Needs or rights? A challenge to the discourse of special education

RUNSWICK-COLE, Katherine and HODGE, Nick (2009). Needs or rights? A challenge to the discourse of special education. British Journal Of Special Education, 36 (4), 198-203.

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It is nearly 30 years since Mary Warnock's Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People introduced the phrase ‘special educational needs’ into the UK education system. In this article, Katherine Runswick-Cole, Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Nick Hodge, Principal Lecturer in Research Development at Sheffield Hallam University, argue for the abandonment of the ‘special needs’ discourse, claiming that it has, in fact, led to exclusionary practices within education. Building on the work of early years educators in Reggio Emilia schools in Northern Italy, the authors advocate for the adoption of the phrase ‘educational rights’ and suggest that the positive impact of such a linguistic turn would be significant for the lives of young people currently described as having ‘special educational needs’ and for children's rights.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Institute of Education
Identification Number:
Page Range: 198-203
Depositing User: Lorna Greaves
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 11:15
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:31

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