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Education and Psychology Research Active Network (EPRAN) Seminar 2019/2020

Wednesday 29th April 2020 (12.30-2pm) in Wolfson 1:

Professor Brahm Norwich (University of Exeter)

From the Warnock Report (1978) to an Education Framework commission: A Novel Contemporary Approach to Educational Policy Making for Pupils with Special Educational Needs/Disabilities

"I will present the case for an Education Framework Commission (EFC) based on an analysis of the legacy from the Warnock Report (1978) which is at the base of the current SEN system, on one hand, and on problems in general social and educational policy making, on the other. The argument is that there is a strong inter-connection between SEN and inclusion with other aspects of educational provision and that policy for pupils with SEN illustrates the democratic deficits in educational and policy-making processes in general. Without grappling with these bigger policy issues we cannot expect some crucial questions in the education field to be addressed more coherently and convincingly either conceptually or practically.

An EFC is based on a post-democracy political analysis (Crouch, 2000) and contemporary ideas about deliberative democracy (Fishkin, 2018), with a recognition of the plural values that underlie policy tensions (Dahl, 1982). The Commission would set policy priorities as a settlement that has the potential to reconcile plural and sometimes contrary value positions. It would aim to design a 10 year consensual educational policy framework, within which political parties and governments will work; a framework that could be renewed after this period. An EFC would cover all key aspects of education including designs for including the diversity of learners. Finding common ground between different social and political value perspectives involves deliberative democratic principles and approaches that could influence representative democratic policy making. Some of the challenges in establishing an EFC will also be raised. There will also be time for discussing this proposal.

Based on:
Norwich B (2019) From the Warnock Report (1978) to an Education Framework Commission: A Novel Contemporary Approach to Educational Policy Making for Pupils With Special Educational Needs/Disabilities. Front. Educ. 4:72. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2019.00072"