Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

Parental choice of school for disabled children

CSIE has conducted an online survey on choice of school for parents of disabled children and is currently seeking funds to process all responses and disseminate findings widely. The survey was conducted in November 2012 and received 690 responses, mostly from parents and carers of disabled children and young people, or those categorised as having special educational needs.

The government has promised a choice of mainstream or special school to parents of disabled children, or children who have a statement of special educational needs. CSIE’s survey sought to find out how much actual choice parents have, in different parts of the country, and how parents feel about the options available to them.

Findings from this research could have significant implications for the future of educational provision in England. The choice between an ordinary local school or a separate “special” school remains a contested issue and, following the coalition government’s initial pledge to “reverse the bias towards inclusion”, the Department for Education maintains that the decision should be a matter of parental choice. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that in some areas parents do not have a choice. This research will offer valuable insights into the amount and quality of options available to parents of disabled children in all nine English regions.

Page last updated: Tuesday 11 February 2014

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