From September 2012 until July 2013 I interviewed thirty five students in year 10 and 11 (15 and 16 years old) at an Alternative Provision. All the students had been excluded from secondary school (or given a managed move) because of displaying behavioural difficulties in school. Each interview lasted between 30-45 minutes.
In order to explore how narrative work with students may be conducted I also worked with four teachers and one learning mentor in two Pupil Referral Units in London to pilot narrative and solution focused interventions with individual pupils. Participants received eight hours of training in how to conduct Narrative and Solution Focused interventions with adolescents in November/ December 2013. Then each teacher/mentor conducted narrative and solution focused interventions with individual pupils from February to June 2014. During the intervention I also held regular group meetings with the participants to address challenging issues, share good practice and review progress.
With the support of(the organisation for educationalists working in PRU and alternative provision) I was able to hold three advisory group meetings with headteachers, senior staff and an academic colleague who had extensive experience of working with adolescents excluded from school. These meeting took place in March, June and July 2014. The purpose of meeting with staff well-versed in working with excluded students was to obtain their views on the findings obtained from the student interviews and to consider how these findings may be useful for future work with students attending Alternative Provision.
Factual information about the students who took part in the interviews:
• 15 girls and 20 boys;
• 14 adolescents aged 15 and 21 adolescents aged 16;
• 9 students lived with both parents, 23 with their mother, two with their grandmother and 1 with her father (74% living with single parent/guardian). In 4 cases the adolescent who lived with their mother also reported having regular weekly contact with their biological father. They considered their father to be very much involved in their upbringing.
• Out of the 35 students who took part 66% (23 students) were from low income families. The national average of children from low income families attending school is 28.2%.
• The sample of 35 students included 19 White-British, 8 Black-British, 2 Asian-British, 3 Asian (Middle-East), 2 Asian/British, and 1 North African student. Two of the students who took part in the study came to England when they were of primary school age all the other students were born in the United Kingdom.
Please follow the following links for a summary of students narrative and the section on the Findings and Final Report.