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Title: The needs and experiences of young people from care backgrounds in further education colleges
Author: Grimes, Sacha
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 2755
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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For young people from care backgrounds, the transition to college coincides with the transition to independence whereby they are expected to learn the skills needed for adult life against a backdrop of challenging life circumstances. Educational psychologists (EPs) are increasingly finding themselves working within further education (FE) and therefore have a role to play in supporting this group of young people. This research aimed to identify the needs of young people from care backgrounds, what colleges are doing to support them, how this support is experienced and the potential role for EPs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 college professionals from two colleges, one virtual school head and ten young people from a care background attending college, one of whom had withdrawn from college. Thematic analysis was used to highlight patterns within the data set. Findings highlight the needs of young people from care backgrounds including; specialised information from discreet services, quality student-professional relationships, supportive peer-networks, flexible boundaries, multiple chances to succeed and support managing daily routines. A lack of homogeneity was found particularly with regards to the differing needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking minors, demonstrating a need for individualised assessment and tailored support. A variety of formal systems appeared to be in place to support students including a designated teacher and the development of enhanced communication systems with virtual schools to aid better identification of students. EPs appeared to be a relatively scarce resource and limited to statutory work. This research has implications for EPs, highlighting a need for them to be more involved in supporting transition and promoting well-being for students from care backgrounds in colleges. It also encourages colleges to reflect on what they are doing to support this group of young people and identifies an acute need for statutory guidance targeted at the sector.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available