‘What Kind of Education System are We Offering’: The Views of Education Professionals on School Refusal

Authors

  • Roisin Devenney School of Education Maynooth University http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1202-0098
  • Catriona O'Toole School of Education Maynooth University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17583/ijep.2021.7304

Keywords:

school Refusal, qualitative, education professionals, adverse childhood experiences

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the issue of school refusal, particularly given the adverse effects on young people’s social, emotional and educational development. School refusal is understood differently within contemporary literature; as a symptom of an underlying mental illness or disorder, or alternatively, as a signal that all is not well in the young person’s world. These varying construal’s have important implications for education responses to school refusal.  This study explores education professionals' views and experiences of school refusal within second level schools in Ireland. The findings from seventeen in-depth interviews highlight the complex nature of school refusal and unique challenges it presents for professionals, young people and parents.  Key themes include emotional and psychological distress experienced by young people and their exposure to adverse childhood experiences and trauma; the influence of family socio economic status and unequal access to support services and resources; the pressures for academic achievement and resulting conflictual relationships within the school environment and between home and school.  This study highlights the need for trauma-informed approaches in schools and urges future research to consider school refusal within wider debates on social justice and the goals and purposes of education.

 

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Anderson, E. M., Blitz, L. V., & Saastamoinen, M. (2015). Exploring a School-University Model for Professional Development with Classroom Staff: Teaching Trauma-Informed Approaches. School Community Journal, 25(2), 113-134.

Apple, M., (1979). Ideology and curriculum. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Archer, T., Filmer-Sankey, C., & Fletcher-Campbell, F. (2003). School phobia and school refusal: Research into causes and remedies. Slough, UK: National Foundation for Educational Research.

Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of education policy, 18(2), 215-228.

Berg, I., Butler, A., Franklin, J., Hayes, H., Lucas, C., & Sims, R. (1993). DSM‐III‐R disorders, social factors and management of school attendance problems in the normal population. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 34(7), 1187-1203.

Bethell, C. D., Newacheck, P., Hawes, E., & Halfon, N. (2014). Adverse childhood experiences: assessing the impact on health and school engagement and the mitigating role of resilience. Health Affairs, 33(12), 2106-2115.

Biesta, G. (2010). Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. Routledge.

Biesta, G. (2017). Education, measurement and the professions: Reclaiming a space for democratic professionality in education. Educational philosophy and theory, 49(4), 315-330.

Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Sage

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101

Burke, N. J., Hellman, J. L., Scott, B. G., Weems, C. F., & Carrion, V. G. (2011). The impact of adverse childhood experiences on an urban paediatric population. Child abuse & neglect, 35(6), 408-413.

Crabtree, B. F., & Miller, W. L. (Eds.). (1999). Doing qualitative research. Second Edition. Sage publications

Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 245-258.

Foley, C. (2013). Investigation of stress and burnout in Irish second-level teachers: A mixed-methods approach (Doctoral dissertation, University College Cork). CORA, Cork Open Research Archive.

Gregory, I. R., & Purcell, A. (2014). Extended school non-attenders’ views: Developing best practice. Educational Psychology in Practice, 30(1), 37-50.

Harris, M. E., & Fallot, R. D. (2001). Using trauma theory to design service systems. Jossey-Bass.

Havik, T., Bru, E., & Ertesvåg, S. K. (2015). School factors associated with school refusal-and truancy-related reasons for school non-attendance. Social Psychology of Education, 18(2), 221-240

Johnson, S., Cooper, C., Cartwright, S., Donald, I., Taylor, P., & Millet, C. (2005). The experience of work‐related stress across occupations. Journal of managerial psychology.

Johnstone, L. & Boyle, M., with Cromby, J., Dillon, J., Harper, D., Kinderman, P., & Read, J. (2018). The power threat meaning framework: Towards the identification of patterns in emotional distress, unusual experiences and troubled and troubling behaviour, as an alternative to functional psychiatric diagnosis. Leicester: British Psychological Society: www.bps.org.uk/PTM-Main

Kearney, C. A. (2008). School absenteeism and school refusal behaviour in youth: A contemporary review. Clinical psychology review,28(3), 451-471

Kearney, C.A., & Silverman, W.K. (1996). The evolution and reconciliation of taxonomic strategies for school refusal behaviour. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, (3) 339-354. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 3(4), 339-354.

Kerr, R. A., Breen, J., Delaney, M., Kelly, C., & Miller, K. (2011). A qualitative study of workplace stress and coping in secondary teachers in Ireland. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 11(1), 3.

King, N. J., Tonge, B. J., Turner, S., Heyne, D., Pritchard, M., Rollings, S., & Ollendick, T. H. (1999). Brief cognitive‐behavioural treatment for anxiety‐disordered children exhibiting school refusal. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 6(1), 39-45.

Lauchlan, F. (2003). Responding to Chronic Non-attendance: A review of intervention approaches. Educational Psychology in Practice: theory, research and practice in educational psychology. 19(2),133-146.

O’Toole, C. (under submission). When trauma comes to school: Towards a trauma-informed praxis in education.

O’Toole, C. & Devenney, R. (2020). ‘School refusal’: What is the problem represented to be? A critical analysis using Carol Bacchi’s questioning approach. In D. Leahy, K. Fitzpatrick & J. Wright (Eds). Critical studies in health education. New York: Routledge.

O’Toole. C. & Simovska, V. (in press). Wellbeing and education: Connecting mind, body and world. In C. Fauchner, R.W. McLellan & V. Simovska. [Eds]. Wellbeing and Schooling: Cross Cultural and Cross Disciplinary Perspectives. Taylor & Francis.

Pellegrini (2007) School Non-Attendance: Definitions, meanings responses, interventions. Educational Psychology in Practice: theory, research and practice in educational psychology, 23(1), 63-77.

Place, M., Hulsmeier, J., Davis, S., & Taylor, E. (2000). School refusal: A changing problem which requires a change of approach? Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 5(3), 345-355.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration) 2014. SAMHSA’S concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. Retrieved from https://www.nasmhpd.org/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Concept_of_Trauma_and_ Guidance. Pdf

Stempel, H., Cox-Martin, M., Bronsert, M., Dickinson, L. M., & Allison, M. A. (2017). Chronic school absenteeism and the role of adverse childhood experiences. Academic pediatrics, 17(8), 837-843.

Stroobant, E., & Jones, A. (2006). School refuser child identities. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 27(2), 209-223.

Thambirajah, M. S., Grandison, K. J., & De-Hayes, L. (2008). Understanding school refusal: A handbook for professionals in education, health and social care. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Yoneyama, S. (2000). Student discourse on Tokokyohi (School Phobia/Refusal) in Japan: burnout or empowerment? British Journal of Sociology of Education, 21(1), 77-94.

Downloads

Published

2021-02-24

How to Cite

Devenney, R., & O’Toole, C. (2021). ‘What Kind of Education System are We Offering’: The Views of Education Professionals on School Refusal. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 10(1), 27–47. https://doi.org/10.17583/ijep.2021.7304

Issue

Section

Articles