Exploring the Experiences of Excluded Pupils
: A Case Study at a Primary Pupil Referral Unit

  • Claire Jarvis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)

Abstract

Within UK primary schools in the academic year 2016/17 there were 1255 permanent exclusions and 64,340 fixed-term exclusions (DfE, 2018). The rate of exclusion has been steadily rising over previous years and has been an issue of concern since a dramatic rise during the 1990’s (Vulliamy & Webb, 2000). There is limited research on the experiences of primary aged pupils regarding exclusion, and this small-scale study aimed to address a gap within the literature. This research uses a case study approach to develop an understanding of the experiences of exclusion and valued support from the perspectives of eight male pupils attending a primary Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). Seven of these pupils had been permanently excluded from their mainstream settings and one pupil was attending the PRU as part of a six-week behaviour course due to being at risk of exclusion from his mainstream school. Pupils took part in semi-structured interviews to elicit their previous experiences of education and exclusion. Their views on what support they had found helpful and what further support they would have valued were discussed. Data was analysed using Thematic Analysis and findings were presented as key themes that arose from hearing the experiences of the children: ‘treatment‘, ‘school environment’ and ‘relationships’. The study highlighted that pupils had felt unsupported and unfairly treated within the primary settings they had been excluded from or were at risk of exclusion from. Findings from this study have influenced the creation of a tool for school staff and professionals to use when assessing the support for pupils who are at risk of exclusion, to highlight where there are gaps in the current support for these pupils. This is based on the experiences of the children within this case study and surrounding literature on school exclusion.
Date of Award6 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJohn Franey (Supervisor)

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