Permanent exclusion is a serious disciplinary measure and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF, 2008) advises that in most cases it is to be the last resort after a range of measures have been tried to improve a pupil's behaviour. Following permanent exclusion the local authority (LA) takes responsibility for a pupil's education and for most cases seeks to reintegrate the pupil into a new school. However the process of reintegration of permanently excluded pupils into mainstream school is regarded as difficult and research has shown that second permanent exclusions frequently occur fairly soon after entering a new school. In the last four years a 'Hard To Place Pupil Protocol' (HTPPP) has been published in all LAs as a statutory document. This seeks to encourage all schools to admit a fair share of excluded pupils in a timely manner. There has been no published research on this protocol to date. This study adopts a qualitative case study methodology, influenced by a social constructionist epistemological stance. The participants and methods utilised include interviews with reintegrating pupils, their parents and school staff supporting them, LA reintegration officers and headteachers. Additional methods included a focus group with members of the educational psychology team, a survey to secondary school staff, documentary evidence from pupil files and LA documents, educational psychologist (EP) case work evaluation and a reflexive research diary. This study includes analysis of the findings and presents pertinent themes emerging from the data. The results section indicates that the HTPPP has been effective in increasing the number of pupils being reintegrated. However there are some areas identified as being problematic. These include: decision making, perceived fairness of the protocol, the role of parents and the relationship between the protocol and permanent exclusion. The findings indicate that there are a number of factors that can facilitate or hinder a reintegration. These include: school support, communication, individual pupil attributes, sense of belonging, familial and societal factors and the impact of previous events including the original exclusion. The research findings indicate that EPs recognise their role in supporting the reintegration process through the application of psychological theory and knowledge, supporting complex cases, helping to change perspectives of the 'problem', working school staff and obtaining and championing the voice of the child. School staff consider the role of the EP as providing consultation around advice and strategies, it is also about providing a current assessment of a pupil's educational needs, offering individual therapeutic work with the pupil, supporting home-school relations and enabling a third party perspective. The discussion relates the themes to previous literature and identifies some variation in terms of the factors that facilitate or hinder reintegration, and concluded by questioning the feasibility of establishing such factors. The evidence collected to determine effectiveness of the HTPPP is helpful to establish the way in which it might be adapted to operate in the future. By considering the role of an EP in supporting the process, it is anticipated that the research will contribute to evidence based practice in this area.
|Date of Award||31 Dec 2010|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||Kevin Woods (Supervisor)|
- Pupils, Exclusion, Reintegration, Case Study, Thematic Analysis