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    Exploring Perspectives of School Refusal in Second-Level Education in Ireland

    Devenney, Roisin (2021) Exploring Perspectives of School Refusal in Second-Level Education in Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    School refusal can be a major source of chaos and distress for young people and their families, impeding young people’s social, academic and psychological development. International research has highlighted the short- and long-term consequences of school refusal to include economic hardship, unemployment, over reliance on welfare services, as well as mental health difficulties in later life (Havik et al., 2015; Kearney, 2008; Thambirajah et al., 2008). This research presents a unique conceptual framework drawing on the concepts of the Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF) (Johnstone & Boyle, 2018) and education theorists (Biesta, 2006; Freire, 1970) to open the discussion on school refusal and explore it in relation to power imbalances, personal meaning and the purposes of education. The overarching aim of this project is to explore the perspectives and experiences of education professionals, parents and young people in relation to school refusal in second-level schools in Ireland and how their experiences might inform more appropriate responses to school refusal. Employing a mixed method approach, this research includes four sequential studies: a survey to providing information on school refusal in second-level schools in Ireland (N=106), a follow up qualitative study exploring the perspectives of educators (N=17), a qualitative study to explore parents’ experiences, concerns and challenges in school refusal (N=10) and a narrative arts-based approach with young people (N=5). The findings of the research highlight the extent of emotional and psychological distress that accompanies school refusal. It was apparent that many young people who experience school refusal have prior exposure to developmental trauma, attachment disruption, and adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s). Others experienced distress and disillusionment within the current education system. The influence of family socioeconomic status, unequal access to support services and resources, pressures for academic achievement, conflictual relationships within the school and between home and school emerged from the findings. This research project provides grounds for challenging the wider issues of social injustice and educational policy, the need to reconnect with the goals and purpose of education, and the importance of trauma- and attachment-informed approaches to schools.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Exploring Perspectives; School Refusal; Second-Level Education; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 15687
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 15:33
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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