Disabled Students Disadvantages

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1. Introduction
This essay is concerned with the disadvantages faced by disabled students in UK secondary schools. The main ‘barrier’ I will focus on throughout is ‘negative labelling’ which often develops negative perceptions and stereotypes. This creates barriers to equity for disabled children as they are denied access to educational opportunities which their peers may have. In 2017, it was reported that there are around 13.3 million disabled people in the UK (Disabled Foundation Living, 2017). This high statistic highlights the need for more research into the inequitable experiences faced by disabled students.
Educational disadvantage is a complex issue which encompasses several extents such as gender, ethnicity, poverty and family life.
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Early critiques from sociologists Bowles and Gintis (1976) revealed that the education system is far from providing equal opportunities for all children and rather the system is ‘reproducing existing patterns of inequality’ (Clark et al. 1997). Much of the literature which hold this approach argue that school leaders and observers deconstruct ‘special education’ as a theoretical means of ensuring education is inclusive and equitable as those who have special need are being catered to. In 1981 ‘The Education Act’ was formed to ‘make provision with respect to children with special educational needs’ (gov.uk:1981), this was a historic moment as it was the first time the term ‘SEN’ was used. This signifies a rightful attempt from the government to create an equitable education system for disabled students. However, Slee (1996) revealed that this term is instead a mechanism for perpetuating discrimination, disadvantage and even oppression. Ainscow and Messiou (2017) claim that ‘the issue of inclusion in education is high on the agenda of policy makers and practitioners’ (p. 2). Referring to Slee’s argument, it is clear that the criticisms he held in 1996 remain current; though schools may believe they are taking the right steps towards inclusion, it is important to consider how effective they are/have been in doing…show more content…
However, complications arise when we attempt to put this attitude into practice within national contexts, where there are opposing opinions as to the priorities for educational policy. This is particularly challenging as progress is likely to require changes in practice and thinking within every level of the education system, starting from those responsible for policies through to school leaders and teachers. Therefore, policies must be well thought through, effectively implemented and monitored for impact over time. An example of this is displayed in appendix one which represents how teachers interpret policies and attempt to create an inclusive environment but fail in doing so. This seclusion may come from the label of ‘SEN’ mentioned above. Moreover, ‘Teacher education’ is an important aspect which will briefly be mentioned throughout this essay, in terms of ‘reproducing inequality’, perhaps lack of knowledge is a possible reason for this. Existing negative labels in education affect teacher perceptions and those perceptions inevitably have an impact on how disabled children are treated in

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