What should schools do to promote the successful inclusion of pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Emma Fitzgerald
Submitted: May 2015

Inclusion policy and practice to date has been driven by the view that wherever possible, children with special educational needs (SEN) should have access to mainstream schooling and the opportunities it provides to participate in wider society (Frederickson & Cline, 2009). This is particularly pertinent for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) as they have been identified as being the most difficult to include within mainstream settings. Over the past forty years there has been a shift in the discourse surrounding inclusion, however the shift in terminology has not necessarily been reflected in changes in practice. Research into successful inclusion to date has been driven by attempts to change the ethos of schools, however practical strategies have been found wanting. There is an argument that rather than systemic changes, schools should be focussing on teacher level changes as they are the biggest source of influence on a child’s outcomes (Reynolds, 2010). This essay explores research into teacher attitudes and beliefs, relationships with pupils and self-efficacy and the impact this can have on the outcomes of pupils with SEBD. It appears that Educational Psychologists (EPs) are ideally placed to support changes at this level through consultation, promoting pupil voice and training. While teachers have a huge impact on the inclusion of pupils with SEBD the research into parental or pupil attitudes is sadly lacking in this area.

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