Specific language impairment and school outcomes. II: Educational context, student satisfaction, and post-compulsory progress

Kevin Durkin, Zoë Simkin, Emma Knox, Gina Conti-Ramsden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: This investigation is the second paper of a companion set reporting the outcomes of secondary schooling for young people who have been participating in the Manchester Language Study. Aims: To examine the school context of educational results at 16 years of age and to provide information on the adolescents' post-16 activities. Methods & Procedures: A total of 120 adolescents with a history of specific language impairment (SLI) and 121 adolescents with typical development (TD) in their final year of compulsory secondary schooling (mean age = 17;4 years) participated in the study. Data on educational placement, special education support and provision of statement of special educational needs (SEN) were collected, along with the provision of access arrangements during examinations. Adolescents were interviewed about their levels of expectation and satisfaction with their examination results and their subsequent post-16 activities. Outcomes & Results: Only a small proportion of adolescents attended special units/schools throughout their secondary schooling; a larger proportion consistently attended mainstream schools. Those in receipt of a statement of SEN performed more poorly in their examinations than those without a statement. Around 60% of the adolescents with SLI were provided with some type of access arrangements during their core examinations. The majority (88%) of adolescents with SLI reported that they were satisfied with their educational outcomes. Most adolescents with SLI (91%), regardless of school placement at 16 years, remained in education post-16, with the majority in college settings. Conclusions: Adolescents with a history of SLI have continued difficulties throughout secondary schooling, with three-quarters of the sample receiving some form of special education in a variety of settings. Educational attainment varied across different groups of adolescents but was consistently poorer than the attainment of typically developing peers. Young people with SLI in the 2000s appear to have more opportunities to remain in education post-16 than they did in the 1990s. © 2009 Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)36-55
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


    • Educational outcomes
    • Educational placements
    • Examination access arrangements
    • Post-16 activities
    • Specific language impairment (SLI)


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