An exploration of the transition from post-primary to third level education settings for students with special educational needs
Irish Learning Support Association, ILSA
Transition from post-primary to third level education can be a complicated and confusing period for all students, but for students with special educational needs (SEN) it can be a sea of emotion as they embark on their voyage to adulthood and new identities. This research was undertaken with a view to contributing to post-school transition related research in the Irish context. It seeks to achieve this by exploring the student voice and presenting the experiences and feelings of students with SEN on their transition from post-primary to third level education. A qualitative research orientation is used to enter the world of the participants and, through interaction with them, collect and analyse empirical data to explore and understand students with SEN perspectives on their transition. It is rooted in the constructivist paradigm, where micro-ethnographic case studies are carried out in two research sites over a short period of time (one year). Empirical data was collected using field notes, a research diary, qualitative questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The findings confirmed that transition for these students is not straightforward and is indeed a turbulent time in their lives. The research highlighted the necessity of providing supports for students’ during this period, as they are influenced by their SEN at a personal level, impacting, not only on their academic and social lives, but also their identity. Findings also suggest that post-primary schools do not have adequate structured strategies in place to support students with SEN in their transition to third level education. Recommendations and future research directions are discussed.
Special educational needs , Special education , Post-school transition , Post-primary schools , Third-level education , Transition , Special educational needs (SEN) , Transition planning.
Daly, M. and Cahill, K. (2018) 'An exploration of the transition from post-primary to third level education settings for students with special educational needs', Learn: Journal of The Irish Learning Support Association, 40, pp. 41-53.
© 2018 The Authors; Irish Learning Support Association ILSA