Managing behaviour in mainstream schools : changing the culture
The thesis investigates support for schools' management of children's behaviour. The focus for the research is the work of the Northern Area Education Support Service (NAESS, the service) with around a hundred schools. The research is conducted along two lines of enquiry reflecting the outcomes of and the processes underlying the work of NAESS. It is established that NAESS approaches, based on behavioural psychology, achieve the primary aim of maintaining children's education in mainstream schools, and to an unprecedented degree. In relation to the service making equitable allocation of resources the findings are more equivocal. In the study of the interaction between NAESS and service users the aforementioned aims and, additionally, aims relating to the involvement of service users with work undertaken and to the optimisation of the use of service resources, continue to drive the research. Service delivery by NAESS is construed in terms of the full range of factors influencing outcomes, and considered under the headings of eight broad issues. Thus NAESS is enabled to manage the dynamic complexity of the interactions within its work. This management of the issues is seen as crucial to the achievement of service aims. However, by exercising strong management over the issues NAESS appears to exclude users from full involvement with the development of the strategies they implement. Such exclusion has implications for the extent to which NAESS can enable schools to develop their approaches to behaviour management. That is, NAESS is able to contribute, even indirectly, to a process of cultural change, including the development of new approaches to behaviour management in schools. However, it appears that a point of equilibrium is reached whereby schools become dependent on the service they receive and which prevents further development of their approaches.