Exploring school staff members’ understanding about influences on the experiences and belonging of students of Caribbean Descent in schools: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis.

Dyer, Lydia (2022) Exploring school staff members’ understanding about influences on the experiences and belonging of students of Caribbean Descent in schools: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The current research utilised reflexive Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2022) to explore the shared understanding of school staff members regarding the experiences and sense of belonging of students of Caribbean descent in school and the influences over these. The barriers within the English education system for students, who identify as having Caribbean heritage and a ‘black’ racialised identity, are widely acknowledged in the research and literature across time (e.g., Coard, 1971, Demie & McLean 2017a, Wallace & Joseph Salisbury, 2021). The narratives of young people in the research support this and emphasise the importance of a sense of belonging to the school experience. School staff are indicated as being influential to both the experience and sense of belonging for students. As professionals within the school system, with considerable influence, it was deemed important to gather their understanding and perceptions on how the school context may be shaping young people’s experiences to support transformation.

I interviewed eleven participants, who were all teachers or headteachers, to explore their views. Using the reflexive Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2022), I developed three overarching themes: ‘Pervasive impact of bias and inequity’, ‘Willingness, ability and blind spots’ and ‘fostering positive experiences and belonging’ and a standalone theme of ‘one size does not fit all’, to capture narratives of individuality and intersectionality.

The overarching theme, ‘pervasive impact of bias and inequity’, captured themes of limited representation in the workforce and curriculum, interpersonal racism, and staff members’ biases and racism. ‘Willingness, ability and blind spots’ brought together shared patterns of the discomfort, reluctance and dismissal that arise in discussions of ‘race’ and racism, which were compared to literature on the characteristics of ‘whiteness’. Finally, the ‘fostering positive experiences and belonging’ included the perceived positive contributions of support networks, high expectations, staff members’ awareness and self-reflection, representation, empowerment, and moving beyond tokenism.

With consideration to the strengths and limitations of the research and the positionality of the researcher, the discussion includes the analytic conclusions and implications. Finally, I outline the possible implications of the research for individuals in education, and the systems around them, including schools and Educational Psychology Services.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Hounslow, Russell
Keywords: Reflexive Thematic Analysis, Black British students, belonging, bias, inequity, racism
Subjects: H Social sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 71217
Depositing User: Dyer, Lydia
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/71217

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