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Breaking the Policy Log-jam: comparative perspectives on policy formulation and development for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties

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Many education systems continue to express concerns about an apparently inexorable increase in the number of pupils displaying difficult behaviour in schools and classrooms. Within the English context the government has tried to address and respond to these concerns by undertaking a variety of initiatives and offering guidance and training to schools on the management of behaviour problems. However, we argue that there is a significant danger that by focusing too narrowly on the needs of those pupils with the most obvious and pressing behavioural difficulties the needs of those with emotional problems are overlooked. We highlight the existence of a 'gap' in much of the policy and guidance in England regarding pupils with emotional problems and offer explanations of why this situation has occurred. In support of this we draw from the extensive literature that already exists and also from a recent large-scale survey undertaken in Greece. This survey of teachers' attitudes provides an important comparative dimension in understanding the dangers that exist for policy makers, professionals and teachers in both 'developing' and developed contexts in the face of increasing disruption in schools. The paper concludes with suggestions for policy makers on how this gap might be avoided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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