Young people with learning disabilities need more support to feel safer, happier and more secure in mainstream education, a study has found.
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, in collaboration with Cambridge University, discovered a need for designated “safe or quiet places” for students with special educational needs.
Young people who took part in the study said they often felt anxious during breaks and found moving between lessons in busy corridors stressful.
The report, What About Us?, includes examples of students successfully lobbying for more common rooms and other social areas and structured activities at break times.
It recommends that mainstream schools and colleges do more to listen to the views of students with learning disabilities on possible improvements, and increase their involvement in planning and decision-making.
As a growing number of students with learning disabilities attend mainstream educational settings, in line with the government’s social inclusion policy, experts examined the everyday experiences of individuals, and the activities and support on offer.
Researchers spent a year visiting nine institutions in Cambridge, Plymouth and Leeds, encouraging participants to identify problems at their place of study and come up with ways to resolve them.
Jill Davies, research programme manager for the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, said the model should be adopted throughout the country.
“Students can provide a very effective check on policy implementation and quality. Involving them in this way is good for schools, colleges and policymakers – as well as good for the young people themselves.”
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities – official website
Cambridge University’s faculty of education – official website