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Open Access Policies in special education support issues in Swedish compulsory school: a nationally representative study of head teachers' judgements

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The general aim of the present study was to explore how head teachers (N = 683) for older students and head teachers (N = 250) for younger students in Swedish compulsory schools describe handling procedures of special education issues in their schools. Two questionnaire surveys on such issues were conducted during the spring term of 2008 among head teachers in a nationally representative sample of schools. Questionnaire answers from the head teachers show that even though the most common type of special support measure is that students are supported by special education teachers in regular classes/groups, the overall picture that emerges is that the 'old traditional ways' in special education support giving are still the most common. Social background and context as well as schoolwork content and teaching habits are judged as key factors behind the students' difficulties and need for special education support. In general, however, school problems and students' difficulties seem still to mainly be seen as caused by student characteristics and disabilities rather than as shortcomings of school and teaching. Differences in head teacher answer profiles could be identified. Such school profiles are also discussed as part of further study planned, where they will be compared to individual data on school experience, and learning data, which are available from the same schools as the head teachers approached.

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Keywords: HEAD TEACHERS' JUDGEMENTS; INCLUSION–EXCLUSION; RESOURCE ALLOCATION; SPECIAL EDUCATION POLICIES; SUPPORT STRATEGIES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2011

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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