Outside school hours care and schools

Cartmel, Jennifer Leigh (2007) Outside school hours care and schools. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Outside school hours programs provide recreation, play and leisure-based programs for children aged 5 to 12 years in before- and after-school settings, and in the vacation periods. Over the past ten years, the number of programs has grown rapidly due to women’s increasing participation in the workforce. At the same time, critical changes for the operation and administration of Queensland outside school hours care services were occurring following the introduction of mandatory standards and quality assurance. This study is a critical ethnography investigating the circumstances for two Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services located on school sites at this time of change. The services were responding to the introduced legislative and accreditation requirements, the burgeoning numbers of students in the programs, and the requirements by parents for care for their school-aged child. The findings of this study show the complexity of the dualities of purpose and the operational administration of OSHC services, an area that has been little identified and discussed to date. This study illuminated not only aspects of OSHC services, it provided an opportunity for the co-ordinators of the two OSHC services to reflect on the operational structures. As the majority of OSHC services in Queensland (and other Australian states) are located in school sites, a closer examination of the relationship between OSHC and schools provided insights into some issues concerning the sector. Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action was used to investigate the state of affairs and analyse the consensual and coercion meaning-making that occurred in the interactions between the stakeholders, specifically between the OSHC coordinators and school principals. Critical ethnographic research techniques, including participant observations and semi-structured interviews, were used to investigate what appears below the surface of social existence in the OSHC settings. On the surface, the interactions between the coordinators and principals appeared congenial. However, the study found that the vulnerability of the OSHC services for alienation and marginalisation was linked to the lack of legitimacy and reduced sense of social membership endowed by the ambience of the school setting in which the services were located. The study found that the distorted communicative action that took place within the OSHC settings exhibited the pathologies of alienation, withdrawal of legitimation and lack of collective identity. Examining the relationships of the key stakeholders within the outside school hours care services offers conceptual understandings of existing institutional relationships and practices, This critical ethnography pinpoints sources of power and unease contributing to the concerns for the outside school hours sector and recommends ways to develop these programs.

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ID Code: 17810
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Grieshaber, Susan & Danby, Susan
Keywords: outside school hours care, school age care, child care; critical ethnography, communicative action
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Feb 2009 05:38
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:52

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