Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/1838

Appears in Collections:School of Education eTheses
Title: At school with looked after children : a study of the views of children in public care
Authors: McKay, Ralston William
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis is concerned with the education of children in care. Its analytic focus is on ways in which children in public care are and have been constructed by knowledge and policies that are embedded in the discourses that surround them. A literature review of empirical research conducted in the UK concludes that the dominant research strands and epistemologic studies in this area have failed to allow foregrounding and exploration of children's own accounts of their experiences at school as children in care. Other literature concerning policy and historical contexts is considered within subsequent analytic chapters where a Foucauldian approach is adopted. The empirical work reported is of the content of interviews conducted in schools with 27 children and young people who were in foster care. A Foucauldian perspective allows consideration of the fashion whereby practices of surveillance and "the gaze" construct children by adults. The children's accounts are foregrounded in the data chapters where, firstly, their experiences of adults are explicated in terms of the three mechanisms of surveillance that Foucault identified. Adults' writings about the children, particularly within Records of Needs that had been opened to delineate the special educational needs of some of the children, are described and the fashions whereby these too construct the children, often negatively, are exposed. A sometimes overpowering sense of public intrusion into the children's private lives permeated their accounts but the final data chapter considers the ways they utilised their own agency sometimes as a struggle to resist the markers of difference experienced. Here again their own stories are given prominence. The implications of these accounts lead to suggestions about how changes to adults' practices in their dealings with children in care could be introduced in a range of settings including schools, the meetings held about children and educational psychologists' activities where, fundamentally, a need for adults to display more genuine respect to children and young people is required.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/1838
Affiliation: School of Education

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