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How do children anticipate, experience and manage the transition from primary to secondary school?

Turney, Catherine 2021. How do children anticipate, experience and manage the transition from primary to secondary school? PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis explores how children imagine, narrate and navigate their transitions from primary to secondary school, and how difference is (re)produced within and between schools through the process of transition. I used a range of creative, qualitative methods with 17 children and their parents/carers in south Wales to explore the transition, its meaning, and how it was negotiated over time. This marks a departure from the tendency in school transitions research to focus on pre-determined notions of the ‘good’ transition, and view transition as a one-off event and/or a problem to be solved. Taking a child-led, exploratory approach, I framed the transition as a process of being-and-becoming a professional and/or social pupil, examining how children actively and agentically negotiated the new school, its institutional and peer worlds, and the available identities and subject-positions. This study generated significant insights into children's classed and gendered navigation of the transition, and how it might be possible to rethink current dominant notions of ‘success' in school transition. Throughout, children’s accounts centred on the social, but emphasised its connection with all other aspects of the transition. The requirements and possibilities of the peer and institutional worlds interacted in both supportive and challenging ways, and the experience of finding (or making) one’s place socially was inseparable from finding one’s place in the physical school. Children and parents’/carers’ accounts also illuminated how class and school ‘choice’ shaped imaginings of secondary school and negotiation of these. Class and gender were central to participants’ narratives, and the ways that different possibilities for being-and-becoming a professional and social pupil were constructed and regulated by the school, pupils, and their interactions. However, participants' accounts also highlighted their agency and space for resistance, and identified ways that recognition, belonging and spaces could be found or created by participants who were marginalised.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 February 2022
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2023 02:29

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