby; Institute of Education, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08-20)
      Despite the considerable institutional changes schools have made to accommodate the individual needs of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), as underpinned by key principles of inclusion, there is still international concern about the mainstream experiences pupils with SEND have in school settings. This study helps us understand the schooling experiences of pupils with behavioural difficulties and learning difficulties by investigating whether they have a sense of belonging and positive social relations and whether these vary according to the level of inclusiveness of the school ethos at the institution they attend. Perceived social relations and feelings of belonging of 1,440 (282 SEND) young adolescents from three secondary mainstream settings that differ in inclusivity, were analysed using a self-reporting questionnaire. Findings demonstrated that pupils with SEND are not a homogeneous group, as pupils with behavioural difficulties were found to have less of a sense of belonging, and social relations than those with learning difficulties. It was also found that the sense of belonging of both groups is associated with their positive perceived relations with teachers and their inclusiveness of school ethos. These findings contribute as they offer ways of enhancing the sense of belonging of pupils with behavioural and learning difficulties in schools.