“So yes, you’ve battered me. Yes, you’ve hurt me. But you know what? I’m not giving up on you”: The experiences of Teaching Assistants supporting excluded children in alternative provisions

Danby, Hollie (2020) “So yes, you’ve battered me. Yes, you’ve hurt me. But you know what? I’m not giving up on you”: The experiences of Teaching Assistants supporting excluded children in alternative provisions. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

Alternative Provisions (APs) are under increasing pressure, the result of rising exclusions, increasing accountability measures and difficulties with recruitment and retention of educational staff. Described as challenging and emotionally demanding environments, staff within these settings are required to manage a range of diverse needs and complex behaviours. Whilst the significance of their role is emphasised from the level of the government to the Child and Young Person (CYP), a paucity of research exists exploring the experiences of those working within APs, particularly in relation to Teaching Assistants (TAs). Addressing a gap in the literature base, the current study aimed to explore the experiences of TAs supporting excluded CYP within APs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six TAs supporting excluded CYP within APs. Using an idiographic and interpretative method to explore lived experiences, the study adopted an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, resulting in the development of five overarching themes: ‘Relationships: a complex landscape’, ‘A juggling act: behaviour, need and strength from the team’, ‘A rocky road: highs, lows and a journey of development’, ‘Battles, clashes and superiority’ and ‘The journey towards a future’. Relational connections and disconnections co-existed alongside the strains of managing challenging behaviour and diversity of need, with TAs experiencing a range of emotive responses and personal change. Adding further complexity, were battles with mainstream schools and parents, with TAs striving to compensate, empower and promote positive change. Findings are discussed in relation to previous literature and psychological theory, with implications for AP settings, school staff and Educational Psychology practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Occupational Groups
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2399

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