School satisfaction among youth in residential care: A multi-source analysis

Abstract

Formal education is a key factor for overcoming the inequalities and social vulnerability that young people in residential care endure. However, recent research shows an important gap between children in care (especially those living in residential homes) and the general student population in terms of their academic outcomes and inclusion in education. The aim of this article is to analyse the evaluations made by the main stakeholders involved in the school situation of young people in residential care and propose an explanatory model of their level of school satisfaction (SS) based on variables related to the youngsters' subjective well-being. The sample was composed of 219 subjects from five European countries (Germany, Austria, Croatia, Spain and France), including 75 young people (78.7% boys, Mage = 15 years old), 75 caregivers (64% women) and 69 teachers (79.7% women). An equivalent questionnaire was designed for each stakeholder for the purpose of data collection. The results show that school satisfaction expressed by youngsters is significantly higher than that attributed to them by the professionals. The multi-source analysis suggests that there is agreement among stakeholders that social relationships are key elements for youngsters' subjective wellbeing influencing their school satisfaction (SS). The analysis of the different perceptions among stakeholders allows us to have a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, leading the practitioners and policy-makers to suggest more appropriate interventions.