"Reasonable adjustments" in relation to disability and social justice for children and young people in an inter-professional context

Paliokosta, Panagiota and Kindness, Leonie (2011) "Reasonable adjustments" in relation to disability and social justice for children and young people in an inter-professional context. In: European Conference on Educational Research 2011, Urban Education; 12-16 Sep 2011, Freie Universitat, Berlin, Germany. (Unpublished)


Under the wider policy framework as framed primarily (amongst other documents and acts) by the Every Child Matters agenda (DFES, 2004), the Removing Barriers to Achievement (2004) document, the Disability and Discrimination Act (DFES, 2005), Aiming High for disabled Children (2007) and the Lamb Enquiry (2009) that lead to further publications on parental confidence and involvement, the reasonable adjustments duty has become even more prominent for schools and settings in England. The reasonable adjustments duty has become statutory since 2007 and plethora of supportive material has been available to support settings on the implementation of what could be seen as a far more social orientated model of disability. This poster will communicate the findings of a qualitative, small-scale project under the umbrella of ICCIP (Institute for Child Centred Interprofessional Practice, Kingston University) that investigates those processes in action by exploring discourses and practices relating to ‘reasonable adjustments’ as used and understood by different stakeholders, front line workers (teachers, TAs), multi-agency service providers, school management teams, parents and the children themselves -for whom the adjustments have taken place. Shared values, beliefs and preparedness for inclusion verse exclusion will be explored through the above stakeholders’ voices. Method The study is in line with a qualitative interpretative research paradigm and aims a) to identify issues that will frame the research agenda, b) to explore in-depth the experiences of different stakeholders of reasonable adjustments in an inter-professional context, c) to gain a better understanding of the personal/social outcomes of these adjustments through the voice of the child. In the context of this project three primary school children from one-form entry inner-city primary school in London were selected. Each of the selected children has been part of the school’s inclusion register for an identified additional educational need or disability and their inclusion has required some kind of reasonable adjustment. One important aspect of the methodology of this project is the focus on service-user involvement and participation. Not only is one of the researchers also a service-user, but participants are invited to influence the direction of research in this and future projects, in line with the many advantages of this process outlined in the recent INVOLVE report (2009). Expected Outcomes The voices and experiences of stakeholders will inform a discussion about the need perhaps for a response along the lines of a ‘social pedagogy’ found in large parts of Western Europe and Scandinavia were education would be something much more than schools. It is based on a fundamentally holistic concept of children and adults in which the teachers concentrate on teaching but not in isolation (Whitney, 2007). Following this project, there is also scope for creating a network of stakeholders from different settings/boroughs on issues of inter-professional practice to promote positive and innovative examples of successful reasonable adjustments and their sustainability within a social model of disability. Possibilities for parent participation and possible parent forums will be explored, in line with recent government guidelines (Davies, 2010).

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