Access to mainstream primary education environments: the case for pupils with an intellectual and/or a pervasive developmental disability
Flatman Watson, Sheelah (2009) Access to mainstream primary education environments: the case for pupils with an intellectual and/or a pervasive developmental disability. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
This thesis is concerned with access to mainstream primary education environments and the differentiated geographies of children diagnosed with an intellectual and/or pervasive developmental disability prior to seeking enrolment. Historically, an ethos of care in segregated environments dominated service provision for this population. Through the first half of the 20th century a transition toward the inclusion of education in these segregated settings evolved and in the latter half of the century access to education in mainstream environments dominated policy development. The Education Act 1998 endorsed these developments and legislates for the right of all citizens to equality of access to mainstream educational environments. It lays down the right to supports for pupils with special education needs and affords parents the right of choice of placement for their child. In this thesis, Pierre Bourdieu‟s Theory of Practice is adapted and used to examine the capacity of the primary education system to meet these objectives through the provision of appropriate capitals at multiple levels. The research argues that appropriate cultural capital is not widely available to educators toward the provision of equal citizenship rights for these pupils and that inadequate investment in multiple forms of capital creates and maintains barriers to universal enrolment practices. It argues that appropriate capitals are not available to parents and their children to facilitate informed choice and positive enrolment practices to secure equality of access to placements. The thesis concludes that access to primary education spaces is resource sensitive and that a lack of pertinent capitals in the education system is a barrier to universal mainstream enrolment. The State and/or its agencies cater poorly for children with an intellectual and/or a pervasive developmental disability and their parents, which results in the continuing differentiated geographies of this population.
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