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The initial experiences of young people with severe learning difficulties transitioning from post-16 school to a FE college

Hickey, S; (2016) The initial experiences of young people with severe learning difficulties transitioning from post-16 school to a FE college. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Obtaining and promoting the voice of the young person with learning difficulties features strongly in both English education policies and learning difficulty research (e.g. DfE, 2014; Loyd, 2012; Porter & Lacey, 2004). In particular, the views of young people are being encouraged at points of transition, such as the move from post-16 provision to further education (e.g. Heslop, Abbott, Johnson, & Mallet, 2007; Palikara, Lindsay, & Dockrell, 2009). The present study aimed to explore the views and experiences of young people with severe learning difficulties (SLD) on their initial transition to further education (FE). It also examined the challenging and supportive factors identified by the young people as being significant in their start at FE provision. / Participants: Five young people, identified as having SLD in their statement of special educational needs (SEN) participated in the current study. All young people were attending the same FE college which had a specialist provision for students with SLD. / Methods and Procedures: To promote the voice of each young person, an individual case study design was employed. The views of the young people were gathered using semi-structured interviews. Each young person was interviewed twice, at the beginning of the first college term and six weeks later. / Results: All of the young people identified friendship at college as being a key experience and supportive factor for them. The young people also reported feeling positive about the learning and social opportunities available to them once they had started at college and two of the young people were particularly enthusiastic about opportunities for greater independence and autonomy. The young people identified significant factors in facilitating their transition, such as support from families (predominantly mothers) and college staff. Three young people experienced a sense of loss and missed their friends from school. Tiredness was also identified by four young people as a challenging factor to their experiences of college. / Conclusions: The study demonstrated the ability of young people with SLD to express their views and experiences of starting college, including identifying the supportive and challenging factors they had encountered. The findings and their implications for the role of educational psychologists (EP) are considered in relation to promoting the young people’s voice and also in supporting the transition of vulnerable populations to post-school provisions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The initial experiences of young people with severe learning difficulties transitioning from post-16 school to a FE college
Event: University College London (UCL)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482275
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