Abstract‘Reintegration’ has been used to describe the efforts to support pupils on their full-time return to mainstream or specialist provision, following exclusion from school. Statistics published by the Department for Education indicate an increase in exclusion rates across all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools from 2014/15 to 2015/16 (DfE, 2017). Consequently, the topic of positive reintegration experiences is a pertinent issue within education. Secondary school pupils, their parents/carers and educational practitioner views have been the main focus of existing literature concerning school exclusion and reintegration. A lack of research regarding reintegration into provision other than mainstream settings was also identified.
This study aimed to address such gaps in the literature by using the ‘Write, Draw, Show and Tell’ (WDST) creative method (Noonan et al, 2016), to explore primary aged pupil’s perceptions of reintegration into mainstream or specialist provision, including support they felt would be beneficial.
Eight male pupils aged 7-11 from two separate Local Authority Pupil Referral Units took part in an ice-breaker and drawing activity, followed by a semi-structured interview. Data from these multiple sources was triangulated and analysed according to Braun and Clarke’s (2006) stages of thematic analysis. This indicated five themes related to participant’s anticipated and actual experience of reintegration, as well as what contributed to positive reintegration experiences from their perspectives. It was concluded that reintegration experiences were impacted on by participant’s levels of self-awareness and perceptions of a new beginning. Specific concerns related to reintegration were dominated by thoughts concerning a sense of belonging and to feel fully included within their receiving settings. Factors perceived to support reintegration included; relationships and support provided through friendships, family members and teaching staff, the school environment and procedural factors as part of the reintegration process.
Findings were discussed in relation to the existing literature and through the lens of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) eco-systemic perspective and social model of disability. Consideration was given to participant’s level of involvement in decision-making and the extent to which their voice was present during their reintegration. Implications for school staff and Educational Psychologists as a means to further support reintegration processes were provided. This included a focus on the methods by which children and young people’s views were elicited and through the development of a proposed checklist to support reintegration planning. Strengths and limitations of this study, alongside possible directions for future research were proposed.
|Date of Award||23 Jan 2019|
|Supervisor||Rob Green (Supervisor) & Sandra Dowling (Supervisor)|