Improving Transition Planning for Young People with Special Educational Needs

By Lesley Dee | Go to book overview

1 Introduction

1.1 Why this book
This book is about how decisions are reached about the post-school destinations of young people described as having special educational needs. I became interested several years ago when I noticed that young people with very similar needs from two different schools in the same local authority followed very different routes when they reached the age of 16. In one instance most stayed on at school while in the other the majority left and went to the local college. Why was this? What influenced these decisions? And more importantly who was making the decisions and why?The research on which the book is based lasted three years during which I followed the stories of 12 young people as they prepared to leave school. I wanted to discover how decisions were taken about what they would do and where they would go as well as the influences on those decisions. But I also wanted to know what could be done to improve the process not just at the point of leaving school but throughout the transition from school to adult life. As with all research the situation has changed since the information was collected and some things may well have improved. Despite this, many issues and problems remain and my hope is that this book will contribute to the ongoing debate about how best to improve planning for transition as well as providing some ideas for practitioners who want to make a difference.Over the last 25 years there have been a number of enquiries into the post-school destinations of young adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in the UK (Anderson and Clarke 1982; Walker 1982; Clarke and Hirst 1989; Riddell et al. 1993; Armstrong and Davies 1995; Hornby and Kidd 2001). This research has confirmed what is generally held to be the case that
disabled people including those with learning difficulties are grossly disadvantaged in the labour market;
the demands of the labour market are changing; and
having a job does not necessarily guarantee a good quality of life.

In recent years policy makers have turned their attention to the quality of support that is available to young people with special educational needs and their families during the transition from school. There has been a plethora of policy initiatives, discussed in more detail in Chapter 2. There remains

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Improving Transition Planning for Young People with Special Educational Needs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Tables and Figures ix
  • Acknowledgements x
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: The Policy Framework 18
  • 3: How the Decisions Were Made 28
  • 4: The Young People's Stories 44
  • 5: Listening to Parents 65
  • 6: Professionals, Policies and Procedures 78
  • 7: How to Improve Transition Planning 91
  • Appendix - Profiles of Casestudy Pupils and Their Families 109
  • References 113
  • Index 121
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