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An Appreciative Inquiry of young people's transition into Alternative Provision

Bristol student theses: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)

Authors

  • Sarah Martineau

Research units

Abstract

Alternative provision (AP) refers to education provided to those of compulsory school age who are not receiving suitable schooling from mainstream or special settings, usually because of exclusion or illness. With exclusion rates increasing and a growing number of young people attending AP (HCEC, 2018), there has been a recent push to improve standards within AP (DfE, 2018). This thesis uses an Appreciative Inquiry methodology to explore young people’s experiences of transitioning into AP and ways in which this might be improved. The research combines data from 8 student interviews with data from 2 AP staff focus groups, to inform the Discovery, Dream and Design phases of the Appreciative Inquiry cycle. Data has been analysed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis and used to inform a final focus group in which staff considered the Design of how they might change practice within their setting. As documented in a range of studies exploring AP (DfE, 2017; Hart, 2013; Jalali & Morgan, 2018), the current research emphasises the significance of relationships with staff in supporting students attending AP. In discussion of the findings, connections are made between the development of these relationships and staff utilising skills associated with therapeutic relationships (Rogers, 1962) and attachment-based interactions (Hughes, 2015). This is suggested to be further reinforced by the AP offering a nurturing environment, enabling a feeling of respect and maturity through the use of flexible rules. The research proposes that young people perceiving the move into AP as a “fresh start” allows them to develop new identities within the AP setting. Issues such as how staff convey their expectations of young people transitioning into AP are explored and the findings suggest that the transition into AP can be challenging when students have negative pre-existing relationships with other students.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date6 Nov 2018

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