What children's perspectives tell us about inclusion
What children's perspectives tell us about inclusion

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What children's perspectives tell us about inclusion

1.2.2 How older pupils view school

For older children the work of school becomes less important in itself. Research that explored Scottish secondary school pupils' ideas about why they went to school revealed that for many pupils school served primarily as a social experience during the first two years and then later was seen as being instrumental in what would happen in their future lives:

‘You don't want to be one of these drunks and that you see on the streets every day selling ”The Big Issue”.’

‘You'll no get a decent job if you've no got any brains.’

‘Now it's only four years, you'll go to university and then get a life.’

(Pupils quoted in Duffield, Allan, Turner and Morris, 2000, p. 266)

For these young people, school was just something to get through. Their perceptions of school suggested that it had largely instrumental goals. Getting through school was about learning the correct performance. Pupils who found this difficult felt ‘excluded by factors beyond their control’ (Duffield et al., 2000, p. 271) and excluded from participation in their own learning. Others were aware of how social influences affected their learning:

‘It's better getting a bad mark then you dinnae get slagged as much … [I want to be] just in between – about what everybody else gets, not do too well.’

'Some people say if you come from [area] and you get good marks … or speak differently then you're a snob – when I first came to this school I was scared of a lot of people … now I just ignore them – say shut up … it's not my friends that do it, just people I don't like.’

(Pupils quoted in Duffield et al., 2000, p. 268)

Resentments were aired by boys about extra help being given to girls or to those with ‘special needs’. It is interesting to note that analysis of the distribution of ‘help’ within schools does reveal a gender bias and we will consider experiences of this next.

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