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Aspirations of young people in care: a study of goals and priorities for the future of young people in care and key adults working with them. What is the issue?. 30 September 2009 43,200 LAC > 12 months 32,300 of these children were of school age

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Aspirations of young people in care: a study of goals and priorities for the future of young people in care and key adults working with them.

what is the issue
What is the issue?
  • 30 September 2009 43,200 LAC > 12 months
  • 32,300 of these children were of school age
  • 27% had a statement of Special Educational Needs (compared to 2.7%)
  • 12% missed at least 25 days of school
  • 0.4% received a permanent exclusion (compared to 0.1%)
what is the issue cont
What is the issue? Cont.
  • 46% aged 11 achieved at least level 4 at KS2 English (compared to 80%)
  • 46% aged 11 in achieved at least level 4 in mathematics at KS2 Maths (compared to 76%)
  • In Year 11, 68% obtained at least one GCSE or GNVQ (compared with 99%)
  • 15% obtained at least 5 GCSEs or GNVQs at grades A* to C (compared with 70%)
what is the issue cont1
What is the issue? Cont.
  • 14% unemployed in the September after leaving school (compared to 4%)
  • Twice as likely to have been cautioned
  • High rates of substance misuse and diagnosis of mental health disorder
  • When first measured 1% at HE, now 6%
  • http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000930/SFR08_2010_Main.pdf
  • The gap starts wide and becomes wider
what is the surrounding debate
What is the surrounding debate?

Extensive research in Social Work

Positive approaches

Issue located in debates about family support, child protection, youth offending

Is recognition that education can be key

Much of the debate in education, health, psychology is very critical of the role of social workers

broadly 3 approaches in research
Broadly 3 approaches in research
  • Practical approaches, often funded by government or charities
  • Psychological approaches, especially around resilience
  • Sociological approaches: impact of wider factors
impact of the 3 approaches
Impact of the 3 approaches
  • Practical – guidance for schools and Local Authorities
  • Psychological – funding for initiatives, moves towards training
  • Sociological – calls for more research and more theorizing of issues
participatory research
Participatory research
  • Large body of research which gathers the views of young people, carers and key workers
  • How representative are the samples?
  • Problem: not a homogeneous group
  • Why am I looking at LAC as if they are a group?
methodology
Methodology
  • James and Christensen (2008) suggest that research with children is a methodology
  • Social constructivist; value-driven; participatory; emancipatory
  • View of children as social actors in their own right
  • + add my view that the voices of the most marginalised are those we most need to hear
starting point
Starting point
  • My starting point was a concern for social justice and a belief in the power of education to have a positive impact
  • Well-documented inequity between the outcomes for LAC and the general population
  • My approach to research was to be participatory and emancipatory
  • Concern to give marginalised young people a voice
ethical issues
Ethical issues
  • Ethics of researching vulnerable young people? – but are these the people whose voices we most need to hear?
  • Building relationships with the young people: but is that using them?
  • Or is it necessary to be able to develop an ‘ethical radar’ (Skanfors, 2009)
  • Shift from participatory to ethnographic approach during pilot study
trustworthiness
Trustworthiness
  • Ethical issues: how can it be participatory when they do not really want to participate? Power relations have an impact
  • Is it ethical to build relationships with the young people to serve my own purpose?
  • Aim for trustworthiness through ongoing reflexivity
  • Positive result of learning from the young people – will they benefit?
case study of critical cases
Case study of critical cases

does not divest experience of its rich ambiguity because it stays close to the complexities and contradictions of existence. Its goal is to foster understanding, reflection and action instead of a narrow translation of research into practice (Lather, 2004, p.767)

Contrast this with many of the large-scale studies: idiographic, theory building

possible solution
Possible solution...
  • Still committed to gaining the views of young people
  • Gather the views of their carers/ teachers/ other professionals working with the young people
  • 360 degree view
  • Hypothesis: the difficulty arises from the conflict in priorities and aspirations
  • Personal Construct Theory: the researcher construes the participants’ constructs
  • Kelly’s Repertory Grid
developing a reflexive stance
Developing a reflexive stance

doctoral research was about both reflexivity – surfacing, questioning and justifying my own underlying assumptions and taken for granted habits and positions – and actively participating in learning through reading, writing, talking and listening and constantly making decisions about how to frame and reframe aspects of my research. My emerging rethinkings, current struggles, ignorances and many questions about what was going on in my research were continually reflexively analysed

(Forbes, 2008, p.454)

reference list
Reference list

Coffey, A. (1999) The ethnographic self. London:Sage

Forbes, J. (2008) Reflexivity in professional doctoral research, Reflective Practice, 9(4), pp. 449-460

Fransella, F., Bell, R. and Bannister, D. (2004) A manual for repertory grid technique. 2nd ed. Chichester, West Sussex, England ; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

James, A. and Christensen, P. M. (2008) Research with children : perspectives and practices. London: Routledge.

Kelly, G. (1980) Theory of personality : the psychology of personal constructs. Norton.

Lather, P. (2004) Scientific research in education: a critical perspective British Educational Research Journal 30(6), pp. 759-773

Simons, H. (2009) Case Study Research in Practice London: Sage

Skånfors, L. (2009) Ethics in Child Research: Children’s Agency and Researchers’ ‘Ethical radar’ Childhoods Today 3 (1), 2009