It has been proposed that boarding schools in England can be used to provide a stable education and care environment for vulnerable children in need and the government is expanding their use. However, for vulnerable children to be placed in boarding schools social workers will need to be willing to contemplate the boarding as a viable care option. In this study we interviewed (N=21) social care practitioners including Directors, senior and middle managers, frontline social workers, social worker-academics and family support workers who work with vulnerable children. Using thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews, seven major themes identified a range of issues and concerns held by social care workers about placing vulnerable children in boarding schools. We present these themes and consider the issues that will have to be addressed prior to changes in policy and practice. The study concludes that many of those within the social work profession are unlikely to consider boarding as an intervention for children in need. Further research in this area is a matter of urgency.
Murphy, D., Oliver, M., Pourhabib, S., Adkins, M., & Hodgen, J. (2020). Pedagogical devices as children’s social care levers: A study of social care workers’ attitudes towards boarding schools to care for and educate children in need. British Educational Research Journal, https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3633