Findings of Focus Groups' Discussions

AuthorVan Hove, G.; Gradinaru, C.; Morabito, C.; De Schauwer E.; Mattelin, E.
Feasibility Study for a Child Guarantee (FSCG) Children’s Voices
3. Findings of Focus Groups’ Discussions
3.1. Common themes across Target Groups
3.1.1. Education
Education is viewed positively when analysed as an instrument to promote children’s
inclusion and wellbeing in the present and future community and society. Inclusion is
understood by ch ildren as the capacity of a servi ce (in thi s case, schools) to address the
specific needs of each child.
Child with a migrant background15: “I like my school. I feel like I'm at home when
I'm at school. It's fun there. And people [personnel] are kind.”
Child with disabilities:16 For participants in the focus group, the school is a place to
feel good, a pl ace where they can participate. A place where they should be given
equal opportunities. The feeling of bein g welcome is of great importance to every
Conversely, school is seen rather negatively when analysed as undermining their emotional
wellbeing. All children across the focus groups have experienced during their education
trajectories moments of rejection and exclusion.
Child living in precarious family situation : The school is not inclusive, it's
exclusionary … It puts us in a difficult situation, is very stressful .”
Child with disabilities: He has been enrolled in eight different schools. Children with
disabilities have to move quite often, in many cases “because they are not welcome
everywhere and are always looking for a school that wants to work wi th them.”
The relationship with teachers is considered a crucial factor in children’s educational
process. Individual differences emerge in what teachers are willing to do, or not, to favour
inclusion. In some cases, teachers are seen as open to dialogue and enhancing children’s
participation and capabilities.
Child with a migrant background: “They [teachers] are quite strict as well as the
level they should be at Teachers help a lot, both in lessons and on breaks and
outside. Yes. Like when you have problems you can just go to them and talk to
them like this. You also get help quickly … It will be fine. They are nice.”
Child with disabilities: He underlines that the teacher is crucial in school. He likes
to work together with the teacher and is very fond of her (he noted down her name
and the subject she teaches). In particular, he likes that the teacher also makes
sure that he can participate in the tests and exams for his subject. One child says
that it is also important when the school listens to children, because it is always the
parents and teachers who speak and he is convinced that young people n ot only
have their own opinion, but they also have their own view on inclusion, which may
be different from that of the adults.
In other cases, teachers are seen as distant, not understanding but rather augmenting
their insecurity and stress, and the sense of being excluded.
Child living in precarious family situation : “There are two kinds of t eachers. Those
who are very close to us and understan d how to approach us, and those who are
too detached, which perhaps is not nice to say, but some teachers only think about
the [teaching] programme and leave no room for dialogue. Most are of th e second
15 Children with a migrant background refer to children interviewed in Sweden; children living in precarious family
situation have been interviewed in Italy; children with disabilities and residing in institutions have been
interviewed respectively in Belgium and Romania.
16 Quotes from children with disabilities are more in the form of narrative/description. This is due to the
organization of their focus group, which has been adapted to facilitate their participation and discussion. As a
result, content has been developed more in the form of mind mapping than questions and answers.

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