Ellis-Martin, Elizabeth Anne (2015) Dare to be different, dare to progress: a case study of a Key Stage 4 Pupil Referral Unit 2009-12. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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‘Dare to be different, dare to progress’ explores the educational experiences of a group of 14 – 16 year old students referred to a pupil referral unit (PRU) during the period 2009 – 2012 using both quantitative and qualitative data sources. The quantitative data gathered from school files, the Local Authority’s school performance data and police records enabled a statistical exploration of recorded information pertaining to issues of attainment and progress, attendance, exclusions, deprivation factors and contacts with police.The qualitative data enabled rich contextual information and was gathered from fieldwork involving the researcher’s observations, four group interviews involving four teachers and four teaching assistants and thirteen paired interviews with nine volunteer students. Willis (1977) showed how ‘the lads’ used their social class identities to forge social class relations acting out resistant behaviours in the process in preparation for and perpetuating a working-class lifestyle or culture. This study resonated with my work at the PRU and the impetus to take it further developed during a secondment to the local Youth Offending Service where I observed a high proportion of PRU students were also known to the police and other children’s services. Bourdieu’s (1984, 1990, 1992) works on habitus, capital and field were influential in shaping the theoretical and conceptual framework around ‘class’ and ‘culture’. Skeggs’ (1997, 2004) concepts of inscription and identity formation and Quinn’s (2010) concept of imagined social capital contributed to this too. The research is unique to a particular group of young people in a particular setting and combined statistics, field notes, photographs and dialogue thus indicating ethnographic case study methodology (Merriam 1988). The research found that ‘class’ remains the strongest indicator of educational achievement and cultural capital, but the cultural influences of youth and identity, and deprivation alongside low aspirations and expectations exacerbate the situation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Users 4 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2015 12:01
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2015 12:01
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1177

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