‘They don’t boss you about like teachers, they just act like they are equals …’: The Impact of Schools / Youthwork Partnerships on Disengaged Young People

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


It has been argued that school socialisation based upon the presence of authoritarian
structures has the potential to reinforce vulnerable young people’s antagonistic worldviews
(Harber, 2004; Deuchar, 2010). In turn, this type of socialisation can bolster young people’s
disconnection from mainstream society and their involvement in anti-social behaviour.
Hence, conventional wisdom tells us that the converse is also the case, and that active and
participative approaches to formal education can play a central role in encouraging prosocial
behaviour and discouraging a propensity towards social disaffection (Hayden et al.,
2007). In Scotland, the core components of the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)
agenda focus on the need for inter-agency approaches to improving outcomes for young
people (Scottish Executive, 2006), and there has been an increasing recognition of the need
to draw upon the potential of youth work to re-engage disaffected young people
(Youthlink/LTS, 2009).
The current research sought to identify which factors within an informal education (youth
work) and schools partnership are critical in working with young people who have become
disengaged. The study focused on exploring the impact of a new educational intervention
that was introduced across 3 secondary schools within an area of social deprivation in
Glasgow. The intervention involved the introduction of an inter-agency partnership
between teachers and local youth workers. The programme was aimed specifically at a
small group of young people (aged 12-13) who had been identified as becoming increasingly
disaffected from formal education, and known to be involved in anti-social behaviour. Semistructured
interviews with the young people explored the perceived reasons underpinning
school exclusions and the extent to and ways in which young people participated in antisocial
behaviour both within and external to the school premises. Following the
intervention, young people were re-interviewed to ascertain the impact of the new
diversionary programme, the particular features and critical incidents that they viewed as
influential. The findings illustrate that the pupils particularly valued the informal
relationships they developed with youth workers, the active learning approaches they
implemented and the socially-relevant nature of the projects they studied. The paper will
explore the findings, present tentative conclusions and implications for future interprofessional
policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventScottish Educational Research Association 2011 - Stirling Highland Hotel, Stirling, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Oct 201125 Oct 2011


ConferenceScottish Educational Research Association 2011
Abbreviated titleSERA 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of '‘They don’t boss you about like teachers, they just act like they are equals …’: The Impact of Schools / Youthwork Partnerships on Disengaged Young People'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this