Experiencing an 'inclusive' education: parents and their children with 'special educational needs'

Chrissie Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the experiences of British parents who have children identified with ‘special education needs’ within mainstream education. Expectations of mainstream education can have a negative affect on parents when a child is unable to maintain his or her education within a mainstream school. In England and Wales, ‘inclusion’ within mainstream schools is implemented by the current government and promoted as anti-exclusionary. However, current research indicates that actual ‘inclusion’ (the child experiencing inclusion as well as being placed in a mainstream environment) is not necessarily occurring in practice. As it stands, the conflict is between desires to embrace difference based on a philosophy of ‘equal rights’ (‘inclusive’ education) and prioritising educational performance, structuring it in such a way that it leaves little room for difference and creativity due to the highly structured testing and examination culture. Qualitative analysis of parents who have children identified with special educational needs indicate that they have hopes and expectations for their children. These hopes and expectations are challenged recurrently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • foreign Countries
  • educational needs
  • special education
  • context effect
  • parent school relationship
  • special needs students
  • inclusive schools
  • qualitative research
  • parent aspiration
  • expectation
  • public policy
  • educational assessment
  • parent attitudes


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