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Title: Protecting oneself from emotional discomfort or harm : a Classic Grounded Theory study of how anxious pupils cope in mainstream education
Author: Gray, Eleanor Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 4593
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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The Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision (Department of Health & Department for Education, 2017), the media (BBC, 2020; Busby, 2018; Campbell, 2018; Weale, 2019, April) and anecdotal evidence, indicate increasing concerns about the emotional wellbeing or ‘mental health’ of children and young people in UK schools. Another current issue relates to competing government policies, regarding inclusion and educational achievement, and the impact of these on the inclusive practices of schools (Daniels et al., 2019). The present research links together the two, with a focus on anxious pupils’ experiences of mainstream education. Classic Grounded Theory methodology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was utilised to explore the main concern of anxious pupils currently accessing medical education provision; having previously received their education in mainstream schools. The research presents a substantive grounded theory to explain pupils’ main concern: trying to cope in mainstream education. The core category that explains how pupils manage this concern is protecting oneself from emotional discomfort or harm. Pupils protect themselves through engaging in three strategies: Trying to Fit In; Rejecting School; and Avoiding and Escaping Stressors. The substantive theory further explicates how the School System Conditional Factors of Knowing the Environment: Enhancing Predictability; School Ethos; and Developing Positive Relationships, impact upon anxious pupils’ ability to cope in mainstream education and whether they need to utilise the aforementioned strategies to protect themselves from emotional discomfort or harm. The substantive theory also presents the consequential concept of Being ‘Forced Out’ of mainstream education and an overarching concept of Experiencing a Sense of Injustice, which reflects how pupils feel whilst trying to cope in mainstream education and if they are eventually ‘forced out’. The implications of the substantive theory for Educational Psychology practice are discussed, alongside limitations of the research and considerations for potential future research.
Supervisor: Hughes, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.C.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available