Ecosystems of Educational Disadvantage: Supporting Children and Young People receiving Child Protection and Welfare Services in Ireland
AbstractTheoretically-informed focused commentary on the literature in this paper, considers the position of children and young people, as embedded within socio-ecological systems. The specific focus is on the educational disadvantage of children and young people susceptible to involvement from child protection and welfare services in the Republic of Ireland. To inform this, the utility of socio-ecological theory is emphasised, and from here, a Personal–Cultural–Structural (PCS) analysis is applied, to achieve an ecologically sensitive anti-discriminatory framework. Following a qualitative thematic review of literature, discussion addresses the question of what practitioners can do to promote the educational welfare of children and young people. The article is timely and necessary as existing evidence indicates that factors associated with educational disadvantage also increase susceptibility for involvement with child protection and welfare services. Yet, despite the compounded disadvantage this implies, little is understood about how these factors interact in practice. Overall, better understanding of educational underachievement is required, in the context of its negative and pervasive long-term effects, including decreased well-being, poorer health, and unemployment.
Action, M. (2015) Parenting Positively: Teenage well-being: For parents of teenagers. Ireland: Tusla - Child and Family Agency and Barnardos.
Archer, P. and Sofroniou, N. (2008) The assessment of levels of disadvantage in primary schools for DEIS. [Accessed 1 July 2019 at http://www.erc.ie/documents/deis_assess_disadv_prim_sch.pdf]
Archer, P. and Weir, S. (2005) Addressing Disadvantage: A review of the international literature and of strategy in Ireland. Dublin: Department of Education and Science / Educational Disadvantage Committee.
Berridge, D. (2007) Theory and explanation in child welfare: Education and looked after children. Child and Family Social Work, 12, 1, 1–10.
Bloom, B., Achintya N.D. and Freeman, G. (2006). Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National health interview survey, 2005. Washington, DC: National Center for Health Statistics.
Boldt, S., Devine, B., McDevitt, D. and Morgan, M. (1998) Educational disadvantage and early school leaving. Ireland: Combat Poverty Agency.
Bourdieu, P. (1977) Cultural reproduction and social reproduction. In: K., Jerome and A.H., Halsey (eds), Power and Ideology in Education. Oxford University Press: New York (pp. 487-511).
Bourdieu, P. (1986) The forms of capital. In J.C., Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. New York: Greenwood Press (pp. 241-258).
Brady, E. and Gilligan, R., (2019) Exploring diversity in the educational pathways of care-experienced adults: Findings from a life course study of education and care. Children and Youth Services Review, 104, 1, 104379.
Brady, E. and Gilligan, R., (forthcoming a) Supporting care-experienced adults' educational journeys: 'Linked lives' over the life course. Child & Family Social Work.
Brady, E. and Gilligan, R., (forthcoming b) The role of agency in shaping the educational journeys of care-experienced adults: Insights from a life course study of education and care. Children & Society.
Brady, E., Gilligan, R. and Nic Fhlannchadha, S. (2019) Care-experienced young people accessing higher education in Ireland. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 19, 1, 51-64.
Brady, E. (2017) Supporting the educational attainment and progress of children in state care: A preliminary review of international evidence. TRiSS Working Paper Series. [Accessed 3 July 2019 at https://www.tcd.ie/triss/assets/PDFs/wps/TRiSS-WPS-01-2017.pdf]
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 2, 77-101.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (2005) Making Human Beings Human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979) The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Brophy, J. (1998) Expectations in the classroom. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Brophy, I. and Good, T. (1974) Teacher-Student Relationships: Causes and consequences. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Bryman, A. (2016) Social research methods. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Buckley, H. (2003) Child Protection Work: Beyond the rhetoric. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Burns, K. and McGregor, C. (2018) Child protection and welfare systems in Ireland: Continuities and discontinuities of the present. In L., Merkel-Holguin, J.D., Fluke, R.D., Krugman (eds.) National Systems of Child Protection: Understanding the International Variability and Context for Developing Policy and Practice. Switzerland: Springer Publishing (pp.115-139).
Cameron, C., Hollingworth, K. and Jackson, S. (2011) Young People from a Public Care Background: Secondary analysis of national statistics on educational participation. Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education: London, United Kingdom.
Cameron, S. and Heckman, J. J. (1999) Can tuition policy combat rising wage inequality? In M., Kosters (ed.) Financing College Tuition: Government Policies, Social Priorities. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press (pp. 76-124).
Cederberg, M. M., Hartsmar, N. and Lingarde, S. (2009) Socioeconomic Disadvantage Thematic Report: Educational policies and address social inequality (EACEA Action 6.6.2). London: IPSE.
Cederberg, M. M. and Ligard, S. (2008) Country Report: Denmark. Educational policies that address social inequality (EACEA Action 6.6.2). London: IPSE.
Cohen, J., McCabe, E., Michelli, N.M. and Pickeral, T. (2009) School Climate: Research, policy, practice and teacher education. Teachers College Record, 111, 1, 180-213.
Combat Poverty Agency (No Date) Demonstration programme on educational disadvantage 1996-1999. Ireland: Combat Poverty Agency.
Conaty, C. (2002) Including All. Home, school and community united in education. Dublin: Veritas.
Crosnoe, R., Johnson, M.K. and Elder, G.H. (2004) Intergenerational bonding in schools: The behavioural and contextual correlates of student-teacher relationships. Sociology of Education, 77, 1, 60-81.
Darmody, M., McMahon, L., Banks, J. and Gilligan, R. (2013) Education of Children in Care in Ireland: An exploratory study. Dublin: Ombudsman for Children.
Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2017) Children First: National guidance for protection and welfare of children. Dublin: The Stationary Office.
Department of Health (2000) Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families Guidance Notes and Glossary for: referral and initial information record, initial assessment record and core assessment records. London, England: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
Dominelli, L. (2002) Anti oppressive social work theory and practice. Houndsmills: Palgrave MacMillan.
Dooly, M., Vallejo, C. and Unamuno, V. (2009) Linguistic Minorities Thematic Report. Educational policies that address social inequality (EACEA Action 6.6.2). London: IPSE.
Downes, P. and Gilligan, A.L. (2007) Beyond educational disadvantage. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.
Dumais, S. A. (2006) Early childhood cultural capital, parental habitus, and teachers’ perceptions. Poetics, 34, 2, 83-107.
Duncan, G. and Magnuson, K. A. (2005) Can family socioeconomic resources account for racial and ethnic test score gaps? The Future of Children, 15, 1, 35-54.
Erikson, R. (1996) Explaining change in educational inequality – economic security and schools reform. In R., Erikson and J.O., Jonson (Eds.) Can Education be Equalised? The Swedish Case in Comparative Perspective. Boulder: Westview Press (pp.95-111).
Fan, X. and Chen, M. (2001) Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 1, 1-22.
Feeley, J.A. (2014) Alleviating educational disadvantage through localised policy intervention: Lessons for success. Galway, Ireland: PhD Thesis, ARAN. [Accessed 3 July 2019 at https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/bitstream/handle/10379/4409/Alleviating%20Ed%20Disadvantage%20Judith-Ann%20Feeley%20(Lohan)%20100214.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y]
Ferguson, R. (1998) Can schools narrow the black-white test score gap? In C. Jencks and M. Phillips (eds.) The Black-White Test Score Gap. Washington, D.C: The Brookings Institution (pp. 318-374).
Author (2017) Anonymised.
Author (2019a) Anonymised.
Author (2019b) Anonymised.
Glass, G. and Smith, M. (1979) Meta-analysis of research on class size and achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 1, 1, 2–16.
Glendenning, D. (2012) Education and the law. Dublin: Bloomsbury Professional.
Gormley, W.T., Jr, Phillips, D. and Gayer, T. (2008). Preschool programs can boost school readiness. Science, 320, 5884, 1723-1724.
Goldthorpe, J.H. (2007) On sociology, 2nd rev. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Good, T. (1987) Two decades of research on teacher expectations: Findings and future directions. Journal of Teacher Education, 38, 4, 32-47.
Hanlon, L. (2005) Early assessment and intervention in educational disadvantage. Research report commissioned by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education. [Accessed 3 July 2019 at https://arrow.tudublin.ie/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=cserrep]
Healy, S., Reynolds, B. and Collins, M. (2011) A new and fairer Ireland. Social justice Ireland. [Accessed 3 July 2019 at https://www.socialjustice.ie/sites/default/files/file/SER%202011/2011-05-16%20-%20%20A%20New%20and%20Fairer%20Ireland%20-%20SER%202011%20-%20Full%20Text.pdf ]
Herrnstein, R. J. and Murray, C. A. (1994) The Bell Curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.
International Federation of Social Workers (2014) Global definition of social work. [Accessed 1 July 2019 at https://www.ifsw.org/what-is-social-work/global-definition-of-social-work/]
Ireland (1998) The Education Act, Dublin: Stationery Office, Section 32, Sub-Section 9.
Jæger, M. M. and Holm, A. (2003) Which background factors matter more in intergenerational educational attainment: Social class, cultural capital or cognitive ability? A Random effects approach. Copenhagen: Centre for Applied Microeconometrics, University of Copenhagen.
Jeynes, W.H. (2005) A meta-analysis of the relation of parental involvement to urban elementary school student achievement. Urban Education, 40, 3, 237-269.
Kavanagh, L., Shiel, G. and Gilleece, L. (2015) The 2014 national assessments of English reading and mathematics. Volume II: Context report. Dublin: Educational Research Centre.
Kavanagh, L., Weir, S. and Moran, E. (2017) The Evaluation of DEIS: Monitoring achievement and attitudes among urban primary school pupils from 2007 to 2016. Report to the Department of Education and Skills. Dublin: Educational Research Centre.
Kellegan, T. (2001) Towards a definition of educational disadvantage. The Irish Journal of Education, xxxii, 3-22.
Kellaghan, T., Weir, S., O’Huallacháin, S. and Morgan, M. (1995) Educational disadvantage in Ireland. Dublin: Combat Poverty Agency and the Educational Research Centre.
Kohn, M. L. and Schooler, C. (1984) Work and personality. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Labour Party (2004) Tackling Educational Disadvantage: Proposals to alleviate educational disadvantage and give every child and adult greater opportunity and equality in education. [Accessed 1 July 2019 at https://www.labour.ie/download/pdf/ed_disadvantage.pdf]
Leathwood, C., Ross, A., Moreau, M-P., Rollock, N. and Williams, C. (2008) Country Report: The United Kingdom, educational policies that address social inequality (EACES Action 6.6.2). London: IPSE.
Lloyd, M. (2018) Domestic Violence and Education: Examining the impact of domestic violence on young children, children, and young people and the potential role of schools. Front Psychol., 13, 9, 2094.
Loftus, C. (2017) Focus Ireland’s ‘Education Matters’ Programme: Measuring impact. Ireland: Focus Ireland.
Martin, A.J. and Dowson, M. (2009) Interpersonal relationships, motivation, engagement, and achievement. Review of Educational Research, 79 (1), 327-365.
Martin, P. Y. and Jackson, S. (2002) Educational success for children in public care: Advice from a group of high achievers. Child and Family Social Work, 7, 2, 121-130.
McAvinue, L. and Weir, S. (2015) The Evaluation of DEIS at Post-Primary Level: An update on trends over time in achievement and retention. Report to the Department of Education and Skills. Dublin: Educational Research Centre.
McKeown, K. and Clarke, M. (2004) Educational disadvantage in Ireland. Ireland: One Foundation.
Millar, M. (2008) Social inclusion and the welfare state: who cares? In M., Adshead, P., Kirby and M., Millar (eds.) Contesting the State Lessons from the Irish Case. Manchester: Manchester University Press (pp.50-72).
Moonie, S.A., Sterling, D.A., Figgs, L. and Castro, M. (2006) Asthma status and severity affects missed school days. Journal of School Health, 76, 1,18-24.
Morgan, M. (2001) Drug Use Prevention: an overview of research. Dublin: The Stationary Office.
Mortimore, J. and Blackstone, T. (1982) Disadvantage and education. London: Heinemann Educational Books.
Morris, M. and Rutt, S. (2004) Analysis of Pupil Attendance Data in Excellence in Cities (EiC) Areas: An interim report. Research report RR571. Berkshire: National Foundation for Educational Research/Department of Education and Skills.
Montt, (2012) Socioeconomic school composition effects on student outcomes. [Accessed 3 July 2019 at www.etd.nd.edu/ETDdb/theses/available//unrestricted/MonttG032012d.pdf]
National Disability Authority (2017) A qualitative study of how well young people with disabilities are prepared for life after school. Ireland: National Disability Strategy.
National Youth Council of Ireland (2017) Submission to NAPS on educational disadvantage. [Accessed 3 July 2019 at https://www.youth.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Submission-to-NAPS-on-Educational-Disadvantage.pdf]
Noble, J. and Davies, P. (2009) Cultural capital as an explanation of variation in participation in higher education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30, 5, 591-605.
Noble, K.G., Houston, S.M., Brito, N.H., Bartsch, H., Kan, E., Kuperman, J.M., Akshoomoff, N., Amaral, D.G., Bloss, C.S., Libiger, O., Schork, N.J., Murray, S.S., Casey, B. J., Chang, L., Ernst, T.M., Frazier, J.A., Gruen, J.R., Kennedy, D.N., Van Zijl, P., Mostofsky, S., Kaufmann, W.E., Kenet, T., Dale, A.D., Jernigan, T.L. and Sowell, E.R. (2015) Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents. Nat Neurosci., 18, 5, 773–778.
OECD (2012) Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting disadvantaged students and schools. France: OECD Publishing.
OECD (1992) High quality education and training for all. France: OCED Publishing.
Payne, M. (2005) Modern social work theory. 3rd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Pratschke, J., (2002) The statistical measurement of neighbourhood effects. In T., Haase and K., McKeown (eds.) Developing Disadvantaged Areas Through Area-Based Initiatives: Reflections on over a Decade of Local Development Strategies. Dublin: Area Development Management Limited (pp.42-50).
Ready, D. (2010) School attendance, and early cognitive development: The differential effects of school exposure. Sociology of Education, 83, 4, 271-286.
Riordan, S. (2002) The invisible students: Young parents in education. [Accessed 2 July 2019 at https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/invisible_students.pdf ]
Rosenthal, R. and Jacobsen, L. (1968) Pygmalion in the classroom. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Ross, A. (2009) Educational Policies that Address Social Inequality (EPASI). [Accessed 2 July 2019 at http://pagines.uab.cat/melindadooly/sites/pagines.uab.cat.melindadooly/files/OverallReport.pdf]
Ruhm, C., Magnuson, K.A. and Waldfogel, J. (2007) Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance? Economics of Education Review, 26, 1, 33-51.
Ryan, S. (1999) The Home-School-Community Liaison Scheme. Summary evaluation report. (Revised edition). Dublin: Educational Research Centre.
Sampson, R.J., Morenoff, J.D. and Gannon-Rowley, T. (2002) Assessing ‘Neighbourhood Effects’: Social processes and new directions in research. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 1, 466-467.
Sebba, J., Berridge, D., Luke, N., Fletcher, J., Bell, K., Strand, S., Thomas, S., Sinclair, I. and O’Higgins, A. (2015) The Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England: Linking care and educational data.
Oxford: Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education.
Scanlon, G. and McKenna, G. (2018) A study on the educational needs of children experiencing homelessness and living in emergency accommodation. Ireland: Childrens Rights Alliance.
School Completion Office (no date) Guidelines on identifying young people at risk of early school leaving. Ireland: School Completion Office.
School Development Planning Initiative (no date) Addressing educational disadvantage. [Accessed 2 July 2019 at http://www.sdpi.ie/guidelines/PDF/Unit10.pdf]
Shin, I.S. and Chung, J.Y. (2009) Class size and student achievement in the United States: A metaanalysis. KEDI Journal of Educational Policy, 6, 2, 3-19.
Smyth, E., Banks, J., Whelan, A., Darmody, M. and McCoy, S. (2015) Review of school completion programme. Dublin: ESRI.
Smyth, E. (1999) Do Schools Differ? Academic and personal development among pupils in the second-level sector. Dublin: Oak Tree Press.
Smyth, E. and Hannan, DF. (2000) Education and inequality. In B., Nolan, P.J., O’Connell and C.T., Whelan (eds.) Bust to Boom? The Experience of Growth and Inequality. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration (pp.109-126).
Smyth, E. and McCoy, S. (2009) Investing in Education: Combating educational disadvantage. Dublin: The Economic and Social Research Institute.
Smyth, E. (2017) Off to a Good Start? Primary school experiences and the transition to second-level education. Dublin: The Stationary Office.
Spratt, T., Devaney, J. and Frederick, J. (2019) Adverse Childhood Experiences: Beyond signs of safety; reimagining the organisation and practice of social work with children and families. British Journal of Social Work, 0, 1–17.
Thompson, N. (2016) Anti-Discriminatory Practice: Equality diversity and social justice (6th Ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Thornburg, A. and Spires, H.A. (2009) Educating young adolescents in the Republic of Ireland: Towards a new “young Ireland”. In S.B. Mertens, V.A. Anfara and K. Roney (Eds.) An International Look at Educating Young Adolescents. North Carolina: Information Age Publishing (pp. 287-311).
Tozzi, P. and Étienne, R. (2008) Country Report: Luxembourg. Educational policies that address social inequality (EACEA Action 6.6.2). London: IPSE.
Trout, A. L., Hagaman, J., Casey, K., Reid, R. and Epstein, M. H. (2008) The academic status of children in out-of-home care: A review of the literature. Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 9, 979-994.
Turnell, A. and Murphy, T. (2017) Signs of safety comprehensive briefing paper (4th edition). Australia: Resolutions Consultancy Pty Ltd.
Tusla (2017) Annual report 2017. Retrieved 1st July, 2019, from [Accessed 12 February 2020 at https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Tusla_2017_Annual_Report_final_13.07.18.pdf]
Tusla (2017b) Child protection and welfare strategy 2017-2022. [Accessed 14 February 2020 at https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Tusla_Child_Protection_and_Welfare_Strategy.pdf]
Tzanakis, M. (2011) Bourdieu’s social reproduction thesis and the role of cultural capital in educational attainment: A critical review of key empirical studies. Educate, 11, 1, 76-90.
UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre (2002) A league table of educational disadvantage in rich nations, Innocenti report card number 4. Florence: Innocenti Research Centre.
Vrabcova, D., Vacek, P. and Lašek, J. (2008) Country Report: Czech republic. Educational policies that address social inequality. London: IPSE.
Watson, D., Kenny, O. and McGinnity, F. (2017) A social portrait of Irish travellers. Dublin: The Economic and Social Research Institute.
Weir, S. (2004) A Commentary on the Implementation of Giving Children an Even Break. Report to the Educational Disadvantage Committee. Dublin: Educational Research Centre.
Weir, S. (2006) A report on the procedures used to identify post-primary schools for inclusion in the school support programme under DEIS. Dublin, Ireland: Education Research Centre.
Weir, S., Kavanagh, L., Kelleher, C. and Moran, E. (2017) Addressing Educational Disadvantage: A Review of evidence from the international literature and strategy for Ireland: An update since 2005. Dublin: ePrint/Educational Research Centre.
Whelan, C.T. and Hannon, D.F. (1999) Class inequalities in educational attainment among the adult population in the Republic of Ireland. The Economic and Social Review, 30, 3, 285-307.
Williams, J., Greene, S., Doyle, E., Harris, E., Layte, R., McCoy, S., McCrory, C., Murray, A., Nixon, E., O’Dowd, T., O’Moore, M., Quail, A., Smyth, E., Swords, L. and Thornton, M. (2009) Growing Up in Ireland: National longitudinal study of children. The lives of 9-Year-olds. Dublin: Government Publications.
Williams J., Thornton, M., Morgan, M., Quail, A. and Smyth, E. (2018) Growing Up in Ireland National Longitudinal Study of Children: The lives of 13 year olds. Dublin: The Stationary Office.
Zilberstein, K. (2016) Parenting in families of low socioeconomic status: A review with implications for child welfare practice. Family Court Review, 54, 2, 221-231.