How do schools and stakeholders take in the viewpoints and opinions of pupils with autism, and how do the schools respond to them? (Student Project)

Ankita Gurung.

Masters in Education.

I am Ankita Gurung currently studying a Masters in Education at the University of Southampton. For my final project I am exploring how schools understand the views of pupils on the autism spectrum about their educational experiences, with the supervision of Sarah Parsons.

In 2015, the Department for Education / Department of Health in their SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Code of Practice stated that Local Authorities ‘must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child [or pupil]’ with the disability. However, as research has shown, for many autistic pupils, difficulties with ‘social communication and interaction skills’ often leave practitioners, and researchers, with the challenge of finding methods of understanding children and young people’s views and opinions about their educational experiences.

This study will be an exploration into how schools and stakeholders access the viewpoints and opinions of these pupils, and in turn how the schools respond to them. Therefore, the following research questions will be addressed in the study:

  1. What methods do schools use in order to explore the views of autistic pupils about their educational provision and experiences?
  2. What types of things are being asked about autistic pupils’ educational provision and experiences?

Thus, the aim of this study is to explore and understand the methods that schools conduct in order to find out the views of autistic pupils about their educational experiences. This will take place by conducting semi-structured interviews with different school staff members that are partnered with the ACoRNS project. You can read in detail about the project’s findings here.