Corporate parenting: the contribution of designated teachers

Higgs, Jacqueline (2006). Corporate parenting: the contribution of designated teachers. EdD thesis The Open University.



This thesis explores issues concerning the education of young people in public care and some of the national initiatives that have been introduced to redress the difficulties experienced by this group; issues are within the broad area of social inclusion.

The research was designed to explore the impact of the introduction of the designated teacher role in a small sample of schools in one authority (Shiretown) and the contribution of the role to corporate parenting of young people who are looked after. It was a study over two and a half years, employing case study methodology.

There is a review of the relevant literature on the education of children in public care, multi-agency working, attachment and resilience theories, the roles of the school and teachers and alternative educational provision at Key Stage 4. Following this, data are presented from initial interviews with designated teachers in a small sample of secondary schools within one local education authority and from an initial survey of social workers with whom these teachers might be working. Case studies are reported, together with contextual details, to identify examples of effective collaboration or non-collaboration between Social Services and schools, focusing on the role of the designated teacher. This is examined alongside quantitative data in the form of GCSE/SATs results, as required by the Government, to indicate improvement in the educational experience of looked after children. Data are presented from interviews with a sample of young people in the schools in the study to gain their perceptions of the impact of the contribution of those involved in corporate parenting to their educational experiences.

At the end of the study period, designated teachers and social workers were again interviewed and data are presented to demonstrate changes in perceptions and practice, as a result of the introduction of the initiatives to improve the educational experiences and attainment of looked after children. Following a thorough analysis of the findings, recommendations are made for effecting further improvement and areas of further research.

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