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Investigation school attendance in Leeds with particular reference to court adjournments

Goodwin, Alison Ruth (1989) Investigation school attendance in Leeds with particular reference to court adjournments. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Children in Leeds who failed to attend school regularly were often taken to the Juvenile Court by the the local Education Authority under care procedings provided for by the Children and Young Person's Act, 1969, and dealt with by repeated adjournments of the case until and improvement in school attendance was sustained. Previous research had suggested that repeated adjournments were an effective means of returning most children to regular school attendance but children who failed to do so often found themselves in care for varying periods. The aims of the research reported in this thesis were, firstly, to evaluate the effectiveness of two types of adjournment, flexible and inflexible, and a "letters" procedure, using a randomly controlled trial; and secondly, to study some other factors associated with poor school attendance in Leeds by considering the children themselves and the effects of the court procedures on them and their families using a series of questionnaire-based interviews. Overall, adjournments acheived their purpose in returning many children to regular school attendance, and there were no significant differences between the procedures tested. Improvement in school attendance after the first court hearing was found to be related to whether chilrren had improved attendance beforehand once they knew they were to go to court. The less this anticipatory improvement, the more likely was the child to go into care. The threat of going to court seemed to produce as much response from children who did well on adjournments as the adjournments themselves. Features of "truancy" and "refusal" emerged from a questionnaire and they were examined in relation to outcome. Children who showed neither characteristic did best on adjournments. The interviews suggested that parents of court children provided less supervision for their children than parents of a control group, and the court children had poorer material conditions. Reactions to the adjournments were mixed, but many parents and children expressed a great fear of the child going into care. Many heavily criticised schools. The adjournment method is controversial and has been publicly criticised by many people. Some attempt at evaluating this by considering the ethical implications and social consequences of the research has been made, in the hope that this will influence future developments in the field.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Continuing Education (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2011 15:09
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:14
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1634

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