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Businesses in the classroom: how corporate social responsibilities are being undertaken in schools in South Wales

Blake, Hannah R 2020. Businesses in the classroom: how corporate social responsibilities are being undertaken in schools in South Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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There is a common view amongst businesses and within government that business involvement in schools can be regarded as a positive component to a pupil’s school experience. In Wales, this view is reinforced by the introduction of the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification and the impending implementation of a new school curriculum aimed at introducing new ways of learning into the classroom environment that will enhance young people’s employability. Despite the role of businesses in schools being a relatively under-researched topic, there are claims that the undertaking of corporate socially responsible activities by businesses in schools is a win-win concept. This thesis takes a qualitative interpretive epistemology approach to understanding the increasing engagement of businesses in schools due to the growing emphasis on corporate social responsibility and interrogates some of the above claims through attempting to understand the justification provided by both businesses and schools for engaging with each other. Looking at what businesses do, this research finds that activities and support provided by businesses to schools are extremely varied and rely largely on the capacity of the business. The findings from businesses suggest that, on the basis of this research, the most common form of engagement is performed by businesses in the form of ‘life-skills’ sessions and workshops. Businesses stated the development of their educational programmes was a method used to ensure the sustainability of the business and that by undertaking this new form of employer engagement they found that their current employees appeared to be more motivated and happier in their jobs. The research reveals that school experiences of, and attitudes towards, receiving engagement from businesses vary significantly, with those schools who benefit most from the engagement activities unsurprisingly providing a more positive view of their experience. Despite the promotion of careers and skills acquisition workshops by businesses, schools were more vocal about how the school gained through financial donations and the procurement of financial resources. The findings suggest that the increasing role of businesses in schools may increase the inequalities in the education system by creating disadvantage between those pupils who engage with businesses compared to those who do not. This project provides a new piece of empirical research to the under-researched area of employer engagement in education and provide a more thorough understanding of how businesses undertake their CSR activities in schools and its benefits, but more importantly, the issues that can be raised from this phenomenon.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 November 2020
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2020 08:36

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