Somerfield, Rebecca (2019) Teachers and multi-agency working: a study of secondary school teachers’ engagement with multi-agency work in the context of the Every Child Matters agenda. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis seeks to uncover how teachers engage with multi-agency working within the context of the Every Child Matters agenda (DfES, 2003) and how this impacts on their sense of identity. To do this it provides an account of a qualitative study of ten teachers at a mainstream secondary school. The study uses data from interviews and observations of multi-agency work, which were analysed using a framework drawing on identity and sensemaking.
My focus is on teachers’ subjective experience of multi-agency work as they attempt to make sense of policy requirements and implement change whilst subjected to a range of conflicting policy drivers which they have to negotiate in order to decide where best to employ their attention. To achieve these aims, I use a Sensemaking theoretical paradigm in order to facilitate analytical focus on links with prior experiences and my respondents' understanding of who they feel they are as teachers - rather than in relation to an a-priori scheme. Through drawing on semi-structured interviews with these teachers, this study finds that despite multi-agency working becoming a policy directive, these teachers showed limited engagement with multi-agency principles or ways of working.
This study finds dissonance from increasing pressures to ensure students perform academically, and perceptions that engagement with multi-agency teams does not form part of teachers’ role as educationists. The resulting difficulties faced by teachers when making sense of multi-agency work creates barriers in the negotiation of teachers’ understanding of their role, thus potentially limiting future engagement with such work. At a time when teachers are expected to enact additional safeguarding roles, the ability to collaborate with multiple professionals remains critical. Therefore, this study has relevance for policy makers and educationists in considering how multi-agency policies are enacted in schools today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 15:30
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2019 15:30

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