There’s never going to be a perfect school that ticks every box: minority perspectives of inclusion and placement preferences
This study explores how British-Pakistani mothers of children with special education needs and/or disability (SEND) experience the school placement decision-making process, and the relationship between their notions of inclusion and different placement settings. This paper reports on the author’s research and explores how professional expertise interacts with maternal concerns and knowledge. Using Weber’s (2001) Intersectional Framework, this qualitative study was conducted in Southwest England in three phases using semi-structured interviews, unstructured interviews and vignettes. Eight first-generation and second-generation immigrant British-Pakistani mothers participated in this research, whose children varied in age and range of SEND. Research participants were contacted through Anoka, a South Asian disabled families’ support group and through snowballing. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis was used to develop five main themes. This research yielded rich and nuanced data regarding maternal understanding around placement preferences. Mothers generally preferred those special schools with plans for eventual mainstream integration, particularly those sharing geographical locations with a mainstream school. A uniquely telling finding in this study was that mothers preferred special schools which had the least disabling visual outlook and appeared least like a medicalised setting. In the case of mainstream schools, in addition to overall performance and educational attainment, mothers valued school policies towards accommodating pupils with SEND. Most notably, all mothers suggested that their child’s SEND was their main criteria for placement preferences in order to secure better provisions. This research suggests that for parents from minority communities, the placement decision-making process must become more inclusive and enabling before they are able to fully support their child with SEND.
Citation : Rizvi, S. (2018), There's never going to be a perfect school that ticks every box: minority perspectives of inclusion and placement preferences. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 18 (S1), pp. 59-69
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes