Teacher perceptions of attachment aware approaches in schools - normative or transformative?

Parker, R.J (2022) Teacher perceptions of attachment aware approaches in schools - normative or transformative? PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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This thesis considers the ways in which school staff conceptualise the theoretical and practical aspects of Attachment Aware Schools (AAS), how understandings vary across different types of institution and across staff strata. Taking a critical theoretical perspective, it asks whether AAS represents a radical and transformative approach to education, or whether it is simply a ‘soft’ form of social control which ‘cools out’ potential challenges to the social order. The research was undertaken on three different sites – a suburban primary school, a PRU on an industrial estate and an inner-city girls’ secondary school – which were developing AAS approaches. Participants were invited to reflect on their understanding of AAS, the rationale for developing it in their particular context, and the power relationships involved. They discussed the extent to which the initiative was targeted at specific groups or individuals, or towards the whole school community, the benefits or disbenefits experienced by different groups, and the empowerment or otherwise of these groups in the process. These perceptions were considered in the light of evidence on AAS from the wider literature, and government policies with regard to attachment, behaviour and mental health in schools. The fieldwork period (February 2020 – July 2021) coincided with the Covid pandemic. This not only affected the research focus, methodology and practicalities such as access to sites and individuals, but also impacted on the understanding and perspectives of participants, highlighting the potential importance of AAS in the recovery process, but also the ambivalent nature of government policy in this regard. The thesis concludes that there is evidence that AAS can have a transformative impact on individuals and schools, where such approaches are internalised within the school culture and there is an explicit management perspective which promotes this. However, this can be limited, either by a school/MAT culture which continues to promote normative values, or by neoliberal performative frameworks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Attachment Aware Schools, primary schools, secondary schools, UK, education, government policy, mental health, trauma, behaviour management, paradigm change, Covid-19, qualitative research, case studies, interviews
Divisions: School of Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.17870/bathspa.00015141
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 12:31
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2023 14:53
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/15141
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