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

Linda J. Graham*, Penny Van Bergen, Naomi Sweller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Students with disruptive behaviour in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) 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 schoolwork 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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-54
    Number of pages20
    JournalCritical Studies in Education
    Volume57
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Caught between a rock and a hard place: disruptive boys' views on mainstream and special schools in New South Wales, Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this