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Meeting the duty? An explorative study of four Welsh local authority looked-after children’s education (LACE) teams and views of their interventions from looked-after young people

Andrews, Darren 2017. Meeting the duty? An explorative study of four Welsh local authority looked-after children’s education (LACE) teams and views of their interventions from looked-after young people. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Almost a decade ago, Berridge, Dance, Beecham and Field (2008, p.49) noted a worrying absence of research into the UK picture of education support teams in terms of their organisational structure and priorities. This thesis represents an original contribution to knowledge in regard to the educational support provided for Looked-After Children in Wales. The overall sample (n=28) comprised four Looked After Children Education (LACE) coordinators, seven LACE team practitioners and seventeen young people with looked-after status, aged 14-16 years old, from across four local authorities in south Wales. This qualitative research is informed by constructionist ontology and is positioned within an interpretivist framework. Data were subjected to a coding framework and thematic analysis. The research yields useful insights with some clear implications for policy and practice. It has sought to address that void and add to a slowly growing knowledge base as little is known about the ways in which LACE Coordinators and their team practitioners interpret and enact relevant policy in their day to day work. Research findings include: The LACE team relationships with young people being described by workers were typically in administrative and procedural terms; LACE practitioners’ support typically lasts for an hour, once a week, and which was described by some young people as of welcome but limited value. Thus, the perennial discourse of ‘low attainment’ that surrounds looked-after children might be more aptly be re-cast as ‘low investment’ by the state, national and local; LACE practitioners’ described their work practice as a specialist knowledge area, but also disclosed how their knowledge and expertise was often undervalued or rejected by other external practitioners; young people’s identities appeared to be fashioned, by LACE practitioners, through occupational assumptions derived from a broader public welfare child discourse. In contrast the young people’s own identities did not coalesce with the perceptions of LACE practitioners. Instead, their comments indicated a more ‘normalised’, non-stigmatised, and pragmatic but also care (as affect) related sense of self. The thesis has argued that there needs to be a new framework that unites the way workers understand looked-after children and the relationships that will optimise meaningful achievement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 April 2017
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 16:32

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