Skolans tillfälliga bakdörr? : en studie om den särskilda undervisningsgruppen i relation till skolans inkluderande uppdrag

Sammanfattning: Although the Swedish compulsory school’s mission is inclusive, there are segregated settings available for students in need of special needs education. The special teaching group is such a setting, and according to the Education Act (SFS 2010:800, 3 chap. 11§) possible to apply when there are special reasons. This thesis aims to understand how the special teaching group is constructed in relation to the inclusive mission of school. To achieve this aim, four questions are answered: (1) How is the organization of the work with special teaching groups described? (2) How is the image constructed of the students placed in special teaching groups? (3) What expectations are made visible in the school staff's talk about support in special teaching groups? (4) How do the school staff talk about the considerations made when placing students in special teaching groups to receive support? The material analysed is derived from four collections of empirical material: one material consisting of data from 30 Swedish municipalities’ organisation of special teaching groups, one consisting of 48 action programs belonging to students placed in special teaching groups, one consisting of data from focus group interviews in which 14 teachers, special need teachers and principals participated, and one consisting of data from individual interviews with 30 principals. The focus of the thesis is the school staff's way of speaking and reasoning about the special teaching group, both in talk and in writing. The material has been analysed discursively: in a first step to show how discourses on an individual level are activated when school staff talk about the special teaching group, and in a second step to understand how talk at an individual level is enabled by various community level discourses linked to inclusion. The analysis shows that three societal discourses compete to fixate the meaning of inclusion. The three discourses offer different ways in which inclusion can be understood, and relate to knowledge, values or health. The analysis shows that school staff activates all three discourses, but they prioritize students’ health. The study contributes to an understanding of how the special teaching group offers an opportunity to meet the educational needs of students by opening an informal back door from the regular but unsatisfactory educational situation. At the same time, the study highlights the issue of how placement in a special teaching group does not contribute to creating an understanding of how mainstream teaching can meet the diverse needs of students in general. Nor does the placement generate the resources needed realizing it.