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Title: A model of school inclusion based on the experiences of looked-after children
Authors: Adrian-Vallance, John
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Outcomes for looked-after children are generally poor in comparison to their peers. This includes educational outcomes. One route to improving outcomes for this population is improving their inclusion in schools. They experience more school changes and exclusions than their peers. Viewing people as experts in their own lives, this thesis used the views and experiences of looked-after children and care leavers to develop a model of the interrelating factors that support the inclusion in schools of looked-after children. A meta-ethnography was used to develop the initial model based on previous literature on the school experiences of looked-after children. An empirical study then provided support for and developed the model. It did this via focus groups with looked-after children and care leavers, as part of which a questionnaire based on the model was developed. The questionnaire was distributed to care leavers. Regression analyses were used on the respondents’ data to determine which of the factors from the model predicted feelings of inclusion and one-another. The five main factors identified from the meta-ethnography were: ‘agency’, ‘supportive relationships’, ‘consistency’, ‘others who support and value education’ and ‘looked-after status understood’. The empirical study found support for most aspects of the model. The importance of being treated as an individual with agency instead of a label, and therefore not being seen as ontologically different to other children, was found to be most important in predicting feelings of inclusion. In turn, this factor was predicted by having had supportive relationships and fewer school changes. Implications for supporting looked-after children are discussed. In particular, the need for a philosophical shift is described. This shift must redirect professionals’ objectifying gaze from looked-after children to the label ‘looked-after’.
Description: DAppEdPsy Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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