‘Nowhere that fits’ – the dilemmas of school choice for parents of children with statements of special educational needs (SEN) in England

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Abstract

Giving parents a choice with regard to their children’s education has been central to the political discourse of school reform at least since the 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA) (DfE, 1988). With regard to children with a statement of special educational needs (SSEN), a plethora of policies and laws (e.g. ERA, 1988; Education Act, 1996, SENDA, 2001)have given parents not only the right to choose a school, but also to appeal to decisions in the best interest of their children. Yet, despite the discourse the implementation and practice of such reforms are neither assured nor simple. Participants in the study indicated that they have little choice of suitable provision and are having to compromise either the academic or the social aspects of their child’s schooling. This paper argues that for many parents whose children have a statement of SEN the choice of a school is often a dilemma as nowhere seems to fit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSupport for Learning
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014

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special educational needs
school choice
parents
act
reform
education
discourse
school reform
school
compromise
appeal
Law

Keywords

  • Parents
  • inclusion
  • school choice
  • special educational needs

Cite this

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title = "‘Nowhere that fits’ – the dilemmas of school choice for parents of children with statements of special educational needs (SEN) in England",
abstract = "Giving parents a choice with regard to their children’s education has been central to the political discourse of school reform at least since the 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA) (DfE, 1988). With regard to children with a statement of special educational needs (SSEN), a plethora of policies and laws (e.g. ERA, 1988; Education Act, 1996, SENDA, 2001)have given parents not only the right to choose a school, but also to appeal to decisions in the best interest of their children. Yet, despite the discourse the implementation and practice of such reforms are neither assured nor simple. Participants in the study indicated that they have little choice of suitable provision and are having to compromise either the academic or the social aspects of their child’s schooling. This paper argues that for many parents whose children have a statement of SEN the choice of a school is often a dilemma as nowhere seems to fit.",
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