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Mainstream or special school for children with SEN

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by sammallerston, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I'm a student teacher researching whether a child with special educational needs is 'better off' in a mainstream or special school.
    I'd be interested to hear from anyone with experience of SEN children who were/should have been better off in either school and why?
    Are there particular cases of special needs which are/aren't appropriate to either school etc?
    Have there been children that, in hindsight, would have had more success in school/society if they'd been in a particular school?
    thanks in anticipation.
  2. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    There's a thread on here called does mainstream meet the needs of SEN pupils (or something like that- I've had a glass of wine!) try having a look on there and maybe PM contributors.
  3. Hi

    From experience I would say you need to narrow your focus for this kind of research. Sen encompasses so many needs that you really need to narrow it down to a specific sen such as asd or downs for e.g to give any kind of meaningful data.
  4. I agree, SEN is massive and she you start looking at different special needs schools, SEBD, EBD, (arguably the same thing) Private, State, SLD, MLD, SEN units in main stream schools. this is a massive area to cover. (there is a reason why there are a large amount of provision)
  5. As part of my masters I found an article from the down syndrome education society (wish i could find it so i could be more useful) which said that numeracy skills of students with down syndrome tended to be higher in mainstream schools than in special schools and the reason they gave was that special schools focused more on "life skills" and mainstream schools would do more "higher level" maths.

  6. I think it depends on the 'level' of ASD and the competence of the teaching and support staff - both in mainstream & special.
    It might be useful to find out how many ASD children in speciaist provision started in mainstream and moved and why.
  7. children with SEN are advised to be enrolled in a special school because that the only place where their needs can fully be met. like my son who has adhd, i can just enroll him in a community school because his needs are special and can only be given by trained staffs. parents should consider alternative school for children where there is a nurturing environment, specialized support, trained staff, small class size and etc..
  8. but you must also look at the statistics, most pupils with EBD or SEBD that attend a specialist school will leave with lower levels in maths/numeracy and english/literacy, than if they were in a main stream school..... i was shocked at these figures but was not ovally surprised after my own experience teaching in EBD school. and i believe this will get worse now SEBD and EBD school are judged and assessed exactly the same as mainstream schools now!!
  9. Unfortunately your link does not work, however I think this is a debate work having. although yes in many respects SEBD schools need to be much more accountable for the attainment of their pupils, especially in literacy and numeracy. the problem stems when SEBD schools are judged on results similar to main stream schools. This causes head teachers to adopt more and more equivalent GCSE courses. The sort that claim to be the equivalent to 3 A* to C GCSE's, which serve no functional purpose to the pupil in question (who really needs to leave school with the ability to read at a suitable reading age, or be able to actually calculate how much a mars bar and can of coke would cost, and live a successful life in terms of social communication with others).
  10. Hi, I am also a student teacher in science, so my observations are still at the early stages of forming.
    In my current school, there are a number of students in year 7 in mainstream lessons. There is a strong culture to include these students, and where they are statemented, support is given. Within the science department, this appears to be not well regarded as worth while use of resources.
    I am observing that especially in practical lessons, the higher level students are not being challenged sufficiently in these lessons due to the requirement to ensure the safety in the class and ensuring base level of all students finishing a task. As the range of ablity is so wide at this stage prior to setting, the presence of the very low ablity students with SEN has a detremental effect on the needs of 3/4 of the class.
    Many of the topics that are covered in later years don't appear to bear any relevenace to the likely needs of these students who won't ever need to understand for instance how to or why you would "crack oil" to produce petrol, diesel. The constant repetition required to get them to understand such concepts would seem to be better spend ensuring they could read effectively, write and have basic numeracy along with life skills. I would be interested to see the figures regarding longer term employment of these students from special schools vs main stream schools. Ultimately if they are better able to live an independent life if given right support, then which ever system is able to do that most efficiently should be the one we adopt as a society.
  11. i would agree with you on the over all longer term life outcomes of such pupils, primarily i taught in an Social Emotional Behavioural school, which although very small (65) pupils the classes were very mixed ability with some pupils in year 7 classes working at P level and some working at levels 5/6 in english and maths!! i still believe their are many benefits from SEN school, however there needs to be closer relationships between mainstream and SEN. A;though we strove to provide our pupils with the necessary Life Skills to help them with progressing through life the main problem is stats and the over all demand for Exam results, with one girl in particular unable to count money however managed to pass levels 1 2 3 entry level certificate..... surly we should have been concentration on gearing this child with the necessary skills to shop, spend money and receive the correct change? What will her ELC get her in future ventures?
  12. My partner spent a short amount of time in mainstream before moving to special school for VI students.
    He hated school and resents having to attend a special school. His qualifications don't reflect what he is capable of and he says that this is because he was often bored in lessons, his teachers had low expectations of the students and he had to take courses he didn't want to do.
    Ok this was 30 years ago and things may have changed since then, but from previous posts I'm not sure they have.
    His needs could easily be met in a mainstream school as his impairment is not severe. It is so sad that he missed out on a mainstram education.

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