Sign of the Times: Mapping adolescents' experiences of intervention strategies and cultures of othering in the management of behaviour in mainstream s

Lead Research Organisation: Manchester Metropolitan University
Department Name: Faculty of Education


The aim of this study is to understand the impact of austerity politics on inclusive provision in mainstream schools, particularly for the most vulnerable young people, already at-risk of exclusion. The study will address changes to education policy, reduced provision funding, and the privatization of support services, in order to understand how the landscape of support and intervention has changed for these students. In order to understand the deeper lived experiences of these young people, the study will be centrally located within the school environment, and the voices of students will be central to the research. This offers a unique methodical innovation, as the research will be co-produced alongside young people, instead of represented on their behalf by adults.
Research into this area is crucial and timely, as the government sets out its five year Future in Mind strategy to improve mental health provision for young people, with an increased emphasis on 'parity of esteem for physical and mental health' (DfE and DoH, 2017:3). Most recently, the DfE have released guidance on 'Mental Health and Behaviour in schools' that seeks to 'set out schools' roles and responsibilities' (2018:3) in this area, in advance of new Mental Health Support Teams being introduced in schools across England. This suggests an increased awareness of behaviour as communication within schools, and a new commitment to further support students' mental health needs. In recent times, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of students who are left without adequate provision; due to segregation, managed moves and exclusions from mainstream education.
Quality alternative provisions have the potential to offer targeted support and stability to the most vulnerable children and young people, but the quality of current options is under question. Since 2011 there has been a 10% increase in the amount of students attending alternative provisions who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) after leaving Key Stage 4 (IFF Research Ltd et al., 2018). As identified in the government's Green Paper on mental health provision for young people; adolescents who become NEET at a younger age, or for a prolonged period of time, are also pre-disposed to experience further mental health issues beyond adolescence and into adulthood (DfE and DoH, 2017:9). In addition, studies show that those who are NEET are more likely to experience the criminal justice system, and
other factors of social deprivation, such as homelessness (Youth Justice Board, 2005). Research into this topic will provide insight into how schools might seek to help disrupt the cyclical nature of poverty and social deprivation, by implementing early interventions, and effective mental health support. In turn, this support may spark a reduction in the number of students who are NEET after leaving KS4, thus improving personal, social and economic outcomes for young people.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000746/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2283685 Studentship ES/P000746/1 16/09/2019 01/10/2023 Adele Swingewood