What made school so good?

Located theoretically in childhood studies and disability studies this case study explored one students’ successful experience in a New Zealand secondary school and her positive transition into a busy working adult life. A student with a disability (and high needs for learning support) acted as co-researcher with two researchers to explore aspects of school culture, teaching practice, and transition support in the secondary school she recently graduated from. Interviews with teachers and retrospective analysis by the student herself focused on the meaning of academic and social participation at secondary school, and the ways in which teachers supported the student’s participation and learning, contributing to a positive adult life in the community.

Behind young people's rights under the UNCRC to receive and give information, and to take part in decision-making processes that affect them is an assumption that children and young people are resilient and capable, and can form their own views. Findings exemplified a rights-based climate of caring and reciprocity at school, in which student participation and voice were key elements of inclusive teaching and learning processes.