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Why 'science for all' is only an aspiration : staff views of science for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Essex, Jane (2018) Why 'science for all' is only an aspiration : staff views of science for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Support for Learning, 33 (1). pp. 52-72. ISSN 1467-9604

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Abstract

Teacher and support staff perceptions of science learning, and specifically engagement with science outreach, by pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) were ascertained through questionnaires. The responses indicated that science is seen as serving distinctive learning purposes when undertaken by learners with SEND. Staff who accompanied SEND pupils to science outreach events expressed more positive views about separate outreach events for SEND pupils than other respondents, in line with current policy expectations of differentiated classroom practice. The desire for different provision for SEND learners also appeared to be associated with the staff’s' pastoral concerns about their pupils and their reluctance to let their pupils 'fail'. The data suggests that, despite policy and legislative reform in the UK, curriculum science is still viewed primarily as a means to career progression for an able minority, rather than as an educational and cultural entitlement for all.