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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Leadership of special educational needs coordinators for Inclusive Education in HK mainstream primary and secondary schools

Principal Investigator Dr Poon-McBrayer, Kim Fong
Area of Research Project
Educational Leadership, Policy and Administration
Project Period
From 01/2014 To 12/2015
  1. To understand perceptions of principals, SENCOs, and relevant teachers of the purposes and expected outcomes of the SENCO policy towards promoting inclusive education
  2. To investigate the practices of SENCOs in leading and monitoring the implementation of inclusive education
  3. To identify the conditions that support and challenge SENCO leadership
  4. To examine ways forward to ensure that SENCOs play a full role in the successful implementation of the inclusion policy in future
Methods Used
A mixed method approach involving qualitative and quantitative components for a comprehensive examination has been adopted.
  • Phase I: conduct qualitative case studies in 12 primary and secondary schools using maximum variation sampling method. All principals and SENCOs of participating schools will be interviewed to know their response to 4 research questions. In addition, group interviews of 84-100 teachers (6-9 teachers per school) will be conducted after observations of SST meetings to know their response towards Q1 and Q4 and their views on where and how SENCO leadership was demonstrated.
  • Phase II: construct the questionnaire based on research questions, literature review, and the findings of case studies in Phase I. Finalize the territory-wide quantitative questionnaire survey of 50% eligible schools and compile the mailing list using a stratified random sampling.
Summary of Findings
  • Map the similarities and differences across primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong with regard to the implementation of the SENCO policy and its effects.
  • Provide evidence of the links between SENCO leadership and inclusive schooling and facilitate the development of indicators for effective SENCO leadership for schools and SENCO self-evaluation.
  • Contribute to the development of a theory of middle leadership for inclusive schooling in the Chinese school context.
  • Data will inform policy makers, teacher educators, school leaders and teachers about the current and potential roles of SENCOs and generate knowledge that will contribute to leadership preparation and professional development.
  • School leadership that facilitates teacher leadership
  • Middle leaders critiquing effective school leadership
  • Values, roles and challenges of School Leaders in Inclusive education
  • An Initial Investigation of the SENCO System in Hong Kong
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr. Kim Fong Poon-McBrayer, Associate Head (Development and Connection) / Associate Professor of The Department of Education Policy and Leadership, joined the Institute in 2008. She has been an educator at school and university levels for over 30 years. Dr. Poon-McBrayer has served as a general/special education teacher at various levels in Hong Kong and the US. She was on faculty at the Monmouth University (USA), University of Hong Kong, and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) as well as serving as a visiting professor to the University of Brunei, University of St. Joseph in Macau, and Nanyang Technological University. Dr. Poon-McBrayer has been active in professional organizations, serving on numerous boards of directors of various professional organizations as well as editorial boards of various journals. Dr. Poon-McBrayer has authored books in the field of special education, book chapters, many refereed journal articles, consultancy research reports, and policy critiques in local newspapers. Her greatest passion lies in the provision of equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities to access lifelong learning.

Funding Source

General Research Fund