Using a realistic evaluation approach to explore how alternative education programs support children who are at risk of school exclusion to remain in mainstream education
Author(s)Birch, Jennifer Ann
KeywordsLB Theory and practice of education
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AbstractThe research uses a Realistic Evaluation approach (Pawson and Tilley, 1997) to begin to identify and refine shared programme theories that underpin alternative education programmes (AEPs) that support children who are at risk of school exclusion to remain in mainstream school. A Realist Synthesis (Pawson, 2006) of the relevant literature begins to identify programme theories underpinning the AEPs’ approach. Realist interviews (Pawson and Tilley, 1997) with a range of stakeholders, including education practitioners, children and a parent who have experience of one Local Authority AEP, are used to refine the programme theories identified. Supportive programme outcomes included: increasing parental engagement, promoting an effective school environment and promoting skills and resilience in the young person. Programme context conditions and mechanisms are identified as promoting the achievement of these outcomes. The bio-ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner, 2005) provided a model that located one potential analytic framework which identifies the purpose of the programme as ‘facilitating change in the child’s ecological context systems to enable a more supportive environment for reintegration’. These embryonic programme theories and the RE approach are discussed in light of how they can enable practitioners to develop a clearer understanding of how AEPs, and other education programmes, can effectively support children.
Birch, Jennifer Ann (2015) Using a realistic evaluation approach to explore how alternative education programs support children who are at risk of school exclusion to remain in mainstream education. Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.