Recent Submissions

  • How is theory used to understand and inform practice in the alternative provision sector in England: trends, gaps and implications for practice

    Johnston, Craig; Malcolm, Andrew David; Pennacchia, Jodie; University of the West of England; University of Bedfordshire; University of Birmingham (Taylor and Francis, 2024-04-25)
    This article examines how theory features in the research literatures concerning the English alternative (education) provision (AP) sector. Despite increasing interest over the past decade in how AP can (re)engage school-aged young people in learning, there has been no comprehensive review of the theoretical ideas used to understand, analyse, and inform practice in the sector. This article presents a framework for categorising the literature on AP, which refer to theory. This framework is of international relevance and can be used by researchers who are seeking to understand the state-of-knowledge on AP in their own contexts. Applied to the English context, this framework demonstrates trends and gaps in the ways theory is used to frame and understand the sector by researchers and practitioners. The framework highlights a shortage of published research which seeks to understand how practitioners in English APs understand, and use, theoretical ideas, concepts, and frameworks to inform their work with young people. We also find that theories drawn from psychological and therapeutic orientations are more common than those drawing on socio-political framings. We reflect on the causes and implications of these trends and gaps and conclude with suggestions for future research to better understand them.
  • Safeguarding adults within institutional settings: a narrative overview of the literature focused on the care of people with mental ill-health and learning difficulties

    Montgomery, Lorna; Cooper, Adi; Queen’s University Belfast; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald Publishing, 2024-04-01)
    Purpose: Institutional abuse is a worldwide phenomenon with the UK also subject to several high-profile abuse scandals perpetuated on people with learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions living within institutional settings. This study aims to provide a broad perspective of safeguarding practices within institutional care to inform practice and service development in this area. Design/methodology/approach: A narrative overview was undertaken of a range of empirical evidence, discussion papers, enquiry reports, reports from regulatory bodies and professional guidance to explore safeguarding practices within institutional care for individuals with learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions. Findings: A range of literature was identified that exposed and explored abuse in this context. Three key themes were identified: failings within institutional care; safeguarding issues and concerns; and good practice within institutional care. Whilst guidance is available, standards are explicit and protocols facilitate improvement potential in this area, a consistent message was that statutory recommendations for reform have not been effective. Originality/value: This paper provides an important resource for practitioners and service providers involved in institutional care. An accessible overview of both the empirical evidence and grey literature on adult safeguarding within institutional settings is provided, along with a range of standards and resources that specify practice in these settings.
  • From hegemony to Herrschaft? the growth and potential of a reactionary strain of politics on the British Right

    Hoctor, Tom; ; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2024-05-17)
    This article argues that a reactionary mode of politics is emerging and informing more and more debate on the British Right. It defines reaction as 1) historicist attacks on liberal institutions or proxies, 2) the assertion of an anti-historicist ‘birth-culture’ axiom and 3) a platform of the ‘racialisation’ of welfare and the targeting of welfare in ways which promotes traditionalist values. It then assesses the published works of Nick Timothy, former chief of staff to Theresa May, and Munira Mirza, former political advisor to Boris Johnson, to assess the degree to which a reactionary mode of politics is present within the Party. I argue that both adopt political ontologies consistent with reaction, especially in mounting attacks on liberalism and “identity politics”, and that this ontological starting point allows both Timothy and Mirza to assert visions of society which serve to justify the reassertion of authority and inequality. It concludes by arguing that the Conservative Party’s increasing abandonment of pluralism in favour of Herrschaft, authority, over the British polity is an indication that the reactionary position is influential on the contemporary British Right.
  • Social capital and alcohol risks among older adults (50 years and over): analysis from the Drink Wise Age Well Survey

    Adnum, Laura; Elliott, Lawrie; Raeside, Robert; Wadd, Sarah; Madoc-Jones, Iolo; Donnelly, Michael; Liverpool Hope University; Glasgow Caledonian University; Heriot Watt University; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2022-04-27)
    Although there has been significant research on the relationship between alcohol consumption and demographic and psychological influences, this does not consider the effect of social influence among older drinkers and if these effects differ between men and women. One aspect of social influence is social capital. The aim of this paper is to examine whether relational and cognitive social capital are associated with higher or lower risk of alcohol use among adults aged 50 years or older and to assess the extent to which this relationship differs between men and women. To investigate this, data were collected from a cross-sectional questionnaire survey of adults over the age of 50 in the United Kingdom who were recruited from general practitioners. The sample consisted of 9,984 individuals whose mean age was 63.87 years. From these data, we developed proxy measures of social capital and associate these with the respondent's level of alcohol consumption as measured on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-10) scale. In the sample, just over 20 per cent reported an increasing risk or dependency on alcohol. Using two expressions of social capital-relational (social relationships) and cognitive (knowledge acquisition and understanding)-we found that greater levels of both are associated with a reduced risk of higher drinking risk. Being female had no significant effect when combined with relational capital but did have a significant effect when combined with cognitive capital. It is argued that interventions to enhance social relations among older people and education to help understand alcohol risks would be helpful to protect older people from the damaging effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Policy briefing: wellbeing in the lives of young refugees in Scotland

    Kohli, Ravi K.S.; McGregor, Sharon; MacKinnon, Kate; Drawing Together; University of Bedfordshire; University of Strathclyde (Drawing Together Project, 2024-04-10)
    The Drawing Together project explored how 53 young refugees experience integration through rebuilding their everyday lives in Scotland, Finland and Norway. This policy briefing focuses on the findings from Scotland. It provides insights for Scottish policy makers and practitioners to better equip them in promoting the wellbeing of young refugees.
  • Realising participation and protection rights when working with groups of young survivors of childhood sexual violence: a decade of learning

    Cody, Claire; Bovarnick, Silvie; Soares, Claire; ; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier Inc. All, 2024-03-18)
    Childhood sexual violence is a global problem that has far-reaching impacts on children, families and communities. Whilst there has been significant commitment and action to tackle this issue, research with young people consistently draws attention to gaps and limitations. Emerging research, and practice-based evidence, tells us that young survivors of childhood sexual violence hold essential knowledge and expertise about the impacts of, and solutions for addressing, this form of violence. Yet, despite widespread recognition that children and young people have a right to ‘be heard’, in practice there are limited examples where young survivors come together collectively to collaborate with professionals to inform and influence research, policy or practice interventions in this field. This discussion paper begins by reflecting on barriers to, and opportunities for, participatory engagement with young survivors. The article draws on a decade long international programme of work and shares three key elements that have helped ‘scaffold’ our participatory work with young survivors: forming the right partnerships; weighing up the potential risks and benefits of engagement; and putting in place support for all involved. In conclusion, we present potential ways forward, underscoring the importance of addressing structural barriers, the need for creativity, and the significance of support and training for those accompanying young people and facilitating their engagement in the future.
  • Relational wellbeing in the lives of young refugees

    Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Fylkesnes, Marta Knag; Kaukko, Mervi; White, Sarah C.; University of Bedfordshire; NORCE; Tampere University; University of Bath (MDPI, 2024-02-29)
    This book is a Special Issue Reprint. In it we consider the ways in which a relational wellbeing approach can be used to understand the lives and trajectories of refugees in general and young refugees in particular. We mainly focus on the lives of young adults who came to the global North as unaccompanied children—that is, without an adult responsible for them when they claimed asylum. Many of the papers report from the Drawing Together project (see https://www.drawingtogetherproject.org/, accessed on 11 January 2024). The project focus is on ‘relational wellbeing’ for young refugees—that is, wellbeing that is experienced through actions that repair and amplify a sense of responsibility they and other people have to each other. Hospitality and reciprocity emerge through small acts of fellowship. In time, these build patterns of exchanges between young refugees and those important to them, leading to a mutual sense of ‘having enough’, ‘being connected’, and ‘feeling good’ (White and Jha 2020). This is wellbeing as a shared endeavour. Overall, the project and many contributions in this Special Issue stand at the conjunction between fields of research into wellbeing and refugee studies. The papers span contexts and countries, offering a sense of an international array of experiences, joined by an issue of supra-national importance—that is, the ways interaction and relationality mediate the experiences of becoming and being a refugee.
  • ‘Mind the gap”: extending outcome measurement for accountability and meaningful innovation

    Johnson, R.E.; Kerridge, Gary; Alderson, Hayley; Currie, Graeme; Friel, Seana; Harrop, Carrie; Lynch, Amy; McGovern, Ruth; Munro, Emily; Newlands, Fiona; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2024-02-21)
    We examine the outcome measurement landscape in care leaver innovation, where many innovations to support transitions of young people leaving care fail to sustain beyond a fixed-term pilot, and fewer impact wider transition policies. Our empirical qualitative study comprises interviews with 31 senior UK children’s social care policy and practice professionals, 103 interviews across five innovation-focused case studies within England with a range of public and private providers. We consider these data in relation to evaluations from a nationally diffused social care innovation. We identified three measurement landscape challenges. First, we highlight the limits of the economically-oriented measurement and identify an overlooked outcome measurement demand. Second, we emphasise a need to stratify care leaver population outcomes to better reflect individuals transition through different domains of life and trajectory. Third, we identify areas of precarity around intended use of care leaver experience. We conclude that tensions exist between the pull toward a unified approach to outcome measurement and the reality of decoupled outcome requirements and legitimacy-seeking priorities which differ according to stakeholder. These tensions entrench stagnant innovation. Recognition of roles and legitimacies that exist across the process of care leaver innovation is warranted. Opportunities for action are discussed.
  • Comparing leaving-care policy and practice across the four nations of the United Kingdom: exploring similarities, differences, and implementation gaps

    Munro, Emily; Kelly, Berni; Mannay, Dawn; McGhee, Kenny; University of Bedfordshire; Queen's University Belfast; Cardiff University (Routledge, 2024-02-22)
    From an international comparative perspective, the four nations of the UK have robust legal and policy frameworks governing care-leaving. Measures taken include: access to aftercare workers; pathway planning; introduction of extended care arrangements (permitting young people to remain in placement beyond 18 years); and specific types of financial support. The paper explores commonalities and differences in approaches across the UK and illuminates how resource constraints, placement availability, workforce challenges and cultural norms may result in implementation gaps and a post-code lottery of provision. Findings lend weight to calls for attentiveness to, and systematic evaluation of, the implementation process to understand the challenges encountered in embedding effective support for care leavers. They also highlight the value of further comparative studies that explore the systems and subsystems of law, policy and practice in the four nations to contribute to more informed leaving care policy and practice.
  • Beyond monolithic threat: understanding risk typology in court-involved Black male youth

    Onifade, Eyitayo; Campbell, Christina; Shishane, Kwanele; Annan, Sylvia; Odotei, Emma; Williams, Justin B.; Clark Atlanta University; University of Cincinnati; University of Bedfordshire; University of Wisconsin-Madison (Taylor and Francis, 2024-02-12)
    Black male youth are at greatest risk of disparate contact and detention in the U.S. juvenile justice system. This study aims to identify recidivism risk/need patterns among African American male youth in the Ohio juvenile justice system, utilizing cluster analysis of risk assessment data from the Ohio Youth Assessment System-Disposition (OYAS-DIS). We found four distinct risk patterns and accompanying recidivism rates in the Black male youth population. Two of the clusters exhibited moderate levels of risk. However, they had significantly different recidivism outcomes, suggesting certain combinations of risk factors have more or less impact the propensity for crime in the Black male sample. Implications for policy and practice are discussed, as well as future directions for research.
  • Forced migration: a relational wellbeing approach

    Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Fylkesnes, Marta Knag; Kaukko, Mervi; White, Sarah C.; University of Bedfordshire; Norwegian Research Centre; Tampere University; Relational Wellbeing (RWB) Collaborative (MDPI, 2024-01-15)
    Editorial. In this Special Issue, we consider the ways in which a relational wellbeing approach can be used to understand the lives and trajectories of refugees in general and young refugees in particular. We mainly focus on the lives of young adults who came to the global North as unaccompanied children—that is, without an adult responsible for them when they claimed asylum. Many of the papers report from the Drawing Together project (see https://www.drawingtogetherproject.org/, accessed on 11 January 2024). The project focus is on ‘relational wellbeing’ for young refugees—that is, wellbeing that is experienced through actions that repair and amplify a sense of responsibility they and other people have to each other. Hospitality and reciprocity emerge through small acts of fellowship. In time, these build patterns of exchanges between young refugees and those important to them, leading to a mutual sense of ‘having enough’, ‘being connected’, and ‘feeling good’ (White and Jha 2020). This is wellbeing as a shared endeavour. Overall, the project and many contributions in this Special Issue stand at the conjunction between fields of research into wellbeing and refugee studies. The papers span contexts and countries, offering a sense of an international array of experiences, joined by an issue of supra-national importance—that is, the ways interaction and relationality mediate the experiences of becoming and being a refugee.
  • Coping with COVID-19 lockdown: a qualitative study of older adults in alcohol treatment

    Trevena, Paulina; Seddon, Jennifer L.; Elliott, Lawrie; Wadd, Sarah; Dutton, Maureen; University of Glasgow; Oxford Brookes University; Glasgow Caledonian University; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge University Press, 2024-01-19)
    The COVID-19 global pandemic had a major impact on older people's mental health and resulted in changes in alcohol use, with more older adults increasing than decreasing consumption levels among the general population. So far, no studies have focused on older people who were already experiencing problem alcohol use. This qualitative research is the first to provide a nuanced understanding of changes to drinking patterns among older adults engaged in alcohol treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the implications of these for practice. We conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with people in alcohol treatment aged 55+ living in urban and rural areas across the UK. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. We found that changes in alcohol use varied depending on the social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic on older adults. Boredom, lack of adequate medical or emotional support, and key life changes experienced during the pandemic (such as bereavement or retirement) increased the risk of increased drinking. Moreover, some people in longer-term alcohol treatment were struggling to maintain abstinence due to lack of face-to-face peer support. For others, decreased drinking levels were a side-effect of lockdown policies and restrictions, such as alcohol-related hospitalisations, closure of social spaces or inability to source alcohol; these also supported those who decided to cut down on drinking shortly before the pandemic. Generally, older adults who developed home-based interests and self-care practices managed lockdown best, maintaining abstinence or lower risk drinking levels. Based on these results, we argue that multilevel interventions aimed at strengthening resilience are required to reduce drinking or maintain abstinence among older adults. Such interventions should address three domains: individual (coping strategies and mindset), social (support networks), and structural (access to resources). In preparation for supporting older alcohol users through prospective future pandemics, building digital literacy and inclusion are essential.
  • A question of age? applying desistance with children

    Wigzell, Alexandra; Bateman, Tim; University of Cambridge; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE, 2024-01-23)
    Youth justice in England and Wales has seen the increasing adoption of desistance thinking in recent years. There has been scarce academic debate of this development, despite the desistance evidence base focussing on adult pathways away from crime. This article examines the theorisation and application of desistance thinking with children, centring on the experiences and narratives of four ‘groups’ involved in the formal youth justice system in England and Wales, across two empirical studies. It challenges previous scholarship that denies the relevance of desistance theories to under-18s, arguing for progressive desistance practice that prioritises children’s healthy long-term development.
  • Curriculum diversity and social justice education: from New Labour to Conservative government control of education in England

    Maylor, Uvanney; University of Bedfordshire (Springer, 2021-06-23)
    A retrospective lens is applied in this chapter to understand former New Labour government’s reasoning for advocating an ethnically diverse curriculum to be delivered in English schools; the role it saw the National Curriculum as playing in British society and in raising the attainment of ethnically diverse groups; together with how such expectations led to the commissioning of two National Curriculum diversity reports. Drawing on social justice perspectives, the chapter discusses how New Labour’s emphasis on recognising ethnically diverse students and British identities in the curriculum was rejected by subsequent Coalition and Conservative governments in favour of the negative positioning of student diversity through the Prevent agenda under the guise of threats to national security. The chapter concludes with discussion of the ‘public good’ and how an ethnically diverse curriculum can enhance the equality both of opportunity and of outcomes.
  • Long-term outcomes for students who attend alternative provision schools: analysis of a national dataset at national, regional, local and institutional levels

    Malcolm, Andrew David; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2023-11-21)
    Little is known about the long-term outcomes of students who attend alternative provision (AP) settings. This study set out to analyse data published by the Department for Education which presents long-term education and employment outcomes for school pupils in England. After making comparisons by type of setting at the national level, this analysis focused on alternative provision at regional, local and institutional levels. Findings identify considerable differences in rates of sustained education and employment destinations for students who have attended AP. This suggests an AP setting with over four in 10 of their ex-students in stable education or employment after three years is performing well. Findings also suggest an important role for expectations, extended transitions and local coordination. This study presents a benchmark against which future studies of AP can measure long-term outcomes and providers of AP can judge their work.
  • Housing support services and the strengths-based approach: service-user and staff perspectives

    Sochos, Antigonos; Smith, Sue; University of Bedfordshire (Routledge, 2023-12-22)
    This study aimed to identify main themes in the accounts of individuals encountering homelessness and staff who supported them, in a low-income South-East England town. It explored whether such themes were compatible with the adoption of a strengths-based approach by the local homelessness services. Thirty-one individuals in temporary accommodation and 19 staff were interviewed using a semi-structured schedule. Thematic analysis of the service user accounts identified five themes—Challenging Backgrounds, Effective Provision, Room for Improvement, Strengths, and Aspirations. An equal number of themes emerged from the thematic analysis of the staff interviews—Focus on Trauma and Mental Health, Service User Variability, Service User Involvement, Hard-Working Staff, and Improving Material Conditions. Both sets of narratives supported the adoption of a strengths-based approach by the local services, as they emphasized service user competencies, the importance of co-production, and the necessity to consider context in understanding the experience of homelessness. Including a range of stakeholders, future research needs to follow-up these services after they fully adopt a strengths-based approach.
  • Book review: National health services of Western Europe: Challenges, reforms and future perspectives

    Hoctor, Tom; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2023-12-30)
    review of National health services of Western Europe: Challenges, reforms and future perspectives. By Guido Giarelli, Mike Saks (Eds.), London: Routledge. 2024. £130.00; hardback. ISBN: 9780367689599
  • Improving patient experience for people prescribed medicines with a risk of dependence or withdrawal: co-designed solutions using experience based co-design

    Seddon, Jennifer L.; Friedrich, Claire; Wadd, Sarah; Dicks, David; Scott, Sion; Robinson, Anthea; Walker, Charlotte; Oxford Brookes University; University of Oxford; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (BMC, 2024-01-06)
    Significant concerns have been raised regarding how medications with a risk of dependence or withdrawal are managed and how care is experienced by patients. This study sought to co-design solutions to improve the experience of care for patients prescribed benzodiazepines, z-drugs, opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, gabapentinoids and antidepressants. Twenty patients and fifteen healthcare professionals from five different GP practices were recruited to take part. The study used Experience Based Co-Design. Patients and healthcare professionals completed semi-structured interviews and took part in feedback groups and co-design workshops to collaboratively identify priorities for improvement and to co-design solutions to improve the experience of care. Poor patient experience was common among people prescribed medications with a risk of dependence or withdrawal. Patients and healthcare professionals identified three main priority areas to improve the experience of care: (i) ensuring patients are provided with detailed information in relation to their medication, (ii) ensuring continuity of care for patients, and (iii) providing alternative treatment options to medication. Solutions to improve care were co-designed by patients and healthcare staff and implemented within participating GP practices to improve the experience of care. Good patient experience is a key element of quality care. This study highlights that the provision of in-depth medication related information, continuity of care and alternative treatment to medication are important to patients prescribed medicines with a risk of dependence or withdrawal. Improving these aspects of care should be a priority for future improvement and delivery plans.
  • Drawing Together in Scotland: the opportunities and challenges for young refugees within a ‘relational wellbeing’ approach to integration

    Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Sullivan, Paul; Baughan, Kirstie; University of Bedfordshire; Sistema Scotland (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), 2023-12-01)
    In this paper, we consider how young refugees in the Drawing Together project experience integration in Scotland. We critically examine the term ‘refugee integration’ and emphasise its multiple dimensions. Specifically, we analyse Scotland’s role as a country committed to the protection and care of young refugees by mapping some key Scottish legal, political, social and cultural policies and strategies that provide the contexts for refugee integration as a mutual endeavour based on hospitality and reciprocity. Finally, we show the ways young refugees talk of rebuilding a life in Scotland that feels coherent in relation to their past and present circumstances, and their future plans despite the challenges that they encounter in their everyday lives. We suggest that a ‘relational wellbeing’ approach to integration in Scotland is tangible. It confirms the importance of the practical and social opportunities available to young refugees as they resettle. This approach extends the meaning of integration beyond its political and social categories, to include young refugees’ attachment to their faith of origin as well as the natural environment of Scotland. In all, we suggest that young refugees face the challenges and use the opportunities for integration in Scotland in ways that are of sustained benefit, for them as well as Scotland as their new country.
  • Promoting good practice in relation to alcohol use in care homes for older people

    Wadd, Sarah; McCann, Michelle; Fisher, Mike; Hopwood, Amy; Hawkins, Adele; University of Bedfordshire; Care Quality Commission (University of Bedfordshire, 2023-12-31)
    There are an increasing number of people who drink alcohol in later life and older people who are alcohol dependent. However, internationally there has been very limited research on alcohol policy and practice in care homes and no research has been conducted in England. The international research has not included the voices of all key stakeholders, including residents, families, care staff and inspectors. This is important because these groups may have differences in perceptions, values and priorities.

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