Reforming Special Education in Scotland: Tensions between Discourses of Professionalism and Rights

Sheila Riddell, Elisabet Weedon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2001, the (then) Scottish Executive embarked on a process of reform of the SEN framework in Scotland. This paper analyses negotiations between different social actors, principally local authority staff and parents, in the formation of the legislation and its subsequent enactment. Data are drawn from an analysis of responses to consultations, official statistics and parent and local authority staff perceptions of the reforms as revealed in questionnaire surveys. It is argued that policy frameworks based on professionalism and bureaucracy have tended to dominate in Scotland, with a rights framework emerging much more recently. The legislation attempts to strike a balance between the different actors, although, in implementing the legislation, local authorities have sought to neutralise aspects which they felt tipped the balance of power too far in favour of parents. Parents have responded by campaigning as citizen‐consumers, and appear to be having a growing influence on Government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-130
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Volume40
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jun 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • inclusive education
  • special education

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