“Rat race innit” An exploration of young people’s experiences attending Foundation Learning in the context of the Raising Participation Age agenda.
From September 2015, the Raising Participation Age Agenda (RPA) states that all young
people in England will have a duty to remain in education or training until the age of
eighteen. This study examines the rationale underpinning the agenda and the extent to
which it is aligned with neoliberal values, problematizing young people as individually
responsible for their inability to succeed in the market. This empirical study explores the
RPA specifically in Foundation Learning (FL), targeted towards young people who follow a
personalised programme of vocational qualifications and functional skills. The results of a
focus group with young people exploring their experiences on FL are presented, alongside
their views on the current landscape of opportunities for young people. The findings show
that reforms to FL alongside funding reductions may change the nature of the provision,
with an academic focus on GCSE attainment and a lack of access to quality information,
advice and guidance. Young people who access this route may further disengage with
education and have their options limited by the RPA. This study analyses theories of social
justice and social capital related to the application of the RPA, concluding that the RPA will
continue to reproduce inequalities and place young people following this educational route
at a disadvantage.
An exploration of the emotional health and well-being of severely dyslexic children in mainstream primary school and the role of teachers in supporting them.
Through Biographical Narrative Interpretive interviews with two parents of severely dyslexic children, this dissertation aims to uncover the factors, other than lack of resources in education, that influence the experiences of severely dyslexic children in mainstream primary school. The use of an interpretive panel comprising specialists and non-specialists has allowed for a deeper interpretation of the parent’s narratives and for the views of teachers to be taken into account, and a reflexive approach has enabled the researcher to introduce her own personal story and motivation for writing the dissertation. This research demonstrates that lack of teacher training in special educational needs significantly effects how severely dyslexic children experience mainstream school in terms of the likelihood of getting an early diagnosis, individualised intervention and understanding of their difficulties. However, the dissertation asserts that there are things that teachers can do, even without resources and training, such as learning how to identify children at risk of reading failure at an early age, adopting an inclusive approach in the classroom, responding to children who develop low self-esteem, valuing and celebrating non-academic competences and strengths, encouraging children to participate in decisions around their learning difficulties and recognising and harnessing the knowledge and energy of parents to work towards what is best for the child.
An exploration of the motivation for change to cultural and community practices that conflict with safeguarding children law in the UK
Cultural practices are interpreted within the cultural contexts they occur, where they play an important role in defining and affirming social identity and community cohesion. However, some cultural practices have become the object of criticism, on the grounds that they present human rights and child safeguarding issues. The effects of migration and the process of acculturation on cultural values and cultural practices is an area of study that becomes more relevant in an increasingly globalised world. This literature review highlights the dilemmas faced by migrant parents when cultural practices conflict with a safeguarding children culture and laws which reflect this culture. Parental decisions to discontinue these practices are examined in relation to what is known about the psychological, sociocultural and economic factors that impact on families’ experiences of migration to the UK. Children’s ability to balance societal values with opposing family or community values is considered in relation to the role that children and young people play in shaping family and community attitudes towards cultural practices which conflict with child safeguarding law in the UK.
Keywords: Cultural Practices, FGM, Safeguarding Children, Immigration Policy, Parental Motivation for Change.
Vulnerability of the Girl Child to Rape in India: A Socio-Cultural Study
Rape in India is an issue of foremost concern for young girls who live in conditions of extreme vulnerability and lack of safety. Due to the high statistical occurrence and complex nature of such cases, the root causes of these vulnerabilities often go unaddressed. This research project is the examination of the circumstances which render a girl child vulnerable to rape in India. It is hypothesized that the vulnerability of a girl child to rape in India is a shaped by strong societal and cultural forces. It is an interdisciplinary and child-focused study through a discussion of the social, cultural, economic and structural influences which lead to the vulnerability of the girl child to rape in India. Qualitative research on existing secondary data and case studies are used to study the nature and implications of these influences. Potential support and interventions through awareness child participation are also briefly discussed.
Key words: India, girl, child, rape, structural violence, caste system
Conceptualising Transitions to Adulthood for Young People with Learning Disabilities
Through semi-structured interviews with young people with learning disabilities (LD), this project addresses the complex nature of transitions to adulthood, and how this process can be aided by leisure activities and explored through personal areas of competence. The young people interviewed were active in an advocacy and volunteering group at Mencap, a UK-based learning disabilities charity. By participating in this group, the young people acquired skills that allowed them to access independence, autonomy and confidence. The interviews explored the development of these skills and the role Mencap played in their formation, as each of the young people discussed areas of competence improved upon by their engagement in Mencap’s services. The different leisure activities they most passionately discussed corresponded to fields of competence, success and growth, which benefited their transitions and guided their development as ‘emerging adults’ (Arnett, 2000).
A Day in the Life: An Exploration of Young Asylum Seekers’ and Refugees’ Perceptions of Self and Identity.
Drawing on theories of identity, youth and childhood, this paper aims to explore the experiences of young asylum seekers and refugees in the UK in relation to identity and perceptions of self. The paper focuses on the dominant societal perceptions of this group, and aims to challenge and explore their meanings. This is achieved through an ethnographically based research project within a small community befriending group in the town of Basildon on Sea. The paper draws on key themes within the young peoples’ lives, using existing literature and theories as a basis for discussions of identity, welfare and belonging. The research reveals a sense of resilience within the young people, in contrast to stereotypical perceptions within society. Significantly it offers important contributions to discussions of young migrants’ contribution and role within society, challenging common stereotypes of ‘economic migrants’.
The interaction between cultural mechanisms for child protection and formal child protection systems: Case studies from Somali communities
This dissertation presents research findings on child protection mechanisms in the Somali culture. Findings are analysed in relation to theories of childhood, rights and culture, and in light of current debate within the international humanitarian sector on strengthening national child protection systems. Conclusions are drawn regarding the implications of the findings for strengthening the child protection system in semiautonomous Somaliland and in Somalia once the country stabilizes. Consideration is made of the benefits and challenges of incorporating cultural mechanisms into formal systems of child protection. While some practices in the Somali culture are inherently harmful, particularly female genital mutilation, the clan system, religious education and traditional dispute resolution methods can constitute effective mechanisms for child protection in the absence of a functioning national system. If approached sensitively these mechanisms could be modified to respect universal standards of child rights and comprise part of a functioning and accepted national child protection system.