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Title: Using grounded theory to establish the views of Looked After Children, specifically around their experiences in the education system
Author: Baker, Stephanie Geraldine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 1120
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2009
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The focus of this study is Looked After Children and their experiences and perceptions of school. Its focus is the views of the Looked After Child, their perceptions, their experiences as well as those key adults around the children such as carers and teachers. It investigates the views of Looked After Children and the views or labels that the adults around these children use to describe them. The focus of the study emerged following a review of the literature around Looked After Children and their experiences in education. It was felt that there was a gap in the literature whereby the views of Looked After Children were rarely sought with researchers preferring to work with retrospective accounts of being in care or through working with adults around the child in care. The empirical stance of the study is interpretivist in nature while Grounded Theory was chosen as both process and analytical tool to interpret the thoughts and beliefs of the children and adult. The data is presented through a case study format. Therefore, an interpretative stance was taken using Grounded Theory to guide my work and semistructured interviews were used to gather information from ten participants (four children in care, three carers and three teachers). Key findings emerged as identity; the way the child viewed himself or herself and the identity that others 'gave' them due to their 'vulnerable' status. Other areas of importance emerged as friendships, behaviour and feelings, outside professional involvement, and relationships and avoidance techniques. The study concludes with emerging theory from the data which states that there is a tension between government and individual needs and wants, therefore highlighting the importance of the voice of the individual i.e. the child in care in this instance. The study opens with a definition of being a Looked After Child and moves onto an examination of social policy, the governmental context and historical aspects of care. Relevant literature is presented which provides a rich variety of ideas related to being a Looked After Child. In particular the literature review highlights the fact that there has been much research into the care of Looked After Children and the importance of their achievement within education (albeit within a quantitative context). The notion of the importance of social networks is also examined. Based on the conclusions of the research, a number of areas that may have implications for Educational Psychologists are discussed as suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Heslop, Pauline Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available