Stakeholders' Experiences of the Managed Transfer Process for Pupils with Social Emotional and Behavioural Needs: An Exploratory IPA Study

  • Paula Muir

Student thesis: Phd


Research has consistently highlighted the short term and familial difficulties (Munn, 2000), long term difficulties (SEU 1998) and the financial costs to society (Parsons, 2011) resulting from the permanent exclusion of young people from education. Key legislative changes and government publications (DCSF 2004; 2005 & 2010) have repeatedly recommended the use of managed transfers as an alternative to permanent exclusion, yet there is very little research evidence to support this. National and local exclusions statistics suggest that the implementation of managed transfers has contributed to a reduction of the numbers of young people being permanently excluded from school, but does this statistical phenomenon equate to an increase in the inclusion of young people? This research aims to explore the experiences of young people, their families and professionals working within the managed transfer system, to address the research question What are different stakeholders' experiences of the managed transfer process?Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was core to the design of the study and was used to analyse individual interviews from five young people and five parents, and focus group data from eight professionals working in mainstream settings, all of whom had experienced at least one managed transfer in the same local authority. Individual analysis of pupils' experiences raised superordinate themes relating to relationships, control, identity, rejection and education. Individual analysis of parents' experiences produced themes relating to relationships, agendas, control, pupil identity, flexibility, communication, acceptance, education and statementing. Analysis of focus group data relating to professionals' experiences of managed transfers, produced themes around cognitive dissonance, relationships, agendas, exclusion/inclusion, motivation and feelings of failure. A deeper level of analysis, including all stakeholder experiences, produced two global superordinate themes; cognitive dissonance and relationships. The theme cognitive dissonance represented the behaviours that participants engaged in to reduce conflict, often between their own beliefs and the beliefs or actions relating to the managed transfer. Although this theme encompassed many of the earlier themes, the behaviours and mechanisms employed by different individuals to reduce dissonance differed, as did the cause of conflict causing the dissonance. Relationships were highlighted by nearly all of the participants, but different relationships were valued by different individuals and at different stages during the managed transfer process. Despite the initial similarities across the experiences, this research highlights the individuals' sense making activities in relation to this complex social phenomenon and drew many parallels to research with young people and their families whom had experienced permanent exclusions from school. This research concludes with some overarching recommendations to improve the experiences of all stakeholders, not by applying a stringent set of rules or procedures, but through the development of a shared ethos and rationale, with greater inclusion of all stakeholders, allowing for processes to be flexibly applied and reasonable adjustments to be made in response to individual need, making inclusion central to the transfer rather than focusing on top down processes.
Date of Award31 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Farrell (Supervisor) & Caroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • Managed Transfer
  • exclusion
  • IPA
  • stakeholder views

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