Karen Kenny

Discipline: Education

Project Summary

Operational title The Educational Experience of Children in Care

This 3 year project aims to explore the educational experiences of ‘looked after children’ in Devon. Despite there being a great deal of diversity on achievement, there has often been concern expressed around the educational achievements of this group of young people. Most research considers examination results but does not speak directly to the youngsters concerned to ask how they feel school experiences might be improved.
This project has been designed to allow for a more rounded picture of the full educational experience, not just in terms of achievement, but a view of wider experiences, aiming to give an in-depth insight into the value that a looked after child places on education. The indepth study will generate much needed qualitative data in order to shine a light on the educational experiences of children in care in Devon. To date most research in this area has focused on statistical analysis of measured outcomes, and contributory factors which show a bleak picture of underachievement and poor adult outcomes.
The project will work with young people in school and college, as well as older alumni of care. Their experiences are being gathered in the main by listening to their stories. The findings will be analysed in such a way as to produce an account of the lived reality of the educational experience, across generations, for those young people who are in the care of the local authority. The intention is that the findings of this study will provide important insights for carers and teachers. It is also hoped that the youngsters involved will benefit through developing a better understanding of strategies they could use to improve school experiences.

Supervisory Team

Dr Martin Levinson, University of Exeter, North Cloisters, St Luke's Campus, Exeter, EX1 2LU
Dr Alexandra Allan, University of Exeter, North Cloisters, St Luke’s Campus, Exeter, EX1 2LU

Authored Publications/Reports

Scaltsas, T.; Stenning, K.; Alexopoulos, K.; Chappell, K.; Walsh, C.; Kenny, K.; Wren, H.; Craft, A.; Dimaraki, E.; Koulouris, P.; Schmoelz, A.; Weixelbaumer, T. (December 2014) D2.3.2 CO-CREATIVITY ASSESSMENT METHODOLOGY, C2Learn Project Deliverable 2.3.2

Fran Martin; Helen Griffiths; Karen Kenny; Maria Felipe; Richard Crossman () Young People on the Global Stage. The Intercultural Dimension, Research Report

Chappell, KA; Walsh, C; Kenny, K; Wren, H; Schmoelz, A; Stouraitis, E (30th July 2017) Wise Humanising Creativity: Changing How We Create in a Virtual Learning Environment, International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 4/7, 50-72

Kenny, K (26th September 2017) The Educational Experiences of Children in Care A qualitative study of stories recalled across five decades of local authority care experiences. , PhD Thesis