The Year Education Act Defines A Child As Having Special Educational Needs

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The 1996 Education Act defines a child as having special educational needs (SEN) when they have “a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them” (section 312). This involves those who have greater difficulty learning and/or disabilities that prevent them from accessing educational facilities. This represents approximately 15.4% of pupils in schools in England (Department of Education, 2015). A key question that surrounds this area is whether it is better for these children to be included in mainstream schooling or whether they should be excluded (Warnock & Norwich, 2010). However this is not a straightforward issue, there are wider needs, like social class, that the classification of ‘SEN’ often…show more content…
Each field has its own ‘doxa’ – individual rules and conventions – that one can then adopt (often unknowingly). According to the doxa, each person can be ascribed their legitimate position within the field (Bourdieu & Eagleton, 1992). This can contribute to the “habitus”. At its simplest, habitus is ‘who we are’ – our internalised dispositions and practices which we act according to (Thomas & Loxley, 2007). The habitus expresses itself in all situations of life, from bodily movements to conscious thoughts (Webb, Schirato, & Danaher, 2002). These three concepts are mutually constituted and are what subsequently brings about inequalities. According to Bourdieu (1977), school’s act as a social selector, they favour particular cultural capitals. He called this “reproduction” – where a child’s habitus fits with the doxa of a school, they have an advantage and are able to engage with school easier (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977), whilst excluding others, like SEN pupils. According to Bernstein (1973), social inequalities are transmitted through schools. He noted a clear communication difference between working and middle class children, which is then echoed in schools. Schools (often implicitly) adopt an educational code which effects everything from teacher-student interactions to the teacher’s control over learning. Bernstein (1971) distinguished between two types of code used
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