Person Centred Planning 'in action': exploring with young people their views and experiences of education and the use of Person Centred Planning in supporting transition and re-integration to mainstream settings.
Date: 28 May 2013
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
DEdPsy in Educational Child and Community Psychology
This research embraces an eco-systemic perspective of human behaviour (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and uses participatory action research methodology to explore with young people, and those 'immersed in the system' (Carr & Kemmis, 1986) of education, their views and school experiences, to facilitate increased participation, empowerment and ...
This research embraces an eco-systemic perspective of human behaviour (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and uses participatory action research methodology to explore with young people, and those 'immersed in the system' (Carr & Kemmis, 1986) of education, their views and school experiences, to facilitate increased participation, empowerment and professional collaboration to support future school transitions. This study has been carried out in the South-West of England (inner-city and suburban areas), involving young people and their families, schools, alternative placement providers and multi-agency professionals. The following research aims were addressed: 1) To improve our understanding of the views and perspective of young people who have experienced school exclusion. 2) To explore multiple stakeholder perspectives of using a person-centred planning (PCP) approach to support school transition/re-integration and the perceived ‘supports' and 'barriers’ to implementation. 3) To explore the use of PCP in supporting positive outcomes for young people, 'post transition/re-integration' to mainstream school. 4) To consider the implications for future practice and research. This was a two part study, consisting of two research papers. The participants in paper one of the study were young people (N=12) identified by their settings as having experienced prior school exclusion, with an impending transition (or re-integration) to mainstream education. Paper one explored young people’s perspective to better understand the supports and barriers that have impacted upon their educational journeys, what they attribute as causes for their school exclusion and what they believe will help them in their future. A person-centred planning approach informed the data gathering process (Smull, Sanderson, Sweeney, Skelhorn, George & Bourne, 2005) and semi-structured interviews were analysed using thematic analysis based on Braun and Clarke’s (2006) framework. The individual interviews explored 'with' each young person, their views and perspective, and contributed towards the 'preparing to plan' stage of Person Centred Planning (PCP) being implemented in paper two. Paper two explored the use of Person Centred Planning (PCP) in supporting young people (N=6) in their school transition/re-integration to mainstream education. This involved young people from study one and a range of stakeholders including their family, friends, school/placement staff and multi-agency professionals. This focussed on exploring multiple stakeholder experiences of the ‘supports' and 'barriers’ of using a PCP approach in 'real life' practice. It also explored perceptions of the impact and efficacy of the approach over time in supporting young people across key outcome areas, 'post' transition/re-integration. Findings from paper one indicated young people's capacity to express themselves clearly and reflect meaningfully upon their educational journeys. Each young person made their own decision as to how they would participate and contribute their views and how the information would be used. Key findings indicated a range of perceived 'supports' and 'barriers' that young people identified as having impacted upon them. These encompassed the systems of school, family and community and, consistent with existing research, highlighted the significance of positive and caring relationships, access to help and support and experiencing a sense of belonging (Lown, 2005; Mainwaring & Hallam, 2010; O'Connor, Hodkinson, Burton & Torstensson, 2011).Young people's causal attributions referred to negative teacher relationships, peer bullying, rejection and perceived injustice. A distinct finding from this study referred to young people's sense of isolation when they felt that help was being denied at a time when they were experiencing negativity across the contexts of family, school and community. Young people referred to not feeling understood and supported and reflected upon this impacting on their behaviour in school. Findings also indicated that whole school behavioural systems posed a barrier to young people being able to access the help and support of key adults they had identified and to their inclusion in the wider school community. Findings from paper two indicated positive support from all stakeholder groups that PCP enabled the young person to be fully involved in their transition planning, facilitating a positive ethos that embraced equality and collaboration. Exploration of stakeholder views highlighted some negative reflections on the use of PCP, particularly in relation to its 'time consuming' nature and a range of key factors were identified as supportive and/or obstructive to implementing PCP in practice. When exploring perceptions of impact and efficacy over time, there were clear indications of positive development for each young person across key outcome areas. The majority of positive reflections were consistent across stakeholders groups and related to increased school attendance, improved emotional understanding, social interaction and academic progress. All individual targets were reviewed 'post transition/re-integration' and were deemed to have 'met' or 'exceeded' the expected levels. Furthermore, there have been clear references to changes made at a systems and environmental level that have underpinned these positive changes and emphasised the role that others play as ‘agents of change’ (Fielding, 2001). These findings have been assimilated and the implications for educational psychology practice and research considered.
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