Set within an interpretive paradigm and influenced by the work of Ball (1990,\ud 1994 & 2008), this study aims to critically examine how national “special\ud educational needs” and “inclusion” policies in the United Kingdom are\ud understood and translated from policy into practice, for a range of pre-school\ud providers across one local authority. The research seeks to explore some of\ud the benefits, challenges and key tensions surrounding “pre-school inclusion”;\ud investigating current and potential training needs for practitioners working within\ud pre-school settings.\ud Research into this area is timely, due to increasing national and local policy\ud commitments towards improving the quality of early years provision for children\ud and families; aiming to provide more professional development opportunities for\ud early years practitioners, and facilitating the inclusion of a greater number of\ud children into mainstream early educational and childcare settings. Though\ud several studies have examined inclusion of statutory school-aged children of\ud five years and over, very little research appears to have been undertaken into\ud pre-school inclusion with three and four year-olds. Studies at the pre-school\ud phase have all identified a need for further research.\ud Employing a case study approach, this research looks particularly at national\ud and local policy surrounding early years training and pre-school inclusion for 3\ud and 4 year old children who have been identified as having special educational\ud needs at 'Early Years Action Plus' (Code of Practice, DFES, 2001). The study\ud examines parental experiences and views of childcare provision for their\ud children with SEN. It then surveys the current and potential training needs of a\ud range of pre-school and childcare providers, across a county with contrasting\ud socio-economic features. The research reveals some of the complexities and\ud dilemmas encountered when trying to achieve “effective” inclusion, leading to\ud the construction and presentation of a research model to illustrate key findings;\ud the reality being that there is much more to including a child with SEN than\ud having “a coat peg with his name on it”
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