To What Extent Are Children With Special Educational Needs Provided With Equal Opportunities to Participate In Physical Education Within Mainstream Schools?
University of Wales
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In recent years, the importance of Physical Education within schools has grown vastly. As has the push for all children to be educated within an inclusive setting, irrelevant of any disability they may have. Physical Education is valuable for children in many ways, as well as the physical benefits it brings, children are also taught about life skills such as team work and fairness. For children with disabilities there can be added positive influences. Many children with disabilities lack social contact outside of school and so being in a social setting improves social skills such as communication and confidence. Gentle physical activity can also relieve pain caused by some disabilities and increase range of movement and/or flexibility. This study endeavoured to find out to what extent children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) were provided with equal opportunities in PE within mainstream schooling. Interviews were conducted with a disabled child who participated in PE, the parents of the child, a teacher and a disabled child who no longer participated in PE. Observations were also held by the researcher in both curricular and extracurricular settings. From the information gathered from both the interviews and observations it would seem that the school does what they can in order to create an inclusive setting for all children and the teachers display a positive attitude towards inclusion. However, it was suggested that those higher up, who were not directly involved with the children were not doing all within their power to create equal opportunities and that teacher training does not focus enough on the concept of SEN and can leave teachers feeling unprepared and lacking in confidence when teaching children with SEN. From these findings it is suggested that teacher training increases the amount of time spent on SEN to ensure that teachers are confident in providing an inclusive environment for all pupils.
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