Researching ‘off rolling’ as a sensitive topic: ‘Hard’ evidence and experiential accounts
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This paper will explore the ways in which behaviour features in the accounts of ‘off rolling’ processes in schools in England volunteered by participants – senior school leaders, SENCos and parents, in an ongoing multi-stranded research project. In addition to analysing these accounts, this paper draws on contextual features and concepts such as parrhesia and authenticity in a probing of methodological considerations. The status of such accounts as data will also be considered given the high stakes accountability environment in which school principals strive to fulfil their legal remit in the field of inclusion. The trustworthiness of findings in qualitative research is more usually the focus of attention; however, our studies to date imply that some professionals carefully manage the image of their school and visibility of exclusionary practices to the detriment of students with mental health and behavioural issues. The methodological implications of conducting research in politicised and highly sensitive areas will be discussed.
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