Disciplinary school exclusion: pushing children over the edge

Taubman, Katie (2022) Disciplinary school exclusion: pushing children over the edge. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Disciplinary school exclusion, alongside the issue of school discipline, has been identified as a problem in education since the mid-1980s (Department for Education and Skills, 1985). Education in England has been exclusive since its conception, beginning with the exclusion of more than 50% of the population from schooling when it was only available to the upper and middle ‘classes’ (Gibbs, 2022). There is a distinct gap in the literature exploring disciplinary school exclusion as an object constructed through discourse, using a discourse analytic approach.

This thesis adopts a critical realist and social constructionist perspective to explore the construct of disciplinary school exclusion through samples of talk collected from decision makers in schools. Five participants were interviewed with a focus on the topic of disciplinary school exclusion. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using an amalgamation of Willig’s (2013) Foucauldian discourse analysis and Parker’s (1992) steps for distinguishing discourses.

Constructions of disciplinary school exclusion that emerged included disciplinary school exclusion as protection, as a punishment, as a weapon and as a bad thing. The decision makers employed discourses of ‘education as an unquestionable good,’ ‘civilised society,’ ‘human rights,’ ‘criminal justice’ and the ‘essential nature of humans’ which legitimise the use of disciplinary school exclusion. An alternative, oppressed discourse that emerged from the analysis was a discourse of ‘education as an oppressive regime.’ The use of disciplinary school exclusion appears to be legitimised to protect education, civilisation, and human rights.

At the outset, this thesis aimed to explore ‘exclusion’ to identify possibilities for disturbing the discourses around children excluded to facilitate their inclusion. As the analysis progressed, and the wider discourses that emerged from the data were critically analysed alongside the chronological review of education policy, the concept of inclusion itself became problematic and led to questions about the purposes of education as it stands. The implications for educational psychology practice are discussed followed by recommendations for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Lewis, Victoria
Lambert, Nathan
Keywords: Disciplinary school exclusion, School discipline
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 71661
Depositing User: Taubman, Katie
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/71661

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