An investigation into the training needs of school staff in relation to their understanding about children who are looked after by social care.

Prof Doc Thesis

Grant, Joanna 2009. An investigation into the training needs of school staff in relation to their understanding about children who are looked after by social care. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsGrant, Joanna
TypeProf Doc Thesis

An examination into the training needs of school staff in relation to their
knowledge and skills about children who are looked after by Social Care.
There have been many studies and reports highlighting the disadvantage and
poor educational outcomes experienced by young people who are looked after
by the care system. Many government documents have emphasised the need
to raise the educational attainment of this vulnerable group of young people.
Little evidence was found which established the experiences and needs of
professionals in relation to being able to confidently support young people who
are in care.
This study investigated the training needs of school staff who do already, or
could one day, work with and support a child who is looked after (CLA). The
study considered individual constructs which professionals hold, establishing
their perceptions, beliefs and opinions about their expertise and the educational
experiences of CLA. This research identified gaps in pedagogical knowledge
and expertise as noted by school staff themselves, Social Workers (SWs) and
Designated Teachers (DTs). The term school staff includes teachers, Learning
Support Assistants (LSAs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs).
This research differs from other studies due to the methodological approach
used and the participants consulted. The study involved a mixed methodological
approach to establish, in detail, the views of professionals who work with CLA.
Questionnaires were sent to school staff and this resulted in mostly quantitative
data being produced. Semi-Structured Interviews (SSIs) were conducted with
SWs and DTs resulting in qualitative data. The mixed methods approach
combined what Greene, Caracelli and Graham (1989) described as
Triangulation' and 'Complementarity' which enhance the validity and
interpretability of the constructs given by participants. The methods used were
chosen as they enabled overlapping (complementarity) and cross checking
(triangulation) assessment of the data collected. The study used Thematic Analysis (Braun and Clarke 2007) to analyse in detail
the transcripts from the SSIs. Thematic analysis enabled the creation and
application of codes to be gathered from the data. The notion of coding refers to
the creation of categories in relation to the rich data gathered. Coding enabled
the grouping together of different data under a universal heading.
The findings produced recommendations to enhance the knowledge and skills
of school staff who may already or could one day work with CLA. It has been
established that professionals feel there is a need for training/information to be
given to school staff as a tool to help overcome the gaps in pedagogical
knowledge which school staff themselves acknowledged are present (through
the completion of questionnaires). This study makes recommendations to
address the barriers which SWs and DTs face in relation to CLA and education.
The outcome from this research aimed to promote a wider understanding about
the needs of CLA by the highlighted pedagogical gaps being addressed. The
research is timely due to the statutory changes in relation to the role of the DT
becoming statutory in 2008. The outcome from this research has enabled
support for DTs and school staff by providing them with information and
resources to empower them with their work. This research has highlighted the
areas DTs need to ensure their school staff are familiar and confident with in
order to best support CLA and to help enhance the educational experiences for

Publication dates
PrintJun 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jun 2014
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