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No 18, November 2005

Ethnicity and Special Educational Needs (SEN): A Review

Geoff Lindsay (CEDAR), Sulochini Pather (WIE),
Steve Strand (CEDAR/WIE)

CEDAR were recently commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to investigate the relationship between SEN and ethnicity.

Differences in the proportion of pupils identified with SEN across different ethnic groups have been noted previously. Preliminary analyses of national data have suggested that, compared to the majority White-British group, Traveller groups are more likely to be identified with moderate learning difficulties, Black-Caribbean and Mixed-White-and-Black-Caribbean groups are more likely to have identified behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, Pakistani pupils are more likely to have an identified hearing loss or visual impairment; and all Asian groups are less likely to have identified autistic spectrum difficulties. However it is unclear whether there is a genuinely higher incidence of SEN in some ethnic groups; whether some pupils are inappropriately identified; or whether some pupils are not identified at all.

The overall research aim is to clarify these ethnicity/SEN links and to suggest further ways of addressing emerging issues. The research aims to: draw together the evidence regarding over/under representation of various ethnic groups within the whole SEN group and within the different types of SEN; gather the research evidence and expert opinion on these differences; identify any significant gaps in knowledge and identify further data analyses, research or action which can inform policy makers.

The research will involve a more sophisticated statistical analysis of national data than has to date been completed in order to explore the complex interrelationships between SEN, social disadvantage, gender and ethnicity. Evidence will also be gathered through a systematic review of published and 'grey' literature in the area. A questionnaire has been sent to all LEA Principal Educational Psychologists and SEN adviser, and focus groups and interviews with experts in the field will be held shortly. The project will report to the DfES in February 2006 and a publication in the DfES Research Report series will be released later in the year.

The Presentation of the Contemporary Visual Arts

Sheila Galloway writes:

CEDAR's cultural sector research focussed in 2005 on the contemporary visual arts within Arts Council England's Review of the Presentationl of the Contemporary Visual Arts: Structure and Leadership, launched by Sir Christopher Frayling in December 2004. Jointly managed by Sheila Galloway and Professor Robert Lindley of Warwick's Institute for Employment Research, this project investigated employment, career and professional development in the presentation of the contemporary visual arts, giving particular attention to under-represented groups.

The 'art of our time' covers an expanded field of practices including artists' film and video, crafts, live art, photography and new media arts - dynamic fields characterised by hybrid forms and often challenging work. It involves organisations with and without collections presenting art of all styles in exhibition spaces from public and commercial galleries to artists' workspaces and studios. Researchers and practitioners alike have identified the lack of systematic data on working lives in the cultural sector; which features many highly qualified people but often modest earnings (e.g. Galloway et al, 2002: A Balancing Act). This is very apparent in the visual arts, despite the vibrancy of the field, the high profile of some London commercial galleries, and the popularity of events like Frieze Art.

The Warwick team collected and analysed primary data, both qualitative and quantitative, provided secondary analysis of existing datasets and reports, and did comparative studies on theatre, broadcasting and the media, and the visual arts in Germany.

Over 900 people contributed. 364 responded to the Employers' Skill Survey to visual arts organisations and 523 people responded to the Workforce Survey. 45 people participated in individual interviews and five group interviews in four regions.

The research drew on experience from a wide range of working contexts, including major national institutions, independent buildings-based organisations and artist-led studios. It involved little-known spaces showing emerging artists as well as galleries showing work of international standing. Some organisations had no exhibition space, being concerned with commissioning work, touring or providing professional development opportunities. Freelancers as well as employed people featured in the surveys and interviews.

The contemporary visual arts are valuable in and of themselves but other factors have brought them centre-stage. These include the opportunities presented by new media, the scope for collaboration between subsidised and commercial activity, and the dynamic development of the creative industries with their potential contribution to wider economic growth.

Evaluation of the Key Stage 2 Language Learning Pathfinders

Daniel Muijs, Geoff Lindsay, Ann Barnes, Marilyn Hunt, Bob Powell, Cynthia Martin (University of Reading)

The National Languages Strategy 'Languages for All: Languages for Life' was introduced in 2002 following the government's newly developing interest from 1999 in primary languages. In order to achieve the Strategy's goals (to give every child the opportunity throughout KS2 to study a foreign language and develop his/her interest in other cultures by the end of the decade), the government established a number of Pathfinder projects from September 2003, based on LA/schools collaboration. The £4.6 million initiative, conceived as a stepping stone to nationwide rollout of language learning in KS2, involved 19 LAs and ran until July 2005.

CEDAR's evaluation for DfES (2003-2005) examined the effectiveness and relative strengths of each Pathfinder model. Quantitative and qualitative methods included five strands: a study of existing research (including a literature review) and analysis of existing data sets, telephone interviews with key personnel in all Pathfinder authorities and collection of documentary evidence, a survey of 500 Pathfinder and 250 non-Pathfinder schools in comparator authorities, a cost effectiveness analysis of different models, and eight in-depth case studies of Pathfinder authorities, with two visits to a sample of five schools in each case study. School visits included classroom observation and in-depth interviews with staff and pupils. Interviews, surveys, and field visits were made in the early (Spring/Summer 2004) and later (Spring 2005) phases of the Pathfinder projects.

The findings are presented under: content and delivery, teacher competence, progression and assessment, transition and transfer, sustainability and replicability, and cost analysis. No particular model in 'pure' form was found in any of the case studies. Pupils, teachers, parents and governors expressed enthusiasm for languages and perceived benefits for pupils' learning and personal development generally. French is by far the most dominant language, taught by non-specialist class teachers, foreign language assistants, and outreach teachers from secondary schools. Progression within and through the year groups and monitoring pupils' progress are areas for improvement, but there were many examples of good practice. Transfer from primary to secondary school presents a challenge regarding passing on information, collaboration, and continuity of language. Most authorities and schools expect languages to continue beyond the Pathfinder funding, but factors affecting sustainability included: staff changes, funding, teacher competence and confidence. Costs differed significantly between local authorities, although the greatest share was taken up by personnel (over 92%).

The final report, submitted to DfES at the end of the September 2005, presented to a seminar at DfES in early October, is available on the DfES website and will shortly be posted on the CEDAR website. The KS2 MFL Framework was officially launched during a ministerial meeting on 27 October.


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13TH AND 14TH MARCH 2006