Parents choosing to combine special and inclusive early years settings: the best of both worlds?

Flewitt, Rosie and Nind, Melanie (2007). Parents choosing to combine special and inclusive early years settings: the best of both worlds? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 22(4) pp. 425–441.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08856250701650045

Abstract

This paper focuses on parents’ perspectives of combining special and mainstream services for their children in the early years, offering insights into: how parents came to make this choice for their children’s education; what parents expected from the combined provision and how their expectations were being met in practice. The data presented formed part of a small-scale, UK-based study that investigated local discourses and practices operating for young children within a global context of commitment to inclusion. Despite moves towards inclusive early years education in the UK, many parents of young children identified as having special educational needs opt for a combination of both inclusive and special early years settings. A survey sent to early years providers, voluntary groups and parents in three local education authorities (LEAs) in southern England, revealed that the practice of combining placements was widespread. Follow-up interviews with parents of five children revealed rich detail about the processes of choice making and parents’ expectations and experiences of combined provision. The research findings have clear implications for the development of inclusive education and its appeal to parents, who may need convincing that it can offer sufficient specialist expertise and resources.

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