Us & Them: Being at a Residential School, Perspectives from Students, Staff and Whanau
Residential special education for students with diverse learning needs continues to be one of the most complex and contested areas on the education spectrum. This thesis explores a live-in boarding school for girls with special learning, social, emotional, and behavioural needs. The participants view was sought to understand the value placed on the school by those who use and provide the services. The methodological approach was a case study design underpinned by a constructivist paradigm. Twelve participants volunteered to be interviewed. The participants were made up from three stakeholder groups these were teachers, residential workers, students‟ and parents/whānau. An inductive content analysis procedure was used to identity four overarching themes. Overall, all stakeholders thought the school served a purpose and they strongly support a continuum of services, including special residential schools. However, there is clearly a stigma attached to the school, which seems to be a barrier to the school operating in a more inclusive way. This setting the participants believed was more inclusive for the girls as they did not experience the marginalization of the mainstream.