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How professionals support the education of care experienced children in England, including those on the Autism Spectrum

How professionals support the education of care experienced children in England, including those on the Autism Spectrum
How professionals support the education of care experienced children in England, including those on the Autism Spectrum
This thesis contributes to the growing literature around how educational professionals support care experienced children and young people in England, including those on the autism spectrum. There is a long history of care experienced children underachieving compared to their peers. Government policies and initiatives have been put in place in England to improve outcomes, and my thesis focused on two statutory initiatives: the designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children, and the Virtual School model. A systematic literature review was conducted to explore how the Virtual School promotes multi-agency working to improve outcomes for looked after children. In total, 13 articles were included for review. The findings highlighted that multi-agency working is central to the operation of the Virtual School, who support both academic and non-academic outcomes through training, information-sharing, attendance at multi-agency meetings, contributing towards statutory processes, holding schools accountable for children’s educational progress, working to reduce exclusions, and funding additional interventions. The literature review also highlighted barriers to effective multi-agency working, such as poor communication between professionals, lack of role fulfilment, and working relationships with looked after children. The findings were discussed in relation to the three principles outlined by Atkinson and colleagues in 2007. The empirical research paper focused on the role of designated teachers. Autistic care experienced children are likely to have particularly poor outcomes within this already vulnerable population, so my research had an additional focus on designated teachers’ experiences of supporting this group of learners. Various facilitators and barriers to role fulfilment were identified by the designated teachers, including multi-agency working and the impact of competing roles and responsibilities. None of the participants reported experiences of supporting a looked after or previously looked after child with a formal diagnosis of autism. Participants were generally confident in their abilities to support this unique population of learners, but identified potential challenges, such as difficulty differentiating between autism and attachment needs. Taken together, the systematic literature review and the empirical research paper identified implications for a range of educational professionals, and also highlighted a number of prime areas for future research.
Kew words: Virtual School; designated teacher; looked after; care experienced; autism; attachment
University of Southampton
De La Fosse, Lynn Catherine
0b343af5-f793-421b-8d5c-eb6b02e51b07
De La Fosse, Lynn Catherine
0b343af5-f793-421b-8d5c-eb6b02e51b07
Kovshoff, Hanna
82c321ee-d151-40c5-8dde-281af59f2142
Parsons, Sarah
5af3382f-cda3-489c-a336-9604f3c04d7d

De La Fosse, Lynn Catherine (2022) How professionals support the education of care experienced children in England, including those on the Autism Spectrum. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 120pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis contributes to the growing literature around how educational professionals support care experienced children and young people in England, including those on the autism spectrum. There is a long history of care experienced children underachieving compared to their peers. Government policies and initiatives have been put in place in England to improve outcomes, and my thesis focused on two statutory initiatives: the designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children, and the Virtual School model. A systematic literature review was conducted to explore how the Virtual School promotes multi-agency working to improve outcomes for looked after children. In total, 13 articles were included for review. The findings highlighted that multi-agency working is central to the operation of the Virtual School, who support both academic and non-academic outcomes through training, information-sharing, attendance at multi-agency meetings, contributing towards statutory processes, holding schools accountable for children’s educational progress, working to reduce exclusions, and funding additional interventions. The literature review also highlighted barriers to effective multi-agency working, such as poor communication between professionals, lack of role fulfilment, and working relationships with looked after children. The findings were discussed in relation to the three principles outlined by Atkinson and colleagues in 2007. The empirical research paper focused on the role of designated teachers. Autistic care experienced children are likely to have particularly poor outcomes within this already vulnerable population, so my research had an additional focus on designated teachers’ experiences of supporting this group of learners. Various facilitators and barriers to role fulfilment were identified by the designated teachers, including multi-agency working and the impact of competing roles and responsibilities. None of the participants reported experiences of supporting a looked after or previously looked after child with a formal diagnosis of autism. Participants were generally confident in their abilities to support this unique population of learners, but identified potential challenges, such as difficulty differentiating between autism and attachment needs. Taken together, the systematic literature review and the empirical research paper identified implications for a range of educational professionals, and also highlighted a number of prime areas for future research.
Kew words: Virtual School; designated teacher; looked after; care experienced; autism; attachment

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More information

Published date: 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 468543
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/468543
PURE UUID: 88aaced1-144c-41bb-b3e8-3230a6f9bae0
ORCID for Hanna Kovshoff: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6041-0376
ORCID for Sarah Parsons: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2542-4745

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Aug 2022 17:14
Last modified: 18 Aug 2022 01:42

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Contributors

Author: Lynn Catherine De La Fosse
Thesis advisor: Hanna Kovshoff ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Sarah Parsons ORCID iD

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