Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Additional Support Needs and Inclusion in Education

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Teaching
Wordcount: 5175 words Published: 15th Jan 2018

Reference this

Behaviour Children Mainstream

Exploring Difference and Diversity

As a Teacher of Additional Support Needs in a secondary school in North East Scotland I intend to investigate Difference and Diversity and the move from Special Educational Needs to Additional Support Needs and Inclusion. How it affects my own practice and that of my school.

Having been a mainstream secondary school teacher for 14 years before becoming an Additional Support Needs teacher, I have learnt from experience and listening to colleagues, that behaviour seems to play a major part in the inclusive classroom. Colleagues have commented in the past that they don’t mind those children with ‘Special Needs’, it is those with behavioural difficulties which cause the problems. This train of thought is corroborated by Paul Croll and Moses (2000). They interviewed Head Teachers from both Special Schools and Mainstream, and LEA Officers.

‘The view that children whose behaviour challenged the mainstream should be in separate provision was a widespread one:

“We cannot cope with EBD [emotional and behavioural difficulties] children in the mainstream.” (Primary Head)

“I am very committed to integration in principle, but it is very difficult to have disturbed children in mainstream schools.” (Primary Head)

“Some emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children make too great demands on staff. It’s not fair on other children.” (Primary Head) (Croll and Moses 2000, p6)

Also, cited by J Allan (1999, p10), Armstrong and Galloway have noted a tendency of teachers to reconstruct children with emotional or behavioural difficulties as ‘disturbed’ (1994:179), with the implication that these are outside the responsibilities of mainstream classroom teachers.

It is for this reason I intend to look at the behaviour of a small group of first year pupils in my classroom, and try to put into place some strategies to help reduce the frequency of unwanted behaviours, which hopefully, will go some way in promoting inclusion within my classroom practice and thus enabling them to access more mainstream classes in the future.

The unwanted behaviour could stem from a number of factors including their home life, environmental influences, peer pressure, personality, self confidence and self esteem, to name but a few; which will be discussed later.

When considering difference and diversity, many people think of stereotypes, such as, cultural diversity, gender differences etc. The problem with a stereotype however, is that no one individual conforms to it exactly, and yet, in the educational institute it is individuals that we are dealing with therefore, we place the emphasis on exploration of individual differences, and not stereotypes.

Do these differences really mean that some children and young people are uneducable and have to be segregated and placed in special schools? Previous trains of thought were that those with ‘special needs’ would be better off in special schools. By placing them in such institutes, the education of the rest would not be hindered.

According to Thomas and Loxley (2007) one of the first Special Schools in the UK was The School of Instruction for the Blind, in Liverpool 1791, also mentioned in The Warnock Report (p8). During the Nineteenth Century Special Schools were established for the blind, deaf and dumb children. During the 20th Century Special Schools grew in number until they catered for around 2% of the school population.

In the early part of the century people with learning difficulties were referred to as feebleminded, imbeciles and idiots.

Many of the special schools were started by voluntary organizations for pupils with specific disabilities. They were seen as more helpful and less intimidating to students with disabilities.

‘The term special educational needs began to come into use in the late 1960s as a result of increasing dissatisfaction with the terminology used in the Handicapped Pupils and School Health Service Regulations (1945), which classified handicapped children into ten categories according to their main handicap. There was, moreover, an increasing awareness of the frequency of learning and other difficulties affecting children’s progress and adjustment in ordinary schools’. (Ronald Gulliford, (Ed) 1992 p1)

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Before the Warnock Report it was commonly believed that special educational needs stressed that the deficits were from within the child. This came from a medical or psychological point of view which implied that the individual was in some way ‘in deficit’. The requirement for special educational provision was related to the concept of disability of mind or body. The 1944 Education Act defined 11 forms of disability but did not include groups of children who were considered to be uneducable due to the extent of their handicap. Disabilities were described in medical terms except for educational sub-normality and maladjustment which were more difficult to clarify, suggesting that there was a cut-off point between normal and abnormal. In 1970 legislation was introduced which stated that local education authorities had to make special educational provision for all types of disability, but this did not specify whether it should be in separate schools or classes. This resulted in special education being considered as that which only took place in special schools. (Sally Beveridge 1999)

The Warnock committee was set up to review the provision for children with mental and physical disabilities and produced the report in 1978. It promoted a wide range of special needs, rather than discrete categories and helped to form the basis of the 1981 Education Act’s policies on special educational needs (SEN), which introduced a different approach to the definition of children with SEN:

‘A child will have a special educational need if s/he has a learning difficulty requiring special educational provision. The ‘learning difficulty’ includes not only physical and mental disabilities, but also any kind of learning difficulty experienced by a child, provided that it is significantly greater than that of the majority of children of the same age’. (1981 Education Act, p1)

The Act stated that the education of children with SEN should be carried out in ordinary schools where possible. The Act emphasized an approach that is in favour of inclusion and integration, rather than separation and isolation. This approach recommended that children with special needs should be treated as individuals, and that the child should have a learning support teacher with them in the classroom, rather than being taken out of the class.

Since the Warnock report and the 1981 Education Act, legislation has been gradually catching up with the recommendations.

The most recent legislation is The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004, in which the term ‘Special Educational Needs’ has been replaced with ‘Additional Support for Learning’.

The Act states that ‘A child or young person has additional support needs for whatever reason, the child or young person is, or is likely to be, unable without the provision of additional support to benefit from school education provided or to be provided for the child or young person. In relation to a prescribed pre-school child, a child of school age or a young person receiving school education, provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children or, as the case may be, young persons of the same age in schools (other than special schools) under the management of the education authority for the area to which the child or young person belongs.’ (Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004, p1)

This definition seems to be similar as in the 1981 Education Act previously mentioned, although the Education (Scotland) Act 1981 did not mention that the ‘learning difficulty’ included physical and mental disabilities, as did the Act in England.

Does this mean there are no real changes in policy? Is everything exactly the same as before but with a different name?

The Additional Support for Learning Act introduced a new framework for supporting children and young people. The Education (Scotland) Act 1981 required education authorities to make a generalprovision in their areas to meet such needs. The 2004 Act requires education authorities to make adequate and well-organized provision for additional support as is required by the child or young person with additional support needs’.

This goes further than making a general provision, such as special schools. The education authority has a duty to provide the necessary additional support to every individual child or young person who needs it to benefit from education. It also has to identify children and young people with additional support needs and to review their continuing needs and the sufficiency of steps taken to meet them. Staff and resources from within the particular schools attended by these children or young people have a role in enabling an education authority to fulfill these duties, as do staff and resources from its own services and from other agencies. (Focusing on Inclusion, p7)

Children may need additional support for a wide variety of reasons. A child’s education could be affected by issues resulting from:

  • learning environment
  • inflexible curricular arrangements
  • inappropriate approaches to learning and teaching
  • more able children
  • children with English as an additional language
  • family circumstances
  • homelessness
  • parental drug or alcohol misuse
  • children who are parents
  • children who are carers
  • children looked after by the local authority
  • disability or health need
  • motor or sensory impairment
  • specific language impairment
  • autistic spectrum disorder
  • learning difficulties
  • ADHD
  • depression or other mental health problems
  • social and emotional factors
  • children who are being bullied
  • children who are suffering racial discrimination
  • children who are bullying
  • children with behavioural difficulties (Govan Law Centre, internet source)

This is far from being a complete list and does not mean that every child fitting one of the above categories necessarily has additional support needs. This will depend on the amount and type of support required by the individual child.

There are many more factors that are now considered under The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 compared with the previous Act. Children with English as an additional language are now included whereas previously they were not, they were not viewed as having special needs, but they are now recognized as needing support to access the curriculum.

Also, parents now have the right to:

  • Ask their child’s education authority to find out whether your child has additional support needs.
  • Request a specific type of assessment and/or examination for your child when their education authority is proposing to formally identify whether they have additional support needs.
  • Receive information or advice about a child’s additional support needs. (Enquire 2006)

All local authorities should have policies in place to ensure they are abiding by the act. The authority in which I work has various policies and guidelines in place, including:


  • Access to Education for Pupils with Disabilities/Additional Support Needs Strategy 2005-08
  • Race Equality Policy and Strategy 2005-08
  • Sensory Support Service Quality Assurance Policy
  • Additional Support Needs Policy Framework.

Policies – Under Development

  • Disability Equality Scheme


  • Guidance on the Education of Looked After Children and Young People
  • Improving Access to the School Environment & to Communication for Parents and Visitors.
  • How good is our Educational Psychology Service – Draft Snapshot.
  • Improving Physical Access to Education.
  • Riding for Pupils with Additional Support Needs.
  • Safety and Good Practice on Education Excursions.
  • Supporting Pupil’s access to the curriculum using ICT (ASPECTS).
  • Swimming for Pupils with Additional Support Needs.

Guidelines – Under Development

  • Autism Support.
  • English as an Additional Language.
  • Integrated Assessment Framework – Draft Operational Guidelines
  • Motor Coordination Difficulties.
  • Sensory Support Service Guidelines.

The Additional Support Needs Policy Framework was produced in January 2007 as 6

Pathways to Policy booklets and the principles behind the policy are printed in each booklet:

‘The Additional Support Needs Policy Framework and the Pathways to Policy Pack for Supporting Children’s and Young People’s learning ensure that all children and young people are provided with the necessary support to help them work towards achieving their full potential with respect to their personality, talents and mental and physical abilities. It promotes collaborative working among all those supporting children and young people’.

In September 2005 HM Inspectorate of Education was asked by Scottish Ministers to monitor and evaluate the consistency, effectiveness and efficiency of education authorities in implementing the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 and to ensure that procedures for implementation were in line with the duties of the Act 2004 and the associated Code of Practice.

In 2007 HMIE produced the Report on the implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.

The report states that most authorities were effective in ensuring that their procedures for implementing the Act were in line with the duties of the Act and the associated Code of Practice. The most effective had built on existing good practice and developed joint strategic approaches with other agencies to meet the needs of children and young people with additional support needs. However, authorities varied in their effectiveness in implementing the key requirements of the Act. (HMIE 2007)

The report provided guidelines for improvement and was made available to schools in February 2008, to enable them to evaluate their implementation and effectiveness of current legislation; the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 and Inclusion.

Following this report some schools including the school, in which I work, are holding CPD sessions for staff on the implementation of the Act and Inclusion, and ways forward.

Inclusion is not a new phenomenon, it has been recommended in educational legislation since the Warnock Report in 1978. In fact it has been spoke about during the 1960’s,

As cited by Josephine Jenkinson, Dunn’s (1968) argument against segregated special education and in favour of integration was that advances in the development of individualized, self-paced curricula in regular education would allow students with disabilities to be accommodated in the regular class, if they were provided with a programme designed by a specialist teacher to meet their needs and in which they could progress at their own pace. Integration could be made possible by radical departures in school organization, involving a greater emphasis on team teaching, ungraded classes and flexible groupings. (Jenkinson, 1996. p 15-16)

This implies that there should be a change in the curriculum and how it is delivered, to meet the needs of all pupils, and that specialist teachers should be working with classroom teachers to plan and deliver the curriculum.

Historically “integration” was the term used in the 1980s, but this came to be seen as placing disabled children in a mainstream setting, without providing the support they required and allowing them to be there as long as they were able to fit into the existing systems and cultures. It is now acknowledged that the inclusion of disabled, and children with additional needs, involves going much further, and changing the policies, practices and attitudes within the school.

The Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education provides the following definitions of inclusion in education, from the Index for Inclusion in education (Booth and Ainscow 2002), also cited by Thomas and Vaughan 2004 (p183):

  • Valuing all students and staff equally.
  • Increasing the participation of students in, and reducing their exclusion from, the cultures, curricula and communities of local schools.
  • Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools so that they respond to the diversity of students in the locality.
  • Reducing barriers to learning and participation for all students, not only those with impairments or those who are categorized as `having special educational needs’.
  • Learning from attempts to overcome barriers to the access and participation of particular students to make changes for the benefit of students more widely.
  • Viewing the difference between students as resources to support learning, rather than as problems to be overcome.
  • Acknowledging the right of students to an education in their locality.
  • Improving schools for staff as well as for students.
  • Emphasizing the role of schools in building community and developing values, as well as in increasing achievement.
  • Fostering mutually sustaining relationships between schools and communities.
  • Recognizing that inclusion in education is one aspect of inclusion in society. (Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, internet source)

Why do we need inclusion?

Whatever their disability or learning difficulty children have a part to play in society after school. An early start in mainstream playgroups or nursery schools, followed by education in ordinary schools and colleges, is the best preparation for an integrated life. Education is part of, not separate from, the rest of children’s lives. Disabled children can be educated in mainstream schools with appropriate support.

As discussed by Ainscow (1999), Inclusion is a feature of the Salamanca Statement which was agreed by 92 governments and 25 international organizations in 1994.

‘The statement argues that regular schools with an inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all’.( Ainscow 1999, p74)

Cited by Thomas and Vaughan (2007), Rustemier argues that segregated schooling breaches all four principles underpinning the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. These principles are:

  • Non-discrimination (Article 2) – all children should enjoy all rights without discrimination and on the basis of equality of opportunity;
  • The best interests of the child (Article3);
  • The right to life, survival and development (Article 6) – development is meant in its broadest sense, including physical health but also mental, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural, and ‘to the maximum extent possible’; and
  • The views of the child (Article 12) – children have the right to be heard and to have their views taken seriously in matters affecting them.

Rustemier goes on to argue that inclusion has come to mean almost everything but the elimination of exclusion. And that the current education system excludes and segregates large numbers of children from mainstream education because of learning difficulty, disability, and behaviour, despite claiming to have inclusion as its goal. (Thomas and Vaughan, 2004, p 23-24).

Joe Whittaker discusses, in an article which appeared in the Greater Manchester of Disabled People’s Magazine ‘Coalition’, the damage he believes is inflicted on disabled children and their local communities by a system of special schooling and segregation. He further argues that inclusive education will be prevented from being implemented in any meaningful way whilst this system continues.

‘Over the last 50 years different governments have told us that we are moving towards “integration”, where disabled children and non-disabled children work together in the same school and where everyone has equal opportunities. However, simultaneously the same governments have stated that there will always be a need for some children to go to segregated special schools, and legislation was introduced to ensure this would happen’. (Joe Whittaker 2001: pp. 12-16) [See appendix1]

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Despite the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the growing number of people in favour of Inclusive mainstream schools and the closure of Special Schools, Government statistics show that there has been an increase in the number of Independent Special Schools in Scotland over the past few years. The number of publicly funded special schools in individual areas of Scotland has also changed. Some areas such as east Ayrshire show an increase while others show a decrease in the number of special schools. There has been a significant increase in pupils with Additional Support Needs attending both Primary and Secondary mainstream schools. There has also been an increase in the number of pupils with IEP’S attending mainstream secondary schools. [See tables1, 2: appendix 2]

There are many reasons why secondary pupils are deemed to need additional support in school. According to the statistics there are 1,816 pupils with Social, emotional and behavioural difficulty; 1,403 of these being boys and only 413 girls. The statistics show that there are significantly more boys with additional support needs than girls. [See table4, appendix 2]

A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication gives the following information, along with the statistic tables in appendix 2:

Special schools

  • There were 34 independent special schools in 2004, compared to 33 schools in 2003, and 32 in 2002.
  • There were 1,132 pupils in independent special schools in 2004, an increase of eight per cent over 2003.
  • There were 334 teachers (FTE) in independent special schools in 2004, a 17 per cent increase from 2003. There were 3.4 pupils per teacher in 2004, a decrease from 3.7 in 2003.

Special Educational Needs

There were 1,349 pupils with a Record of Needs and/or an Individualised Educational Programme. This is an increase of 105 (eight per cent) from 2003. The largest categories of main difficulty of learning were social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (22.6 per 1,000 pupils) and specific learning difficulties in language and/or mathematics – including dyslexia (6.7 per 1,000 pupils). (Scottish Executive, Internet Source)

Why is it that there seems to be more boys than girls identified as requiring Additional Needs?

One reason could be that boys are seen as more boisterous than girls, thus reported as having behaviour problems, another reason could be that more assessments of boys have been carried out, compared to girls; resulting in an increase of incidences and prevalence. There is also the general assumption that girls mature more quickly than boys.

Cited in ‘A study of children and young people who present challenging behaviour’ – literature review, Cole et al (1998) (1999) established that there were ten to twelve times more boys than girls in English EBD schools and over three times as many boys as girls in PRUs (Pupil Referral Units). This creates very real difficulties in ensuring that girls have a suitable peer group if they attend a ‘mixed’ EBD school (see also Cruddas and Haddock, 2001). Egelund and Hansen (2000) noted a 5:1 boy:girl ratio in segregated provision in Denmark. In Scotland, Lloyd and O’Regan (1999) report that over 80% of the pupils in specialist provision for SEBD are boys. Fortin and Bigras (1997), note that boys heavily outnumber girls in Canadian literature on EBD. (Ofsted 2005)

This literature review was commissioned by Ofsted as part of a large-scale survey to inform the report ‘Managing challenging behaviour’. Ofsted commissioned the University of Birmingham to carry out this research to inform subsequent fieldwork, and gives the assumption that the Gender imbalance is International, and Social Emotional and Behaviour difficulties is one of the categories that creates the most problems. In November 2002 BBC News Online reported Schools in England were identifying more boys than girls as needing special help with their education.

‘New statistics on the gender of those with special needs reveal for the first time that 64% are boys and 36% girls. The gender gap is even wider in the most severe cases – those with formal “statements” of need: 72% are boys and 28% girls. Experts say the reasons are unclear but that – controversially – a large factor might be teachers’ perceptions of what constitutes problematic behaviour’.

It was also reported that children with special educational needs are being turned away from schools because of fears that they could affect their position in exam league tables. Children with’ special needs’ account for almost nine-tenths of permanent exclusions from primary schools, and six-tenths of those from secondary schools. Almost five times as many boys as girls are excluded from school. This corroborates Rustemier’s argument that the education system excludes large numbers of children, especially those deemed to have ‘special needs’.

The report stated that girls and boys are more or less equally likely to have physical disabilities, but boys are far more likely than girls to have specific learning difficulties, autistic disorders or emotional or behavioural problems.

Medical reasons were discussed, and Richard Byers, an SEN expert in Cambridge University’s faculty of education, was quoted as saying that some forms of special need – notably autism – were diagnosed much more often in boys than in girls. More and more cases of autism were being identified, so more boys were said to have SEN. But there was a bigger, “greyer” aspect to the issue, especially where children in mainstream schools were identified as having social, emotional or behavioural difficulties – again, many more of them boys.

Florid felt that we identify one kind of social, emotional or behavioural difficulty which tends to be in boys more often than girls.” This might be that for all kinds of social and cultural reasons teachers perceived boys to be more problematic than girls. So there was an over-identification of boys with SEN – and probably an under-identification of girls’ needs. The Department for Education was quoted as saying that there appears to be some evidence that professionals, including teachers, are likely to identify boys as having SEN particularly in relation to behaviour.”

The BBC also reported that the editor of The Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, Lani Florian, said the gender gap might be as high as 10 to one in the case of emotional and behavioural problems. People had put forward various theories, to do with genes and hormones, for instance – but none had been conclusive. “It has been said that the classroom is just a friendlier environment for girls – but that’s just a theory too,” Dr Florian said. “We really don’t know.” (Gary Eason, BBC News online 2002)

This report has been discussed by various people on a GTC forum as summarized by Allan Witherington – (efacilitator)

Many of the contributors have offered observations from their own experiences in the classroom that confirm the often described differences in attitude, learning style and attainment between boys and girls. Boys were said to be noisier and to lose interest more quickly, whereas girls were quieter, more reflective and better able to deal with written tasks. No-one contested the fact that the gender gap is real. A persistent theme was the need for teachers to deliver lessons offering a variety of learning experiences to cater for the different learning styles of all those in the class’. This was said to be ‘a tall order’. When discussing the quote from a DfES spokesperson as saying, “There appears to be some evidence that professionals, including teachers, are likely to identify boys as having SEN particularly in relation to behaviour.” The question was asked “are they suggesting that the perceptions of the professionals are incorrect? Are we just missing the special needs of girls because they are less obvious”? There seemed to be no answer to this! (GTC forum, internet source) As well as the gender issue, and it being reported that boys are more likely to be identified with Autism and EBD, according to the previously mentioned statistics table 4 (appendix 2), in 2006 there were 19 reasons for support for secondary pupils with Additional support needs compared with The 1944 Education Act which defined eleven categories of disability.

Perhaps the more recent Government Policies and initiatives have contributed to the increase! With the concept of Inclusion there are now more children and young people identified with additional needs attending mainstream schools whereas in previous years they would have been segregated into special schools, the additional rights of the parents could mean that more parents are requesting assessments for their children if they think there is a problem, resulting in more children needing additional support. There are many other reasons which were not previously recognized as Special Educational Needs such as some family circumstances, bullying etc.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: