Whose interests? Gaming, School Type, Social Justice and Pupils’ Post-16 Access

MARSHALL, Nicholas Robert (2019). Whose interests? Gaming, School Type, Social Justice and Pupils’ Post-16 Access. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00270


Access to post-16 education has critical implications for young people's life chances. An important aspect of access to this provision is the qualification mix and attainment level that learners achieve at the end of compulsory schooling. In England, this mix usually consists of academic qualifications, GCSEs, and qualifications that are vocationally related. Previous research has shown that schools can implement strategies that seek to maximise pupil outcomes for accountability purposes rather than meeting learners' needs. This is defined in the literature as gaming. The focus of this study is to ascertain if gaming by certain school types and contexts is being used to meet accountability measures and if there is a relationship with post-16 access. After conducting a critical scoping exercise that considered the educational and political background and landscape, four research questions were devised that enabled the issue to be examined. Using a critical-realist approach, a mixed-methods study was designed to respond to the questions and address the key issue. The methods used included; a quantitative study to examine issues of qualification access and use and variable interactions, a qualitative study of nine school and college leaders across contexts, and a series of interviews with twenty-one learners undertaking post-16 programmes in a low-performing and disadvantaged location in a northern city. The findings from the data analysed in this study are that some school types are taking decisions to game accountability measures. Also, The socio-economic context of the school and pupil prior attainment seem to be influencing factors that are related to gaming decisions. If schools are gaming, then this might influence the range of post-16 progression opportunities that pupils can access. The conclusions from the data analysed in this study are that gaming, school-type and context are factors that might restrict access to post-16 opportunities for pupils.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Demack, Sean [0000-0002-2953-1337]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Sean Demack
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00270
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2020 10:28
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:03
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/26101

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