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Title: Investigating key factors in the educational success of children in public care using a risk and resilience framework
Author: Birch, Susan Selby
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Why young people in care do so badly in school has been researched most recently by the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU, 2003) and difficulties within the care system, education and the young people themselves have been highlighted. Jackson and Martin (1998) linked the field of resilience with young people in care and drew upon the experiences of successful care leavers to highlight the strengths that they had developed to cope and to succeed despite early disadvantage. The research outlined within this thesis draws upon their work, looking for risk and protective factors within the lives of young people in care within a shire authority in England. The research consists of three studies. Study 1 pilots parallel questionnaires about young people, Study 2 involves interviewing young people and analysing transcripts qualitatively to identify themes and Study 3 analyses quantitative data from the questionnaires and interview transcripts (from Study 2). In line with the work of Jackson and Martin (1998), results indicated that all of the young people had similar numbers of risk and protective factors in their lives. Less of the 'successful group' had experienced adequate parental care within the pre-care environment although they were found to be more likely to be engaged in other activities in school. There was a trend for the successful young people to have more internal loci of control. 'Coherence' was identified as a robust theme - the importance of young people knowing and understanding their own life story. The young people described their school experiences and support for learning within their care environments as positive. Issues about peer attitudes to care, bullying and friendships were also explored. Finally the research was viewed within the context of "Every Child Matters" (2003) in terms of implications for future research and for practice. Possible roles for EPs are explored. Difficulties encountered are discussed in relation to the construct of resilience and the research design of the studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available