ERG SES D 05, Children and Education
It is assumed that education is a bridge towards social welfare and quality of life. Furthermore, education is often conceived as one of the main ways to stop processes of social exclusion. However, is this what education really constitutes for children and young people in state care?
The education of this group of population has been a research field traditionally ignored. Some authors have talked about a “statistical invisibility” of these children (Monserrat and Cassas, 2010, p. 117). Nevertheless, important research studies about this topic have arisen in recent years. At the European level, some countries as Denmark (Chistoffersen, 1993), Sweden (Vinnerljung, 1998) and UK (Jackson y Martin, 1998) have already important lines of research.
In this sense, UK seems to be (is) the country leading political and legislative achievements in this field (Casas and Monserrat, 2009).
Between 2008 and 2010 a mayor European research project has been developed. It was called YIPEE (Young People in Public care: Pathways to Education in Europe). YIPPEE was the first ever cross-national study focused on the education of young people in care beyond the legal age of school attendance. The project was coordinated by Jackson and Cameron from the Thomas Conram Research Unit of the Institute of Education (London) (Jackson and Cameron, 2014).
The research team of Casas and Montserrat (2008-2010) led YIPPEE within the Spanish context. Important results arose. One of them is the fact that children and young people in state care seems to represent one of the groups of population in a highest level of educational exclusion risk and, therefore, social exclusion risk. Moreover, those who are at residential care, have the poorest results on all aspects studied:
Less than one quarter of residential care children are in the academic year they should be, corresponding to their age. There are more absences from school than the average. More than one third received disciplinary actions by their schools. Consequently, there are more early school leavers, more students orientated to low professional training, and less graduated students (Monserrat et al., 2013, p. 452).
This situation, together with the necessity for more research in this field within the Spanish frame, supports the research project presented here, which will carry out in the region of Andalucía.
So far, the developed research in this field has studied the education of children in care by mainly emphasizing the analysis of the child protection system. However, this analysis must be complemented with the study of the educational system. Therefore, the research cannot be reduced only to the “scholar adaptation of this population”, but also to the “adaptation of the school” in order to respond to the needs of children and young people in state care.
Thus, the main objective of this research project is to understand the scholar situation of children and young people at residential care, from a deep and critical analysis of the scholar system.
According to this main objective, next specific objectives are established:
- Knowing the educational situation of children and young people at residential care in Andalucía.
- Interpreting scholar backgrounds of children and young people at residential care, from their own testimonies.
- Detecting teacher perceptions of these children and young people as students, as well as knowing the quality of the educational intervention they carry out and possible challenges they identify.
- Identifying educational needs of this population.
- Detecting opinions and perceptions from the care system professionals about the education that children and young people at residential care receive from school.
- Identifying key elements for a suitable education in order to fulfill the needs of children and young people at residential care.
Calderón Almendros, I. (2014) Sin suerte pero guerrero hasta la muerte: pobreza y fracaso escolar en una historia de vida. Revista de Educación, 363, 184-209. doi: 10.4438/1988-592X-RE-2012-363-177 Casas, F. y Monserrat, C. (2009). Sistema educativo e igualdad de oportunidades entre los jóvenes tutelados: estudios recientes en el Reino Unido. Psicothema, 21 (4), 543-547. Casas, F., Montserrat, C., y Malo, S. (2010). Spanish national report summary YIPPEE : Education and young people from a public care background. Girona: Institut de Rececera sobre Qualitat de Vida. Retrieved from http://tcru.ioe.ac.uk/yippee/Portals/1/reportinspanish.pdf Jackson, S. and Cameron, C. (2014). Improving access to further and higher education for young people in public care. European Policy and Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Jackson, S. and Martin, P. (1988). Surviving the care system: education and resilience. Journal of Adolescence, 21, 569–583 Monserrat, C., Casas, F. y Malo, S. (2013b). Delayed educational pathways and risk of social exclusion: the case of young people from public care in Spain. European Journal of Social Work, 16 (1) 6-21. DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2012.722981 Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis. New York: The Guilford Press.
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