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Inclusion of pupils perceived as experiencing social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD) : affordances and constraints

Mowat, Joan (2010) Inclusion of pupils perceived as experiencing social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD) : affordances and constraints. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14 (6). pp. 631-648. ISSN 1360-3116

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Abstract

This paper takes as its principal theme barriers to the inclusion of pupils perceived as experiencing social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD) and how these might be overcome. It draws upon an evaluative case study of an initiative, devised by the author, to support pupils - the Support Group Initiative (SGI) - which was conducted over a five-year period in a Scottish Secondary School situated in an area of multiple deprivation. The central focus of the discussion is the range of variables that impacted upon pupil outcomes, illustrating the ways in which these variables acted as affordances or constraints in the pursuit of inclusive practice. The paper takes as its starting point the contested nature of inclusion and introduces, briefly, the Scottish policy context as it pertains to inclusion before exploring the nature of the problem - the barriers to the inclusion of and the difficulties presented by the inclusion of pupils perceived as having SEBD, as discussed in the literature. The findings of the study are discussed in relation to central themes - the ethos of the Support Group; the process of re-signification through which pupils are enabled to effect improvement; the classroom context; and wider variables relating to school policy, practice, ethos and the management of change. The paper concludes by exploring what inclusion has meant to the pupils involved within the intervention, summarising the affordances and constraints to its realisation, before reflecting upon the significance of the study.