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Fixed period exclusion: Exploring the experience of primary aged pupils attending a specialist setting

Kenny, Rachael 2018. Fixed period exclusion: Exploring the experience of primary aged pupils attending a specialist setting. DEdPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Government data indicates that Fixed Period Exclusion (FPE) rates in primary schools are not in-keeping with an overall national trend of reduced rates of exclusion across the country. Moreover, pupils with identified Special Educational Needs and/or Disability, particularly those identified to have Social Emotional Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH), previously categorized as ‘Social Emotional Behavioural Difficulties’, remain disproportionately represented in the exclusion data. Although research has explored the phenomenon of exclusion from the perspective of secondary aged pupils, the voices of their primary school counterparts remain limited within the literature. Thus, this research explores the lived experience of FPE from the perspective of primary aged pupils, who attend a specialist provision for SEMH in England. Semi-structured interviews were completed with 7 pupils in Years 5 and 6, in order to explore their experience. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was conducted in accordance with guidelines from Smith Larkin & Flowers (2009). The experience of FPE was interpreted from the pupils’ sense-making. The Superordinate IPA themes included: ‘Relationships’, ‘Attribution’ and ‘Managing change’. ‘Relationships’ captured the importance of both the adult- pupil relationships and peer relationships. There was observed polarity within the adult-pupils relationships, which appeared to be positively or negatively impacted by the adults behaviour management and communication styles, and the level of practical and emotional support that was provided. Peer relationships were also noted to be important in the pupils’ narratives, as they appeared to provide a sense of belonging and security. ‘Attribution’ was a further superordinate theme emerging from the analysis, capturing the internal and external attributions held by the pupils that underpinned how they made sense of their school exclusion experience. ‘Managing change’ was the final superordinate theme identified; this describes how the pupils coped with their exclusion, the emotional impact of that exclusion and the effects of the exclusion processes. Recommendations for future research are made and the implications of the results are discussed in relation to educational psychology practice. This research highlights the value of educational psychologists (EPs) listening to pupil voice and considering their exclusion experience using an eco-systemic framework; this generates thinking about the broader systemic factors which are at play for excluded pupils and those at risk of exclusion. Additionally, findings highlight the need for further training to promote nurturing environments and better emotional support for excluded pupils’ that EPs are well placed to provide. Moreover, they would also indicate that clear guidance developed by EPs and implemented by schools in relation to the processes and effects of exclusion, with an emphasis on the involvement and communication of pupils and their families, would be beneficial.

Item Type: Thesis (DEdPsy)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Funders: Welsh Government
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 September 2018
Date of Acceptance: 20 September 2018
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 02:06

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