Caught between a rock and a hard place: Disruptive boys’ views on mainstream and special schools in New South Wales, Australia

Graham, Linda J., Van Bergen, Penny, & Sweller, Naomi (2016) Caught between a rock and a hard place: Disruptive boys’ views on mainstream and special schools in New South Wales, Australia. Critical Studies in Education, 57(1), pp. 35-54.

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Students with disruptive behaviour in the Australian state of New South Wales are increasingly being educated in separate “behaviour” schools. There is however surprisingly little research on how students view these settings, or indeed the mainstream schools from which they were excluded. To better understand excluded students’ current and past educational experiences, we interviewed 33 boys, aged between 9 and 16 years of age, who were enrolled in separate special schools for students with disruptive behaviour. Analyses reveal that the majority of participants began disliking school in the early years due to difficulties with school work and teacher conflict. Interestingly, while most indicated that they preferred the behaviour school, more than half still wanted to return to their old school. It is therefore clear that separate special educational settings are not a solution to disruptive behaviour in mainstream schools. Whilst these settings do fulfil a function for some students, the preferences of the majority of boys suggest that “mainstream” school reform is of first order importance.

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ID Code: 90645
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Special Issue: Exclusion, alternative programmes and schools, and social justice
Keywords: School exclusion, Disruptive behaviour, Alternative settings, Special education, Education policy
DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1108209
ISSN: 1750-8487
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Special Education and Disability (130312)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Critical Studies in Education, 19 November 2015,
Deposited On: 23 Nov 2015 00:05
Last Modified: 20 May 2017 22:26

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