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What works for us - boys' views of their experiences in a former list D school

Smith, M. and McKay, E.S. and Chakrabarti, M.R. (2004) What works for us - boys' views of their experiences in a former list D school. British Journal of Special Education, 31 (2). pp. 89-93. ISSN 0952-3383

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This article reports boys' experiences of life in a former residential school. The authors are all based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Mark Smith, who was a practitioner and manager in child and youth care settings in Scotland for many years, is currently course director of the MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care. Euan McKay is a research fellow in the Quality in Education Centre and has research interests in school self-evaluation, parental involvement and provision for ‘looked after’ children. Mono Chakrabarti, who has published across a range of areas, including residential child care, is emeritus professor of social work. Their article reveals some fascinating and unusual perspectives. Residential schools from the approved, or, in Scotland, List D tradition, have rarely been seen as a placement of choice by the social work profession within which they have been located over the past 30 years. Despite this, there is some evidence to suggest that the experience of such provision can be a positive one for the children and young people who attend the schools. Drawing upon a wider evaluation of a residential education and care establishment which has recently extended the range of services it offers, this article considers pupils' views of their placement experiences. Their identification of what they consider to be important to life in the centre yields some surprising insights. Mark Smith, Euan McKay and Mono Chakrabarti use the pupils' comments about structure and routine, relationships with adults, school activities and family contact to generate a provocative commentary on the provision of residential care and education services.