An investigation of Special Educational Needs (SEN) resources and practice in mainstream secondary schools in a region of Ireland

Prof Doc Thesis

Tierney, Theresa 2006. An investigation of Special Educational Needs (SEN) resources and practice in mainstream secondary schools in a region of Ireland. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsTierney, Theresa
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research looked at the level of resourcing mainstream provision for pupils with
Special Educational Needs (SEN) in second-level schools in a region of Ireland (the
Corduff region) and explored how these schools utilise the resources given to them to
accommodate pupils with SEN. This study explored the funding, organisation and
structure of support systems, principals' attitudes to inclusion and pupils' experience and
perceived level of happiness with the support they receive.
Quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were used in this research which was
divided in two phases. Phase 1 gathered 'macro' level data about schools via a
questionnaire named the 'Principal Special Needs Questionnaire (PSNQ)', the
Department of Education and Sciences -Ireland (DES) database and interviews with
'inclusive principals'. In Phase 2 'micro' level data was gathered on pupils via individual
pupil interview and teacher meetings.
Quantitative data generated from the DES database and the PSNQ was analysed using chi
square and Mann-Whitney tests while the qualitative data generated from the PSNQ was
analysed used content and thematic analysis. The principal interviews were anaylsed
using two types of thematic analysis - the first a theory-driven approach and the second
an inductive approach. The theory-driven approach used the theory of instructional
leadership and was adapted from the work of Parker (1997). Pupil data was analyzed
through the development of vignettes drawn from pupil interview transcripts and
information from teachers. These vignettes were also subjected to thematic analysis.
The DES data indicated a degree of unevenness in the distribution of resources across the
region. Principals were positively orientated towards inclusion; however difficulties and
concerns in developing support systems were identified. Pupils' views indicated an
overall happiness with the support they received but issues which need to be addressed
such as reviewing pupils' needs and discrepancies in provision.
Recommendations are made in regard to funding arrangements, developing inclusive
practice and future research.

Publication dates
PrintJan 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jun 2014
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