Transition to the Post-Primary Section of a Special School for Students with Mild General Learning Disabilities
Keywords:Pupil Perspective, Learning Disabilities, Special School, Transition
This article is based on the findings of Coogan’s (2013) study on transition to the secondary section of a special school for students with mild general learning disabilities; while the full study focused on the perspectives of students and teachers involved, this article reports on the perspectives of students only. Data were collected using in-depth focus group interviews with the students. Analysis of the data highlighted a number of issues including the sense of security students felt in the special setting compared to that experienced in mainstream schools; the importance of the special school explicitly providing opportunities for students to form bonds of friendship; the role of the special school teachers in providing access to the curriculum and in easing the transition itself; and, the importance of a smooth transition for students moving from the junior to the senior section of the school itself. Above all, students proved to be experts in their own setting. The students in this study were clear in their views, beliefs and experiences. It is important that policy makers and those implementing policy consider the views of the young people most impacted by that policy.
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