A study of proactive and systemic approaches to addressing death, bereavement and loss in schools

Kime, Alison Claire (2022). A study of proactive and systemic approaches to addressing death, bereavement and loss in schools. University of Birmingham. Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.

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This thesis provides an account of how reflexive thematic analysis (RTA) (Braun and Clarke, 2006; 2019) was used to analyse data from interviews with school staff, along with additional school data, to examine school staff’s experiences of and thoughts about proactive and systemic approaches to death and bereavement in schools. The literature review considers the prevalence and impact of childhood bereavement; psychological theories about children and young people’s (CYP’s) experiences of death and bereavement; and schools’ proactive work in this area. This includes the development of training; the creation of bereavement polices; the utilisation of external professionals to support schools to develop practice; and the provision of Death Education. The examination of the impact of cultural variation on practice was also considered. A critical realist (CR) ontological framework was employed to guide the research, which utilised a case study design frame. Semi-structured staff interviews, school data gathering and school visits were undertaken in five primary schools and one special school. RTA and a force field analysis were used to analyse the data. The data suggested that there was a complex interaction between proactive and reactive approaches, with reaction to events driving proactive practice, and that consideration of contextual information about time, place and culture was key to developing effective, proactive practice. Other key themes related to the tendency for school processes to be mostly reactive and generic in the ways they address death and bereavement; the importance of schools providing empathetic, honest communication with CYP and families to inform child-centred practice; and the need for appropriate support for staff, given the complex and emotionally-demanding nature of the work. Potential implications for school and EP practice are discussed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12478


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