An Appreciative Inquiry of Factors Within a Primary School that are Perceived to Support Children Who Are ‘At Risk’ of Exclusion

Prof Doc Thesis

Herbert, A. 2021. An Appreciative Inquiry of Factors Within a Primary School that are Perceived to Support Children Who Are ‘At Risk’ of Exclusion. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsHerbert, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research is set in a time where ‘exclusion’ is still deemed an acceptable response to children who need empathy, support and understanding. Within this context, this research seeks to not only embrace positive psychology, adopting a solution-focused approach, but places social justice at its core, fully embracing the rights and views of the child. The systematic literature review conducted highlighted research on secondary schools’ exclusions and pupil referral units (PRUS) primarily after the exclusion had taken place focused on a ‘problem saturated’ narrative. The review therefore revealed a distinct lack of research focusing on preventative measures and how such measures can be employed within a primary school setting. Accordingly, this research uses Appreciative Inquiry (AI) within qualitative methodology to explore how factors within a mainstream primary school enable success for children who are at risk of exclusion (or have experienced fixed-term exclusion), according to the views of children, parents and staff. The research incorporates experiences of four children in KS2 who are at risk of exclusion, four parents/carers of those children and four members of staff within one primary school. Through the AI, underpinned by the ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1992), the research identified a number of inter-related factors within the child’s environment, which were perceived to work to prevent exclusion. The data was analysed using deductive Thematic Analysis (TA). The findings were applied to eco-systemic theory highlighting the complex interacting systems around the child working together to prevent exclusion. These include a nurturing school ethos, a restorative approach to behaviour, a learning environment to support emotional regulation and - perhaps most crucially - the importance of relationships. The thesis concludes by reflecting on the researcher’s journey and the implications of these findings to inform future practice for Educational Psychologists when working with children who are ‘at risk’ of exclusion, with an aim to contribute to better outcomes.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Online22 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
SubmittedApr 2021
Deposited22 Sep 2021
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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