The Reintegration of Children Absent, Excluded or Missing from School
GHK Consulting, The Holden McAllister Partnership and IPSOS Public Affairs, Department for Education and Skills,
Local education authorities lack a single “blueprint” approach to getting children back into schools, with pupils with caring responsibilities being especially affected, according to Department for Education and Skills research.
Case study fieldwork revealed that local education authorities and schools took a range of approaches to reintegration including dedicated teams, off-site centres, pupil referral units, externally provided services, multi-agency planning and service provision, personal education plans and flexible approaches to timetables and curriculum. They also exploited a range of funding, including mainstream budgets and the vulnerable children grant.
While more co-ordinated approaches to reintegration are in place for permanently excluded pupils, pupils with medical needs and children in local authority care, the report highlights a lack of formal policy for the reintegration of young carers and those who have had an extended authorised absence from school such as a term-time holiday.
The report also highlights that schools can be reluctant or feel unable to accept pupils, especially where the pupil lacks parental or carer support, or if those involved in reintegration have unclear roles and communicate poorly.
It concludes that an environment of inclusion, commitment and appropriate resources is essential for successful reintegration.
An Evaluation of the Impact of Youth Work in England
B Merton et al, Youth Affairs Unit, De Montfort University, Leicester, Department for Education and Skills,
Two thirds of young people say that youth work has made a difference to their lives, but the youth service is still facing major problems, according to this report for the DfES.
A shortfall of trained staff was highlighted. England had an average ratio of one youth worker to 680 young people aged 13-19. This falls below the National Youth Agency recommendation of 1:400. A widespread lack of investment in training was revealed, with some youth workers lacking the skills and knowledge needed.
The report also suggests that focusing resources on targeted youth work, in accordance with national priorities, has been to the detriment of more universal or open access work. Just over half of councils achieved the recommended standard of 25 per cent “reach”. Youth services were also criticised for not systematically assessing local needs.
However, the report found substantial evidence of youth work that did achieve an impact by connecting young people to their communities and by developing their own personal and social skills.
Neighbourhood Influences on Adolescent Health in East London
S Curtis, J Fagg, S Stansfeld and P Congdon, Queen Mary, University of London, Economic and Social Research Council,
The way urban young people feel about their psychological and social heath is influenced by their home and social life as well as the physical environment, according to this ESRC-funded report.
Looking at 2001 data for 2,790 adolescents in East London, the report found that those living in disadvantaged areas were more likely to have negative perceptions of their neighbourhood. These negative perceptions could be mitigated by a harmonious home life, or worsened by psychological distress. Girls were more likely to be dissatisfied with their neighbourhood than boys and older adolescents, with black and Asian young people less likely to be unhappy about their area.
“However, we cannot ascertain whether this was because poor perception of the neighbourhood contributed to their psychological distress, or that distressed children were more likely to view their neighbourhood negatively,” admits research leader Sarah Curtis.