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Transition to adulthood for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

   Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences

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  Dr Val Tadic, Prof Claire Monks  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Transitioning into adulthood is an important developmental milestone that carries a set of unique challenges to any young person. However, the transition experience of young people special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is more complex and multi-dimensional, encompassing educational, health and psychosocial needs. Key generic components of a good transition for young people with SEND have been described in the SEND Code of Practice, following the Children’s and Families Act (DfE, 2014), which signalled a radical shift in how children and young people with SEND are supported. However, whilst these legislative changes have led to some positive changes, research evidence suggests that fragmentation and poor organisation and collaboration remain a challenge, with young people with SEND still experience barriers surrounding employment and further education in terms of understanding and inclusion (Malkani, 2021). experiencing employment and higher education barriers, and exclusion from decision making that concerns them. Robust evidence regarding experience and effectiveness of the new transition model post 2014 Children’s Act across the diverse population of young people with SEND is lacking, highlighting the need for further research to understand the nuances of what, for whom and why it is working, and where the barriers are. 

This research aims to contribute new knowledge contribute knowledge on current practices and the barriers and enablers to good transition in a diverse population of young people with SEND, and describing specific, as well as generic transition issues and components from the key stakeholders perspectives, and proposing how best to integrate them to inform an optimal transition model that serves a wider set of needs. The proposed project arose directly from consultations with parents and carers of young people with SEND and aims to continue to draw on participatory research principles and key stakeholders’ perspectives to accurately address the needs and concerns of those individuals to whom this research matters most. This is a multidisciplinary research project, drawing on expertise from the field of psychology, education, social work and other relevant disciplines.

Duration - 3 years full time study (the scholarship must commence before 1 January 2023)

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):  

Year 1: £16,062 (FT) or pro-rata (PT)

Year 2: In line with UKRI rate

Year 3: In line with UKRI rate

In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home rate, currently £4,596 (FT) or pro-rata (PT), for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase.

Person Specification:

·        1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) honours degree or a taught master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project (inclusive of but not limited to psychology, social work, education, sociology).

·        For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, if your programme falls within the faculty of Engineering and Science a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all elements of the test or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required. Unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g. UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.

·        Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g. undergraduate or taught master’s dissertation)

·        Understanding of ethical issues involved in research with vulnerable young people and their families

·        Experience of working with children, young people and/or families

·        Knowledge of mixed methods research and approaches

·        Awareness of special educational needs and disabilities

·        Understands the fundamental differences between a taught degree and a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation

·        Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully

·        Has excellent written and oral communication skills

·        Demonstrates aptitude for working with vulnerable populations, key community stakeholders and non-academic experts for shaping the research agenda

·        Excellent organisational skills

This scholarship may require Academic Technology Approval Scheme approval for the successful candidate if from outside of the EU/EEA and the applicant must undertake a DBS clearance upon starting the scholarship.

Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.  Please ensure that you select ‘MPhil/PhD Human Sciences’ from the list to ensure prompt processing of applications.

All applications must include the following information (applications not containing these documents will not be considered):

•       VC Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– included in the personal statement section

•       Personal Statement - outlining your motivation for applying for this PhD, and your previous research experience (e.g., as a research assistant or completing a dissertation).

•       Academic qualification certificates/transcripts*

•       IELTS/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

•       Research Proposal* (ca. 1500 words- please use template available from:

•       Your complete tabular CV*

•       Two reference letters (one ideally from a dissertation supervisor)*

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be in PDF format.  You will need to submit this as 1 single PDF, to be uploaded as attachment.

Before submitting your application, you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above.

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