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The Experiences of Students with Physical Disabilities in Second Level Schools

Research Staff

Dr. Jean Whyte, Fiona Daly, Anna Fiona Keogh

About the Project


Low participation in education manifests itself before the official school leaving age of 16. The Census shows that over 20% of young people with physical disabilities aged 15 are not in education, compared to 6% of non-disabled young people.

Disability and social class both influence participation in education. Young people from a professional background with a disability are more likely to be in education than disabled young people from an unskilled manual background, while both are less likely to be in educational than their non-disabled counterparts.

What did the research focus on?

The aim of the study was to explore the educational experiences of young people who have a physical disability, in particular to identify factors which may affect their participation and educational attainment at second level.

What did the research involve?

The research was a qualitative study. It involved interviewing young people themselves, as well as some parents, education professionals and service providers.

The findings should be of interest to parents of young people with physical disabilities, as well as to those who work with this group of young people. In addition, the results should be relevant to Irish social policy makers.

Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).