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Models of SEND: the impact of political and economic influences on policy and provision

Rolfe, Susan



The content and direction of policy can be impacted upon by broader political and economic influences that are of central concern to the government in office. With regard to education, the concepts of inclusion and SEND are at the forefront of professional pedagogy and provision. These concepts, although well-established educational practices, may be impacted by these influences.
This article has two aims. Firstly, it will identify and critically evaluate potential factors that may have an impact upon the implementation of these concepts. This analysis will focus on the effects of national and international financial instability, the standards agenda and the use of attainment data. The second aim is to critically examine existing and new models of SEND and evaluate how they may be affected by broader political and economic influences and thus reflect current political values. This article will also present a table that summarises each model of SEND and the political and economic influences that may impact upon them.

A conclusion is drawn that the potential to achieve inclusive educational practice is affected, not by the models of SEND impacting upon policy and practice, but by political and economic influences acting at both national and international levels.

Key words: inclusion, special educational needs, disabilities, medical model, social model, biopsychosocial model, state influenced market model, financial crisis model


Rolfe, S. (2020). Models of SEND: the impact of political and economic influences on policy and provision. British Journal of Special Education, 46(4), 423-444.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 21, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 23, 2019
Publication Date Jan 7, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal British Journal of Special Education
Print ISSN 0952-3383
Electronic ISSN 1467-8578
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 4
Pages 423-444
Keywords Medical model; Social model; StateÔÇÉinfluenced market model; Financial crisis model; Biopsychosocial model
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