An Exploration of Pupil Voice Practice in a Virtual School, Using an Appreciative Inquiry Approach.

Prof Doc Thesis

Manktelow, C. 2023. An Exploration of Pupil Voice Practice in a Virtual School, Using an Appreciative Inquiry Approach. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsManktelow, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Virtual Schools are teams within the local authority, who advocate for education matters for children with a social worker (CWSW). These children historically experience significantly poorer educational outcomes than many other cohorts. A key part of the role of the Virtual School is to listen and act upon pupil views. This research is conducted through a positive psychology lens, adopting an ecosystemic approach to organisational change. The systematic literature review critically appraises current research across primary, secondary and specialist provisions, as well as professionals who support children and young people systemically. It revealed a distinct lack of research with Virtual Schools and how pupil views are acted upon. This research uses Appreciative Inquiry (AI) within a qualitative methodology to explore how a Virtual School team conceptualise, obtain, and hear pupils’ views. It also evaluates the usefulness of using AI as a tool for promoting change within a team in a local authority. The research involved team members of a Virtual School interviewing each other to explore pupil voice, then taking part in a focus group to make an action plan for the team to further develop their pupil voice practice. Through the AI process, the research identified how the Virtual School work systemically to hear pupil views and how they support other professionals. The data was analysed using Thematic Analysis (TA). The findings were applied to eco systemic theory, highlighting how the role of the Virtual School permeates each system around the child. Key findings were around the importance of sharing practice; relationships; prioritising authenticity; the power of systemic working. Some barriers were also highlighted by the team. The team found the experience to be beneficial and wished for more time on the project with further opportunities to share practice. The thesis concludes presenting implications of the findings for future practice for Educational Psychologists who work with Virtual Schools and vulnerable children. It also reflects on the researcher’s journey and directions for further research.

Keywordsvirtual school ; pupil voice; child voice; pupil views; looked-after children; Appreciative Inquiry Organisation Chane
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Online31 Oct 2023
Publication process dates
Completed11 Jul 2023
Deposited31 Oct 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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