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Evans, A. (2013). From exclusion to inclusion; supporting Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators to keep children in mainstream education: a qualitative psychoanalytic research project. J. Child Psychother., 39(3):286-302.
   

(2013). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 39(3):286-302

From exclusion to inclusion; supporting Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators to keep children in mainstream education: a qualitative psychoanalytic research project

Angela Evans

This paper draws on my doctoral research study based on consulting work with three primary school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos) that took place in 2008. The study examined the interactions that arose in the consultations with the SENCos and their staff. The findings that emerged from the application of Grounded Theory research methodology showed that the consultant, the SENCos and the children for whom they were responsible all felt on the edge of school life. SENCos and their staff were subject on a daily basis to powerful projections from children who were unable to tolerate difficult feelings and they were at risk of becoming identified with these feelings. The consultant in turn was the recipient of powerful projections from the SENCos. These complex dynamics of projective identification are examined in the study. The question of how SENCos and staff can better support children on the edge of exclusion with these unregulated feeling states is discussed. It is proposed that senior management teams and policy makers are essential in putting the SENCo role more at the centre of schools, both physically and in terms of how it is perceived. The need for access to a consultant who can help SENCos to understand and process extreme feelings is recommended as a way forward.

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