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Riding the rollercoaster of school exclusion coupled with drug misuse: the lived experience of caregivers
Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-11-22, DOI: 10.1080/13632752.2020.1848985
Sarah Martin-Denham


The research aimed to investigate if drug misuse is an indicator and predictor of barriers to mainstream schooling and school exclusion. The objectives were to determine the extent of the barriers to mainstream schooling and to elicit and report the caregiver’s experiences of their child’s drug misuse and the impact it has had on them, their child and their child’s siblings. This research presents data drawn from face to face, semi-structured interviews with four caregivers of young people with multiple fixed-period and permanent exclusions from mainstream schools in England. The interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). IPA was chosen to understand how the homogenous sample made sense of their lived experiences. The study brings to the fore the complexities of families being able to access prompt support from education and health care professionals for their children and themselves as caregivers. The research includes critical messages for education and health professionals and policymakers, including the need to provide timely identification, assessment and response to underlying disabilities and mental health needs. The research also highlights the importance of training for education professionals, so they can understand, identify and respond to the multifaceted behaviours children present to enable the creation of inclusive and accessible learning environments and curriculum.