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Music in Schools for Children with Special Educational Needs: A Whole School Perspective

Mawby, Sarah Louise (2018) Music in Schools for Children with Special Educational Needs: A Whole School Perspective. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Music education and music therapy have long been shown to have benefits for children and young people labelled as having special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEN/D). However, until recently, very little has been known about the ways in which music education is approached in special education. Recent reviews of music education in England have drawn attention to the variability of current provision across the country. In special education, this research has largely centred upon exploring what is happening. Questions pertaining to how and why schools are choosing to incorporate music into their curricula have received little attention, making it difficult to ascertain exactly what is causing this ‘patchy’ provision. Moreover, there are currently voices missing from the research literature. Previous studies have explored the views and experiences of practitioners. However, the views of parents and teaching assistants have largely been ignored and those of disabled children and young people entirely excluded. This thesis expands upon the findings of previous research by exploring what constitutes ‘best practice’ in music in special education from a whole school perspective. Longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork was carried out in three special schools in Yorkshire. Data were gathered via repeated, weekly observations of music lessons/activities across a term of fieldwork in each school. Semi-structured interviews with a variety of school stakeholders (n = 36 interviews) including practitioners, primary care-givers and pupils, document analysis (n = 71 documents), and an ethnographic diary also contributed to the data-set. Data were analysed in accordance with Grounded Theory Methods. The findings show that participants agree upon 7 key elements of ‘best practice’ in music in special education and that there are 10 barriers/enablers to achieving this. A hierarchical model of the ways in which these barriers/enablers intersect demonstrates the process through which ‘best practice’ is currently achieved, forming a working theory of ‘best practice’ in SEN/D music education. The findings also highlight that a variety of socio-political-edu-cultural beliefs affect how participants describe and enact ‘best practice’. The effect these beliefs have on participants’ perceptions of ‘best practice’ are considered and recommendations for future research in this field are suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Music Education, Music, Special Education, Special Educational Needs, Disability, Best Practice
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778629
Depositing User: Dr Sarah L Mawby
Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 09:04
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24097

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