After the democratic election of 1994, a new and integrated education system was developed in South Africa in accordance with international trends and the stipulations of the South African Bill of Rights with regard to equality, human dignity, basic education and equal access to education. According to the inclusive education system, learners with learning and developmental barriers should be accommodated within the mainstream of education. In order for inclusive education to succeed, a network of support was developed on departmental, provincial, district and school level. At school level, the school-based support team is directly responsible for supporting learners with learning and developmental barriers, educators and parents/caregivers. The effectiveness of these school-based support teams will, eventually, determine the quality of this inclusive education approach. The question which guided this research, is: How effectively does the school-based support team fullfil its function in the teaching and learning of learners with learning and developmental barriers within the framework of inclusive education? A qualitative research design was chosen which is exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. After an initial literature study in which international and national trends in this field were investigated, five primary mainstream schools were selected in the Western Cape according to certain criteria. A pilot study was conducted in another school to refine data collection strategies. Information was then gathered in the five schools by means of structured questionnaires, individual and focus group interviews, field notes and the study of appropriate documents. In order to evaluate these teams, eleven criteria were designed to serve collectively as an evaluation instrument. The effectiveness of the school-based support teams in the five schools were subsequently assessed and placed in various categories according to a conceptual framework. It was found that the school-based support teams function relatively effectively in most areas. The composition of the teams is effective. However, the teams function ineffectively with regard to the orientation and training of their members, as well as of the teachers and parents/caregivers of learners with learning and developmental barriers
Thesis (PhD (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.