The purpose of this study is to critically evaluate the concept of partnership and collaboration in education. The study emphasizes on assessing the educational services for children with special needs, specifically those of Down syndrome (DS). The 1970 Education Act insures all children including those children of DS receive some form of education. Three interviews were conducted; two took place at special needs schools, and one at the home of a mother with a child of DS. Due to the fact of confidentiality, the borough where these interviews were conducted will remain unnamed. The schools, mother and child discussed within this assignment will be put into two categories, groups A and B. Group A relates to a school of severe learning disabilities (SLDs), therefore the carer and professional associated with this school will be referred to as carer A and professional A.
[...] The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001) 332A state local education authority must arrange for the parent of any child in their area with special educational needs to be provided with advice and information about matters relating to those needs”. These key workers could provide valuable information and advice to the family, addressing their needs, coordinating services, providing emotional support as well as being an advocate for the family. This would enable the family to feel in control of various situations that otherwise with the absence of a key worker would not exist. [...]
[...] In addition there is a need to allow partnership with the families to promote increased involvement and sharing of power. For many parents, they feel powerless and at a level of disadvantage, and feel obliged to comply with the professional's definition of their needs. Fitzgerald (2004), cited by Leeson and Griffiths (2004 p.135) state partnership to be maintained it is vital that there are effective strategies in place to facilitate two-directional communication and support”. The sharing of expertise from both professionals and parents is vital for a successful partnership. [...]
[...] Although not solely exclusive for the DS children the school provided a trained nurse, who not only cared for the children, but also educated the teachers in basic nursing skills to deal with emergencies. A Physiotherapist was also on hand to provide support and training for the teachers into how to work with children of LDs. In addition, a social worker is assigned to look after the welfare of each child. This relationship is not solely one to one, but a situation where the social worker will look after a number of children. [...]
[...] Some professionals believe in the government's stance on participation and collaboration between agencies and families. Lindon (2000), cited by Leeson and Griffiths (2004 p.138) suggests there are risks involved in being honest with each other. Some junior professionals may be fearful of speaking out in fear of how they themselves would be perceived from senior colleagues. We also have the problem at agency level where budgets and resource are tightly controlled under their respective profession. Biggs (1993a), cited by Ovretveit et al (1997 p.187) state “separate agencies tend to develop their own cultures, manifested in their policies and procedures”. [...]
[...] Up until 1959 many DS children and adults alike were forced to live in long stay institutions, they were known by society as the mentally retarded. Department of Health (DoH 2001) states ”many were sectioned under the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act. Thankfully today most of these institutions no longer exist, and most DS children and adults alike are living and working within their own communities. A follow up interview was conducted with a parent of a child attending school A. [...]
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