Our previous research – the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) project –showed that day-to-day support for pupils with special education needs (SEN) in mainstream schools is often provided by teaching assistants (TAs), instead of teachers. This, we argue, is one main reason for other results from the DISS project, which found that support from TAs had a more profound negative impact on the academic progress of pupils with SEN than pupils without SEN (Blatchford, Russell and Webster, 2012). However, there is surprisingly little systematic information on the overall support and interactions experienced by pupils with the highest level of need attending mainstream schools. The Making a Statement (MaSt) project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation to provide such a picture. The study also addressed factors that influenced the effectiveness of what is often described as ‘additional support’ provided by TAs in mainstream settings. The main findings from the MaSt project, reported here, are based on results from extensive systematic observations of 48 pupils with statements of SEN for moderate learning difficulties (MLD) or behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) and 151 average attaining ‘control’ pupils. The observation data were supplemented with detailed case studies, based largely on interviews with nearly 200 teachers, TAs, SENCos/inclusion managers and parents/carers. All data were collected over the 2011/12 school year, and involved a team of researchers shadowing pupils in Year 5 over one week each. Findings from the MaSt study provide a much-needed perspective on inclusive practice vital for informing policymaking and classroom practice, at a time when SEN provision is undergoing the biggest reform in 30 years (DfE, 2012a).
|Publisher||UCL Institute of Education|
|Commissioning body||Nuffield Foundation|
|Number of pages||88|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2013|