"It's no goin' tae be a day in the park" : Separate provision for pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in Scotland
This research maps out separate provision for pupils with SEBD in Scotland and investigates the experience of pupils in such provision. The mapping study used a postal questionnaire which provided, for the first time, a picture of the sector in terms of who is running it, their sense of purpose, the curriculum on offer, the background of pupils, links with mainstream schools, and attitudes towards evaluating effectiveness. Some findings were predictable, such as the social background and gender mix of pupils, but others were more surprising, such as the high level of exclusion and low number of schools which viewed reintegration as a key purpose. To investigate pupil experience of separate provision interviews were carried out with a total of fourteen pupils from two different schools. These interviews addressed specific questions relating to curriculum, educational experi~nce, ethos and stigmatisation. In this thesis Symbolic Interactionism is used as a theoretical lens through which to examine pupil experience. It became clear that whether a pupil experiences re-signification or stigmatisation is not a straightforward matter, but depends on staff attitudes and peer relationships. The ethos of schools emerged as of fundamental importance, and as something which appears to exist independently of the type of curriculum on offer. Perhaps most significantly the importance of the curriculum and of receiving a 'mainstream' education, to even the most disaffected pupils, emerged. The findings from both the questionnaire and pupil interviews are discussed in terms of the emerging themes of 'separateness', 'vulnerability' and 'diversity'. In particular the difficulties encountered by an 'exclusionary' service in an age of inclusion are examined. It is argued that the current system leads to stigmatisation of the sector and the people who work in it. In addition, the impact of the persisting tension between welfare and punishment approaches to pupils with SEBD is noted throughout the thesis. This research provides new knowledge about this sector. This is the first time that information concerning schools for pupils with SEBD in Scotland has been gathered together to provide an overall picture of the service on offer. The interviews also provide new knowledge about the experiences of pupils in these schools.