The impact of an improvised social work method in a school: aspirations, encouragement, realism and openness

DOEL, M. (2010). The impact of an improvised social work method in a school: aspirations, encouragement, realism and openness. Practice, 22 (2), 69-88.

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/09503150903521751


A high school in the English West Midlands reduces annual school exclusions from 251 to 6 in three years. A social worker is employed by the school to join the student support services. A new method of brief intervention is introduced by the social worker based on 'aspirations, encouragement, realism and openness' (AERO), summarised by one teacher as helping a conversation develop in which the young people can discuss problems that they would otherwise find difficult. All of this is established with no special pilot project status or resources.

This article considers the relationship between these factors and evaluates the impact of the AERO method through interviews with key participants — 12 students currently in school and one parent, all of whom had direct experience of the method, and six professionals who experienced the impact of the model. The findings suggest that the philosophy of social inclusion introduced by a new head teacher is sustained by a systematic approach to providing social and personal support to students, and by the use of an effective and efficient practice method. The article discusses the possibilities of transferring the lessons from this study and also the possible limitations of the social work method and the study itself.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this paper has been published in Practice, 22(2), 69-88 © Taylor and Francis
Uncontrolled Keywords: social inclusion, school social work, practice method, empowerment, cognitive therapy, school exclusion
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1080/09503150903521751
Depositing User: Caroline Fixter
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2010 14:23
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2011 00:18

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