School inclusion for children with mental health difficulties
- Publisher: Pier Professional
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight research on the exclusion from school of children with disabilities, and especially those identified as experiencing emotional disturbance. Two studies of schools that are inclusive are then described in order to examine how they achieve good results.\ud \ud Design/methodology/approach – Three papers are summarized. The first examines things that predict children with disabilities being excluded from school, including characteristics of children and of schools. The second is a qualitative study of four English schools involved in a national programme aimed at improving children’s mental health. The third is a case study of one American school identified for its high inclusivity and excellent educational results.\ud \ud Findings – In the first study, children with emotional disturbance, and African-American children were most likely to be excluded from school. The study of four English schools suggested that implementation of the national programme was variable but leadership and planning seemed vital, as well as whole-school commitment. The high-performing inclusive American school had whole-school commitment, high quality planning alongside flexibility, on-going further training for teachers, and close pupil tracking.\ud \ud Originality/value – The study of school exclusion was the first to examine children and schools together, as well as different disabilities and ethnicity. The study of English schools highlights the experiences of those directly involved in implementing a national programme to promote children’s mental health. The study of a high-performing inclusive school in America discovered much in common with inclusive high-performing schools in England, suggesting that some practices can be identified across the two cultures that aid successful inclusion of children with disabilities including mental health difficulties.
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