Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Forde, D and Purdy, N.
Australian Association for Research in Education
Contested Spaces and Special Educational Needs: Policy and Practice, Rights and Reality
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
A philosophy of inclusion, underpinned by fundamental principles of human rights and equal opportunities for all, has become central to the education of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in the education system in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. On both sides of the Irish border, where mainstream and special education have traditionally operated as separate parallel systems of provision, there is a distinct and complex history regarding the education and social inclusion of children with SEN. With evidence from both jursidictions, this presentation explores the architectural symbolism of a contested space between human rights, policy and practice. It highlights the indifference to international law which is reflected within national policy but not fully implemented in practice by each state. It will become evident that whilst the landscape of universal policy and human rights has promised much to children with SEN there exists a contested space between the plethora of policies introduced, the ensuing obligations and the lived realities of children with SEN on both sides of the border.