“Wipe them out”! The Social Construction of Children’s Centres

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The future for Children’s Centres in England looks bleak.. A change in government in the UK in 2010 saw a change in political perspective that was manifested in one way as austerity. The effects of austerity impacted on a range of public services including Children’s Centres. Children’s Centres also came under government scrutiny resulting in a change of focus in their activities from a core offer of providing services to having a core purpose. The study used a flexible qualitative design to produce a critical discourse analysis about the social construction of Children’s Centres. A range of publicly available documents were gathered to provide naturalistic data relating to Children’s Centres. In addition, six Children’s Centre workers were purposefully selected to take part in a semi structured focus group interview. The subsequent analysis of the document and interview data revealed a range of rhetorical devices used by speakers to construct their perceptions of Children’s Centres. These constructions were organised under four dominant discourses; a discourse of recognition, a discourse of pragmatism, a discourse of pessimism and a discourse of change. One common factor in these four discourses was the role of the UK government. Children’s Centres did not appear to get recognition for some the work they did with families but there was a pragmatism about what Children’s Centres could provide during a period of austerity. There was pessimism about what was happening to Children’s Centres especially in relation to vulnerable families but what seemed inevitable was Children’s Centres were changing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-23
JournalPolish Journal of Educational Studies
VolumeVol. III
Issue number(LXXIII)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

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