University of Leicester
2009harwoodzphd.pdf (5.53 MB)

"There's a coat peg with his name on it": investigating the training implications to support the inclusion of pre-school children with special educational needs

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posted on 2010-08-02, 13:54 authored by Zoe Harwood
Set within an interpretive paradigm and influenced by the work of Ball (1990, 1994 & 2008), this study aims to critically examine how national “special educational needs” and “inclusion” policies in the United Kingdom are understood and translated from policy into practice, for a range of pre-school providers across one local authority. The research seeks to explore some of the benefits, challenges and key tensions surrounding “pre-school inclusion”; investigating current and potential training needs for practitioners working within pre-school settings. Research into this area is timely, due to increasing national and local policy commitments towards improving the quality of early years provision for children and families; aiming to provide more professional development opportunities for early years practitioners, and facilitating the inclusion of a greater number of children into mainstream early educational and childcare settings. Though several studies have examined inclusion of statutory school-aged children of five years and over, very little research appears to have been undertaken into pre-school inclusion with three and four year-olds. Studies at the pre-school phase have all identified a need for further research. Employing a case study approach, this research looks particularly at national and local policy surrounding early years training and pre-school inclusion for 3 and 4 year old children who have been identified as having special educational needs at 'Early Years Action Plus' (Code of Practice, DFES, 2001). The study examines parental experiences and views of childcare provision for their children with SEN. It then surveys the current and potential training needs of a range of pre-school and childcare providers, across a county with contrasting socio-economic features. The research reveals some of the complexities and dilemmas encountered when trying to achieve “effective” inclusion, leading to the construction and presentation of a research model to illustrate key findings; the reality being that there is much more to including a child with SEN than having “a coat peg with his name on it”.



Wilkins, C.

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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